Marzipan is almond candy dough, and it is very much different from almond paste. They are both made with the same ingredients, with the difference being the different ratios of the ingredients in each recipe. With the texture, you can easily tell them apart.
Marzipan is also often confused with frangipane, they have similar names, and both use almonds in the recipes. They are however different; with marzipan being candy and frangipane being a filling.
You might be wondering why marzipan is always mistaken for something else. The reason is very simple. Marzipan is not common in North America, many people used fondant instead. Fondant can be a substitute for marzipan; they can be used interchangeably when decorating cakes. Although marzipan might not be as popular as fondant, it is easier to work with.
What does marzipan taste like? Marzipan is primarily made of almonds; which gives it a gritty, rough texture. Marzipan tastes like sweet soft candy. The level of sweetness differs, depending on the amount of sugar used in its preparation. It has a nutty flavor that is very noticeable when spices are not added to it.
If you have had an almond-flavored sweet, then you have a vague idea of what marzipan would taste like.
When compared to almond paste, marzipan is sweeter, because it has more sugar. Many people have commended marzipan because it is easier to work with during baking, maintains its taste when you add coloring, and has a consistency in the mouth that is almost chewy. But, is it healthy?
Nutritional Benefits of Marzipan
The healthiest marzipan is the one with a low amount of sugar. Marzipan is a good source of vitamin E. Vitamin E has properties similar to that of powerful antioxidants and can help to relieve stress and fight off nervous tension. It can also protect the cells from the influence of disease-causing organisms and negative environmental influences, like the aging effect of the sun on our skin. Vitamin E is also vital for building a healthy immune system.
Almonds are the major ingredients in marzipan and it plays host to a lot of beneficial minerals and nutrients. Almonds are a good source of mono-unsaturated fats and protein If the amount of sugar added during the production of marzipan is not too overwhelming, almonds have trace elements of minerals like calcium, manganese, selenium, zinc, and magnesium to offer the body. Almonds can also help to reduce cholesterol levels in the body.
The problem with marzipan is that it has a high-calorie count, too much sugar and fats. In a 100 grams serving of marzipan, you have almost 480 calories. For people trying to watch their weight or lose weight, marzipan is not a great addition to their diet. Marzipan can also contain a lot of sugar and fat; those could prove to be very unhealthy for the body.
People that suffer from allergies should be wary of marzipan. It is believed that marzipan is persistent with food allergies. It has a nutty flavor that could trigger an allergy. If you are not allergic to almonds, eating marzipan might be okay. Just be sure to check that no other allergens have been used in its making.
Culinary Uses of Marzipan
No holiday baking is complete without marzipan. Marzipan is mainly used as cake icing or molded into different shapes and sizes as candy. The clay-like consistency that it has makes it very easy to handle and it doesn’t crack or break off easily. Marzipan is very popular in British baking recipes and is also prominent in French and German recipes as well.
There are different recipes with instructions on how to make marzipan, there are usually variations as people get creative and try to make unique flavors, but the basic ingredients in marzipan are almonds, sugar, and a binding agent to keep the whole mix together.
When you want to make marzipan, you first soak the almonds in boiling water, then let it sit until it cools. Soaking the almonds makes them easier to peel, so you just pinch each almond so the skin can slide off. Then, drain the almonds, put them in a food processor, add sugar then, puree until the mixture is smooth.
Scrape the sides of the processor and run it again for another 2 minutes, after which you add egg whites and blend it until you get the clay-like consistency. At this point, you can add almond extract, salt, or spices; anything to enhance the flavor of the marzipan.
What is the Origin of Marzipan? How to Procure It?
The origin of marzipan seems to be somehow two-sided. Many sources pinpoint China as the place of origin for marzipan while others establish the Mediterranean as the source of marzipan. Some other sources believe that marzipan originated in China before it was moved to the Middle East and Europe through Al-Andalus.
In Eastern Europe, it is believed that marzipan was brought by the Turks. There is a dispute between Italy and Hungary over which country it originated from. However, the best marzipan out there is Lubecker Marzipan. It originates from the city of Lubeck in Germany. Since 1996, it has been protected by an EU Council Directive as a “Protected Geographical Indication”.
The Lubecker Marzipan uses no less than 66 percent of almonds in its manufactured marzipan. The product is regulated by the German Institute for Quality Assurance and Classification that enforces strict compliance to the rule that no product should contain more than 30 percent sugar.
In the United States, marzipan is not well defined, some brands have just 28 percent of almonds, while some have up to 43 percent. Marzipan can be picked from the shelves and aisles of grocery stores in the US.
Can You Eat Marzipan Raw?
The traditional marzipan uses egg whites in the recipe and no yolks, so there is no risk of salmonella if you eat marzipan raw. If you are not allergic to eggs, there is no reason why you can eat raw marzipan.
Facts You Don’t Know About Marzipan
- Niedregger is a marzipan manufacturing company that uses 100 percent almond paste and no sugar for its Lubeck marzipan.
- There is a small amount of hydrogen cyanide in marzipan; It is obtained from the benzoin condensation reaction and is responsible for the aroma and flavor of marzipan.