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    You are in: Home / Community Forums / Spain & Portugal / December’s Tag Game ~ Marzipan
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    December’s Tag Game ~ Marzipan

    Fri Nov 30, 2012 10:32 am
    Forum Host

    What is Marzipan?

    ~ Marzipan translates to “March’s bread”. It is a confection that has been enjoyed throughout the world for centuries. It takes the form of a soft paste made from ground almonds and honey or sugar. It is sometimes enhanced with almond oil or almond extract, and it has a distinct strong but quite pleasant almond flavor and fragrance.

    The most frequent use of marzipan is to make delectable sweets such as marzipan-filled chocolate candy, cakes, cookies, breads, and other sweet treats. Perhaps more specifically though, the most popular use of marzipan is to form it into shapes such as fruits, vegetables, flowers or animals, in which each piece is then delicately hand-tinted using food coloring in appropriate colors so the imitation resembles the real thing as closely as possible.

    Marzipan can also be rolled into thin sheets and glazed for icing or frosting birthday and wedding cakes. And in many regions, marzipan is a common confection used to make Christmas cakes, cookies, breads and other treats served during the holidays.

    Marzipan in Spain

    When first invented, marzipan became so popular in Spain that the sweet confections were exported to the various countries that fell under Spanish rule. It was so widely accepted that some of the countries developed their own versions of marzipan, varying only on the type of nut used. For example, in the Philippines, marzipan is called marzapan de pili because it is made using pili nuts instead of almonds. In Latin American, the most famous marzipan can be found in Guatemala where it has been made since the 19th Century. And in the southern part of Venezuela, marzipan is made using cashew nuts.

    But in Spain, where the finest marzipan is produced, marzipan is protected by D.O. (designation of origin), and it’s still one of the most prestigious of all marzipans in the world.

    ~ In Spain, marzipan is produced primarily in the Toledo region, and particularly in the towns of Ajofrin, Carpio de Tajo, Consuegra, Galvez, and La Mata, and in the city of Toledo. Production peaks in October but lasts for several months, with the Christmas season being the high point.

    One of the most common uses of marzipan is to form it into animal shapes. But marzipan is used throughout Spain to create traditional holiday treats. Some marzipan desserts are filled with sweet creams or custard, and some are dipped in chocolate.

    A few marzipan treats served throughout Spain include:

    ~ Tortell ~ popular throughout Spain, but perhaps most often is associated with the Catalan region, Torell is a pastry, typically a cake in a bundt form, that is topped with glazed fruit. It is traditionally enjoyed during the Epiphany season (January 6) at the conclusion of the twelve days of Christmas. A similar pastry called Bolo Rei is popular in Portugal.

    ~ Huesos de Santo (or Saints Bones) ~ little marzipan rolls filled with custard, pumpkin strands in syrup, or other sweet fillings. They’re typically prepared on November 1 and enjoyed throughout the middle of December.

    ~ Pan de Cadiz (Imperial Marzipan) ~ a stuffed marzipan sponge cake.

    ~ Marquesas ~ There are a variety of favorite Marquesas recipes throughout Spain, and they’re all delicious. Marquesas are similar to Madeleines, but they’re made with marzipan and egg.

    Marzipan Around The World

    Many areas of the world have traditions of forming marzipan into specific shapes such as fruits, vegetables, flowers and animals and then hand-painting them for more appeal and effect. But many regions have additional traditions for using Marzipan during the holiday season.

    Mexico - Rosca de Reyes is enjoyed during the holiday season in many parts of Mexico. It’s a pastry similar to Tortell.

    Italy – Particularly in Palermo, marzipan is most commonly seen at Christmastime, formed into fruit shapes and tinted with food coloring to resemble the actual fruit. In addition, a traditional dessert in Italy that dates to about the 11th Century is a Frangipane, which is an almond flavored pastry cream dessert that is used as a filling for many pastries such as tarts, cakes and pies.

    Greece – Marzipan is formed into a variety of shapes in Greece and Cyprus, and almost always is left white. In the Aegean region, white marzipan is most often served at weddings and given to wedding guests as a special treat.

    Germany – Stollen is a popular sweet bread enjoyed in many parts of Germany. In addition, it is a tradition in Germany (as well as Norway, Denmark, and parts of Spain) to give marzipan figures shaped and painted like pigs as a New Year gift, known as Glucksschwein (“lucky pig”) to symbolize good luck and fortune.

    Latin America – Marzipan is popular at Christmastime in many Latin American countries, though it is often made from peanuts rather than almonds.

    United Kingdom - Battenberg Cake is popular in the United Kingdom. It’s a light sponge cake covered in marzipan and, when cut in a cross section, it displays a distinctive checkerboard pattern, with the cake alternately colored pink and yellow. It was first created in 1884 for the British Royal family to celebrate the marriage of Princess Victoria and Prince Louis of Battenberg. And in Ireland, Simnel Cake is enjoyed for most holidays, and especially Lent. It’s a light fruit cake with two layers of marzipan, one in the middle and one on top, that is then toasted.

    Sweden - The princesstarta (or Princess Cake) is popular in Sweden. It’s a cake consisting of alternating layers of light cake, whipped cream, berry jam and a thick pastry cream all topped with a thick layer of marzipan.

    Norway – Chocolate-covered marzipan is commonly made as a treat during the Easter season in most parts of Norway.

    the Netherlands and Belgium – Marzipan figures are given as to children as presents on St. Nicholas Eve (December 5).

    India – a sweet treat called Kaju Barfi is made of cashew nuts and sugar is enjoyed in many regions of India.

    Middle East – marzipan is known as lozina (derived from the Arabic word for almonds) and is filled with orange-flower water and most often shaped into roses and other delicate flowers and then baked. In Iran, for instance, marzipan fruit is a traditional Passover treat, replacing cookies and cakes.

    Making Marzipan FIgures

    First, start with prepared marzipan, as much as you’ll need for your project.

    Pinch off a handful of marzipan and roll it into a ball. Take about a third of the ball and pinch it away slightly, making another round shape attached to the ball. This will be the head of an animal, and the larger ball will be the body.

    At the bottom of the body, use your fingers to pinch down four legs. Flatten the base of each leg with your index finger to create flat feet.

    Flatten the front of the head, making a stubby snout. This shape can be used to make a pig, a cow or a cat. For a cow or a cat, pinch up triangular ears at the top of the head. For a cow, leave the head as is.

    Let figures sit 3-4 hours before painting (so the colors do not seep in or drip to areas you don’t want that color of paint). Then use food coloring, mixed with water, to paint a pig pink (red food coloring), a cow's spots (red and green food coloring for brown spots) or a cat brown (red and green food coloring, or black food coloring to make brown or black cats).

    ………………………………Marzipan Tag Game

    ~ We have selected an array of Spanish (and other) recipes from the food,com database that include marzipan as an ingredient. You are free to tag one of the recipes we found, or you are free to pick any other recipe in the database that includes marzipan. And there is no limit; you can tag as many recipes as you can make before the end of the month.

    Featured Marzipan Recipe

    ~ Marzipan Bugs by The Catt Family Marzipan Bugs
    Oh, what you can do with a little marzipan! And this is just a sampling of what shapes and figures you can make with the holiday favorite, marzipan. With a little creativity, you can have a bowl full of colorful fruit, vegetables or even a bunch of pretty spring flowers in an array of colors.

    Basic Marzipan Recipes

    Almond Paste or Marzipan
    Almond Paste

    Marzipan Candy and Other Sweet Treats

    Chocolate-Oat Balls With Marzipan
    Marzipan Snowball Truffles (Vegan)
    Black and White Fudge
    Creme Mergpijpjes
    Lip Zmakk'in Gypsy Gelato
    Baked Apples

    Marzipan Cookies

    Chocolate Marzipan Sugar Cookies
    Honey Almond Briouats
    Marzipan Date Bars
    Italian Pine Nut Cookies
    Gingerbread People
    Rainbow Cookies

    Marzipan Cakes

    Flourless Chocolate Cake With Marzipan and Raspberries
    No Bake Mini Christmas Cakes
    Tangerine Tea Cakes
    Chocolate Chip Marzipan Cake
    Mozart Cake
    Pineapple & Marzipan Cake (Ananas-Marzipankuchen)

    Marzipan Breads and Dessert Loaves

    Christmas Stollen
    Mincemeat and Marzipan Tea Bread
    Raspberry-Marzipan Coffee Cake
    Christmas Crescent Ring
    Awesome Almond Scones

    Last edited by NorthwestGal on Fri Nov 30, 2012 12:18 pm, edited 1 time in total
    Fri Nov 30, 2012 10:39 am
    Forum Host
    Participants' Marzipan Recipes

    Bethmaennchen (Traditional German Marzipane Cookie)

    The Tags
    Mon Dec 10, 2012 5:50 am
    Forum Host
    Hey everyone,

    Im so sorry I havent been around. icon_sad.gif icon_redface.gif Major computer troubles on my end. icon_sad.gif

    How have you all been? What are your plans for the holiday season?

    Ill be making candies and chocolates for a few of my friends this year and Ive never done that before. Any tips or easy recipes?
    I also plan on making something with marzipane of course. icon_smile.gif Any favourites there?

    I cant wait to see what yummy marzipane recipes you all make over the course of the month! icon_smile.gif

    Tue Dec 11, 2012 11:55 pm Groupie
    How exciting to find my favorite treat in so many different versions! My mom always put marzipan in her stollen, and now I will, too!
    Wed Dec 12, 2012 9:34 am
    Forum Host
    Linky wrote:
    How exciting to find my favorite treat in so many different versions! My mom always put marzipan in her stollen, and now I will, too!

    wave.gif Hi, Linky!

    I'm glad you like this topic. It's such a fun topic, and such an important part of so many people's Christmas memories, too. It will be fun to see what everyone decides to make this month.
    Mon Jan 14, 2013 12:33 pm
    Forum Host
    Hey everyone,

    so much about my being more active here throughout December... just wishful thinking as it turns out: I had to get a new laptop as my old one crashed and it took so long to get all my university data back that I fell seriously behind with my course work, which is not good now that my first state examination is coming up.
    Then I thought I was done with technology problems, but as it turned out my new laptop could not connect to my wifi, so I didnt have internet on it and at uni they dont allow us to visit webpages like Sigh... icon_sad.gif
    Finally I had all that sorted out last week and then I got sick and had to go to hospital, so no internet time for me again.

    I am very sorry about all of this and I hope I am back for good now. Im looking forward to a great recipe filled January with you all! icon_smile.gif
    Here is the participation banner for December. Ill be back to share my recipe reviews with you, I have to post them first, though.


    Last edited by Lalaloula on Tue Jan 15, 2013 11:52 am, edited 1 time in total
    Mon Jan 14, 2013 1:50 pm Groupie
    I'm so sorry to hear you've had health and computer troubles - hope everything is better, now! (Gute Besserung)

    I didn't get around to making my marzipan filled stollen: Although my yeast was fresh, the liquid I added must have been too hot and the dough would not rise. I was so frustrated that I put the dough in a covered bowl and stuck it out in the un-heated sun room. It is still there - a month later!!!

    This year's stollen came from our local Aldi's store!! So, I don't deserve a banner because I ATE marzipan, but I didn't MAKE any!!!!

    Maybe next year!
    Tue Jan 15, 2013 11:55 am
    Forum Host
    Thank you so much Linky for your kind words! Im hoping itll all improve daily now. icon_smile.gif

    Aw, what a shame you had so much trouble with the dough. Im so sorry! icon_sad.gif I have had issues like that with yeast, too, it can be finicky. However I hope you werent too disappointed and will try again. Aldi's stollen is good, but nothing beats home-made, so I hope next year this time youll tell us what a success you had the second time around. icon_biggrin.gif
    Also, there are non-yeast versions of stollen, which are traditional as well. Maybe one of those could save the day if you should ever have yeast issues like that again. Then you also dont have to let your stollen age, because it has a different dough, which doesnt need to age.

    And I think you should still put the sticker onto your AM page, because you did try and you did play with us in December. If I were you, I would put it up. icon_smile.gif

    Tue Jan 15, 2013 11:15 pm Groupie
    Well, ok, I will put it up. Thanks! Most years I make marzipan kartoffel/potatoes - little balls rolled in cocoa with the triangle shape pushed in with the back of a knife. I think I will make Valentine's Day marzipan hearts and I'll post my results.
    Thu Feb 07, 2013 1:37 pm
    Forum Host
    Linky wrote:
    Well, ok, I will put it up. Thanks! Most years I make marzipan kartoffel/potatoes - little balls rolled in cocoa with the triangle shape pushed in with the back of a knife. I think I will make Valentine's Day marzipan hearts and I'll post my results.

    Yes, please, so that! Id love to see your marzipane hearts! And I loooooooove Marzipankartoffeln! yummy.gif

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