Marzipan is a confection made from ground almond paste and sugar. The word Marzipan is derived from old English word Marchpane meaning "bread". In fifteenth-century England, it was called by many names mazapan, marcepain and masspan. In Europe, a law has been issued which states that a Marzipan must have 14% of almonds and 8.5% of moisture. Many confectioners sell inexpensive Marzipan made from soy paste, almond essence and sugar. One can roll, mould or even cut Marzipan dough into flamboyant characters. Usually Marzipan dough is yellowish white in color. Nowadays, colored Marzipan is widely available. Marzipan is used for decorating wedding , birthday and Christmas cakes. This popular delicacy is also used for stuffing in muffins. During New Year's Day, Marzipan molded into small figures of animals, fruits, vegetables, and flowers is served as a traditional treat. It is the key garnishing ingredient for "Tortell" and"King Cake" served exclusively during carnival season. Traditionally, Swedish Princess Cake is layered with green Marzipan coat.
Marzipan is mostly prepared during Halloween, Christmas and Thanksgiving day. Most Marzipan connoisseurs believe that the Iranians were the first to make Marzipan during the 6th or 7th century AD and the Turks introduced them to the western world. Others believe that Marzipan was actually invented in Italy. Apart from this, many food historians largely agree that Marzipan originated in China. However, since ages, Lubek in Germany and the city of Konigsberg in East Prussia were well-known for their Marzipan production. The etymology of the term"Marzipan" is unclear but is documented as Marzapane in Italian language. Though history debate on its origin, Marzipan is relished worldwide.
The main ingredients of Marzipan are powdered almond and sugar. The sugar can be either granulated or confectioners' type. Most of confectioners prefer to combine both types of sugar for making Marzipan. Moreover, stabilizing agents like water, egg white, corn syrup, or glucose is also used. Egg yolk, vanilla extract, lemon juice and rose water are further added to the dough to bring out the rich flavor.
Marzipan is easy to make. The process is as follows,