05 December 2009
Recipe For Marzipan For Christmas Cake
I love marzipan, which is often called in a highly industrial way almond paste (an honest but bland name).
It reminds me of the childhood magic of Christmas time. It was especially magical as my mother's family - she's German - would send over the most beautiful Christmas treats. However, much of that mysterious magic has gone as relatively cheap versions of lebkuchen, stollen and spekulatius are available in every supermarket, baker or discount store.
And marzipan treats were part of that magic - siz inch bars of marzipan from Niederegger covered in chocolate. I don't know whether my tastes have got more refined now that I cook myself or whether the recipes have been cheapened over the years, but the marzipan and chocolate seems much more artificial now than they used to be.
We always made extra marzipan to make marzipan kugeln or marzipan balls, plus I would always love to lick my fingers clean.
Nostalgia; you can't beat it, so keep on those rose tinted glasses.
600g/ 1¼lb ground almonds, sieved
275g/ 10oz caster sugar
275g/10oz icing sugar, sieved
4tsp lemon juice
2tbsp orange flower water or sherry (Steenbergs do the best organic orange flower water, but I am not biased of course)
4 large egg yolks
Apricot jam (the best you can find)
Mix all the ingredients together well. Use your hands if you want, but make sure that they are very clean first.
Put 4 tablespoons of apricot jam into a small pan and gently heat until runny. Spread this over the cake. You probably don't need the apricot to make it stick the Christmas cake and marzipan together, but I love the additional subtle flavour; layering of flavours is one of my cooking principles especially when they are thin, almost ghostlike hints.
Halve the marzipan and using a rolling pin, flatten it out and then place on top of the cake. With the palm of your hands and fingers, smooth it all over the top of the cake.
Using the second half of the marzipan, smooth this out using a rolling pin and slice in half lengthways. Using the top half of marzipan, curve it around part of the side of the cake. Now take the rest of the marzipan and curve this around the rest of the cake. Now using your hands and fingers, smooth the marzipan around the edges of the cake, making the join between the pieces, and trimming where necessary.
If you have any excess marzipan, eat and enjoy.
Cover and leave to dry. In a couple of weeks time, the cake will be ready for icing.