Thursday, December 24, 2009


Marzipan is a confection consisting primarily of sugar and almond meal.

It derives its characteristic flavor from bitter almonds, which constitute 4% to 6% of the total almond content by weight.

It is often made into sweets: common uses are marzipan-filled chocolate and small marzipan imitations of fruits and vegetables. It is also rolled into thin sheets and glazed for icing cakes and is traditionally used in wedding cakes, Christmas cakes, and stollen. In some countries marzipan is shaped into small figures of animals as a traditional treat for New Year's Day. Marzipan is also used in Tortell, and in some versions of king cake eaten during the Carnival season.

In Italy, particularly in Palermo, marzipan (marzapane) is often shaped and painted with food colorings to resemble fruit — Frutta martorana — especially during the Christmas season and on Il Giorno dei Morti (the Day of the Dead) on November 2. May 9 and 10 are also special days for eating marzipan in Sicily. In Portugal, traditional marzipan (maçapão) fruit shaped sweets made in the Algarve region are called morgadinhos.

There are other regions, as Toledo in Spain in which marzipan is shaped into simple animal shapes, and usually filled in with egg yolk (yema) and sugar. In Latin American cuisine, marzipan is known as mazapán and is also traditionally eaten at Christmas, though "Mazapan" is generally made with peanuts in place of almonds.

In the Netherlands Marzipan figures are given as presents to children during Saint Nicholas' Eve. In Germany it is common to give marzipan in the shape of a pig as new year presents, known as a "Glückschwein" (lucky pig). In Geneva, a traditional part of the celebration of L'Escalade is the ritual smashing of a chocolate cauldron filled with marzipan vegetables, a reference to a Savoyarde siege of the city which was supposedly foiled by a housewife with a cauldron of boiling soup.

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