It is so lovely to be back and posting one of my most recent recipes for homemade marzipan sweet treats from our new home (still in East Sussex) after what feels like months of packing and unpacking boxes. But it definitely feels like the right move, we could not be happier and I can’t wait to share lots of new and delicious seasonal recipes using the freshest locally sourced ingredients, wild food foraged on my daily dog walks and soon to be planted herbs and vegetables out of the veg patch from scratch.
Marzipan can be made in two ways, uncooked and cooked, the cooked method requires the need to make a sugar syrup and is a lengthier process. This recipe for marzipan uses a quick and simple uncooked method with delicious results. The main ingredients being almonds and icing sugar with the addition of lemon zest, lemon juice and a little almond extract. I like to blanch and de skin the dried almonds myself (it doesn’t take long and is a satisfying process), they give the marzipan that wonderful mildly nutty and milky flavour, but you could use ready skinned blanched almonds, or ground almonds if you have not got a food processor.
- 240g almonds (skin on)
- 140g icing sugar
- Finely grated zest of 1 lemon and juice
- 1tsp almond extract or to taste
- 4-5 dried apricots
- 12 Medjool dates, de stoned
- 60g dark chocolate, broken into small pieces
- 2 tbsp dry fried poppy seeds
- 1 tbsp dry fried flaked almonds
- Bring a pan of water to the boil over a high heat.
- Take the pan off the heat and tip the almonds into the boiled water.
- Allow the almonds to soak in the boiled water for 3-4 mins.
- Drain the almonds into a sieve.
- Twist and squeeze the skin off the almonds. Discarding the skins.
- Put the almonds into a food processor and blitz until they reach a cous- cous consistency.
- Add the icing sugar, lemon zest and almond extract, blitz again.
- Add the juice of half a lemon and blitz again until the mixture resembles a marzipan consistency, add a little extra lemon juice if necessary. Taste and if liked add a few more drops of almond extract, and blitz for the last time.
- Scoop the marzipan from the bowl with a spatula, form into a ball or sausage shape,wrap in cling film and put into the fridge to firm up. At least 3 hours or leave in the fridge overnight.
- To fill the Medjool dates, just pull some marzipan away from the main clump and form it into little sausage shapes, push into the cavity of the date and push in a few flaked almonds.
- For the coin shaped marzipan sweets just roll the remaining marzipan into a 4cm in diameter wide sausage and cut into 1cm slices. Use half to dip into the chocolate, roll the sides of the other half in the poppy seeds and top with a chunk of dried apricot.
- Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl sitting over a pan of simmering water ( the water does not need to touch the base of the bowl) when the chocolate has melted dip the marzipan into the chocolate to cover half the disc, a cocktail stick is good for doing this.
- Arrange your selection of marzipan sweet treats onto a flat plate, wooden board or similar and allow the chocolate ones to set before serving. Primrose flowers look lovely at Easter scattered around the sweets.
Blanching your own almonds only takes a few minutes and is far more cost effective than buying them ready done! and they’re tastier…..
Once the water has come to the boil, the pan is taken off the heat, the almonds get tipped in and allowed to sit in the boiled water for 3-4 minutes. They will be hot, so carefully spoon one out, allow to cool slightly and give it the squeeze test, if the skin comes away easily they should all be ready to drain into a sieve.
Allow the almonds to cool very slightly in the sieve, but not for long as they will start to dry out and the skins will become impossible to take off without putting them back into some boiling water to soak again. A good method for squeezing the skin from the almonds and preventing them from flying across the room, is to hold the almond in your thumb and forefinger, twist slightly and then squeeze gently down towards an awaiting bowl or into your other hand.
Once all the almonds have been skinned, they get blitzed in a food processor to a cous cous like consistency.
Finely grated lemon zest has been added to the marzipan mixture adding a wonderful citrus flavour and the lemon juice brings the marzipan mixture together into a firm paste.
Scooping out the marzipan like textured paste.
Roll the marzipan into a sausage or ball shape, wrap in cling film and pop it into the fridge to firm up. I leave it in the fridge over night and shape it up into the sweets the following morning.
Marzipan goes so well together with dried fruits ( like apricots, dates, figs, cranberries and sour cherries ), nuts ( like pecans, walnuts, pistachios, almonds and hazelnuts) and dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids). They can be moulded or cut into lots of different shapes, let your imagination go wild! Also when making marzipan its great to experiment with different flavours replace the almond extract for a few drops of rose water or replace the lemon juice with bourbon. Also try it with finely chopped stem ginger or add some finely chopped young lemon verbena leaves.
Sometimes when I have very little ingredients in the cupboard, the marzipan gets moulded into small new potato size shapes and just simply rolled in a thin coating of cocoa powder.
Wishing you a very happy Easter! x
Ps: You can find me on Instagram @joclarkcookingetc