quarta-feira, 3 de dezembro de 2008
Playing with Marzipan
Norwegians love marzipan. Marzipan, the perfect mixture of almond, sugar and egg white, is the main ingredient in Norway's most traditional desserts. I have the feeling that marzipan is also an obligatory ingredient in Swedish and Danish most traditional desserts, as these three countries share most traditions. In Norway the most traditional cake, the cake served in birthdays, weddings and all sorts of celebrations, is always, always covered by a beautifully set marzipan layer. Marzipan also goes in the most popular cookies, the Norwegian 'constitutional day' cake and the party chocolates. The traditional chocolates, in both Easter and Christmas, are all chocolate covered marzipans.
I have always loved marzipan and chocolate covered marzipans. I used to buy a German marzipan from Lübeck in Brazil and a dark chocolate covered marzipan stick made by Brazilian chocolate producer, Kopenhagem.
I don't know exactly why but I have never tried to make marzipan before, guess I never really wanted to make it until last Sunday when I finally made my first marzipan. It is really easy to make specially if you have a food processor hence the only effort you will have is to peel the almonds from their skin, and let them dry very well.
I started the marzipan process on Sunday and yesterday it was perfect to play with. To make things with marzipan feels exactly like playing with plasticine and you can even add colors which make it look a lot like plasticine. I don't like to add artificial colors so I added some dried apricots to part of the dough to make it look yellow. It is pretty easy to add natural colors to marzipan by processing it with dried fruits such as cranberries, cherries, apricots and raisins or just with some natural juices or sauces. The mixture with juices and dried fruits gives the marzipan extra fantastic flavors while they are totally healthy.
The recipe used here is quite traditional being used by some different publications. The dried apricot was inspired by a recipe published by magazine Bolig Pluss (November,2008)
500 grams of peeled almonds
2 cups confectioners sugar
1 small egg white
In a food processor pulse the almonds until you obtain a very fine almond flour, around 30 seconds, add the sugar half cup at a time and pulse until very well combined. Finally add the egg white and pulse until the mixture have a marzipan look. If you are not familiar with the look of marzipan you can try to manipulate the mixture to feel with your hands the texture of the dough. It is suppose to be soft and incorporate. Roll the dough in a plastic film and refrigerate it for one hour at least. In a clean surface sprinkled with confectioners sugar open the dough and fold it two or three times. Roll it again and return it to refrigerator again. If the dough is holding and not sticking to the roll it is ready to be used.
For the Marzipan with apricot and honey filling
10 dried apricots
2 to 3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons marzipan
Chocolate chips 70% cocoa solids
In a processor mix the apricots with the honey and the marzipan until you get a homogeneous creamy yellow mixture. Open the marzipan in a sugared surface into a rectangle with 1 cm thick. Spread the apricot mixture over half of the rectangle area. Then fold the marzipan dough in half, covering the apricot layer with the part of the marzipan without apricot like in a sandwich. Press delicately not to smash the filling very much, just enough to glue the two layers of marzipan on the apricot filling. Using a clean knife cut little squares by cutting parallel lines on both directions on the marzipan. Clean the knife every time you cut a line on the dough so the filling will not be spread onto the sides when you cut.
You can decorate the squares with a 70% cocoa solids chocolate chips
(Apricot, honey and marzipan filling)