Marzipan or almond paste as it is also known, is a smooth sweet yellow-coloured paste with a similar consistency to uncooked pastry. It is made from ground almonds and sugar and is sold in blocks, similar to blocks of butter. It is very malleable and can be moulded into a variety of shapes. Two different varieties are available: white marzipan and golden marzipan.
Uses: White marzipan and golden marzipan are interchangeable. Marzipan is most commonly used for covering rich fruit cakes (such as wedding, christening or Christmas cakes) to provide a smooth surface for a layer of icing to be placed on top, if a thin layer of icing is to be used white marzipan is the best choice for a pure white finished result.
Golden marzipan is also used for filling cakes (such as stollen, the popular German Christmas cake) and to top cakes (such as simnel cake, a traditional British Easter cake).
Marzipan is a popular ingredient in sweet-making and can be coloured with food colouring and made into marzipan fruits. It can also be made into petit fours and baked.
To store: Marzipan should be stored in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight for up to 6 months. Once opened the paste will dry out quickly so wrap any unused marzipan in the original wrapping and some kitchen foil and store in an airtight container.
To prepare: When preparing marzipan to cover a cake, knead it gently to soften it first, then dust the worksurface with a little sieved icing sugar or cornflour and roll out using a rolling pin.