Marzipanification Stage 1


What follows is an adventure in process. Don’t write down any recipes until you get to the end 🙂

—–

My almonds are blanched. I’ve done that much.

Now, though I (conceptually) love Smitten Kitten’s recipe, I’ve been trolling through the web (while my little naked almonds dry out a bit on a baking sheet) to find a recipe that fits. In particular, I’ve been wondering about the types of things you can mix in with marzipan. (i.e., if I throw some Frangelico into the food processor with my almonds and sugar, will that throw some fundamental monkey wrench into the works? Or will it probably be fine…like replacing the liquid in other peoples’ recipes?)

I haven’t stumbled upon anything definitive. However, I’m feeling more confident. And I found another blog and recipe that I like and want to share.

http://allthingssicilianandmore.blogspot.com/2009/10/pasta-di-mandorla-marzipan-traditional.html

Looking at this, I didn’t have to make my own powdered sugar (I didn’t have any, so I blasted granulated sugar in the food processor), because she uses granulated. Ah well. I’ll need icing for sugar cookies tomorrow 😉 Also, looking at her recipe,

which is borrowed from “The most authentic recipe that [she has] found is in the book called Bitter Almonds, Recollections and Recipes from a Sicilian girlhood. The book was researched and written by Mary Taylor Simeti and it contains recollections and recipes of Maria Grammatico, famous for making almond pastries. She has a wonderful pastry shop in Erice and I visited this recently (in September 2009).

I’m guessing I can replace the water with Frangelico. I figure that as long as people can mix booze into the dough at some point, there shouldn’t be anything fundamentally destructive about alcohol to the ability of the dough to stick together. And if there is, well, I’ll let you know.

So, my marzipan food hack will be a combination of All Things Sicilian and More’s (link) recipe and that of Smitten Kitten (link)…and Frangelico.

Here’s what I’m doing

150 g blanched whole almonds

200 g granulated sugar

(to start, I’m halving Sicilian’s recipe lest I screw something up…I assume I’ll have to compensate regarding the sweetness of the Frangelico and and amount of sugar, but I’m not sure how much. I’ll do the almonds and sugar first…)

..too granulated. The sugar doesn’t seem to be breaking down ;( seems like too much sugar. I’m putting 20 more blanched almonds in…

… and now I’m adding 1 tbs Frangelico and 10 more almonds…

…f@ck it. I’m adding all the remaining almonds. So, in total, 300 g blanched whole almonds plus about half a cup of almonds (to compensate, I hope, for the sweetness of Frangelico)…

…food process it….

…still too sugary in consistency. Add remaining Frangelico. So, in total, 1/3 cup (so far, that is)…

..finagle, split up dough because food processor is too small…. Add 2 tbs more of Frangelico…

…put all dough back in processor with 2 more tbs Frangelico

Ok. So here’s where I am at this point (real time, at the end of the post):

The recipe (thus far) is

  • 300 g + ½ cup blanched whole almonds
  • 200 g granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup Frangelico

If you have a great blender, throw everything on in and blend the hell out of it until you have marzipan. My food processor went above and beyond the call of duty tonight, though I stopped blending because it was getting hot and seemed on the verge of going on strike.

I have my dough in a big metal bowl now. It is a little moist, but I will use powdered sugar tomorrow when I work with it (for dusting, etc.) and I’ll probably knead more powdered sugar in to get the consistency I want.

In the meantime, I have what I think is an almond-paste/marzipan hybrid that is fully spiked with Frangelico and delicious. Incidentally, this is a vegan recipe (depending on the source and processing of your sugar, of course, and whatever processing is used in making Frangelico…). I only point this out because lots of folks seem to freak out whenever ‘vegan’ or ‘vegetarian’ is mentioned, as though finding a vegan or vegetarian recipe for anything is just way too complicated. The thing is, lots of foods and desserts and delicious things just happen to be vegan and vegetarian. Those two words don’t automatically mean steamed tofu. I’m just sayin’.

But back to the point at hand. I made home-made marzipan. It is delicious. Frangelico does make a happy substitute for water. I’ll be using this batch of marzipan for the remainder of my holiday gifts. The first batch, though store-bought, was great for my friend who doesn’t enjoy alcohol, and perhaps for her son (if he’s very good!). They aren’t spiked, but they are cute as could be and were a labor of love.

This batch has been a labor of love as well, though I don’t think I’ll be making any more teeny fir trees 😛 When you’ve got booze-spiked treats, you don’t really need to sex them up much more than that 😉

To be continued (tomorrow, I’ll be working with this batch and adding powdered sugar)…

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