Working with Marzipan

Because marzipan is both delicious to eat on its own and simple to make, it is often used both as the icing for cakes and as decoration. When used to ice a cake, marzipan is rolled into a thin sheet and draped over the cake, usually with an apricot or fruit glaze applied between the cake and marzipan so that the icing sticks more securely. Once the marzipan is draped over the cake, the sides are carefully smoothed down so that the icing is uniform and free of bubbles or wrinkles.

Marzipan fruits can be presented as a charming home-made gift for the holiday season. Marzipan works great for molding fruit because it is smooth and tints well with food coloring. To do this, knead the food coloring into the marzipan. Start with a small amount of color and add more as needed. Use cloves to represent the calyx and stalk on fruit. The fine side of a grater is used to simulate the rough skin of citrus fruits. Mold leaves out of marzipan. Also use cookie cutters or a sharp knife to cut marzipan into shapes, letters and numbers, which are then attached to the sides or top of a cake. These decorations add color, flavor, and texture to what might otherwise be a plain cake.

Here are a few ideas on how to mold different fruit:
Apple - Use red tinted marzipan. Roll into a ball, Indent the top and use a clove for the stalk.
Pear - Gradually taper a ball and put a clove in the narrow end for a stalk. Put another clove into the rounded as end as a calyx.
Orange - Use orange colored marzipan. Mold into a ball and roll on a fine grater.

Marzipan can be purchased pre-made. You can also buy almond paste to make your own marzipan by mixing equal parts almond paste and powdered sugar, and then slowly working in a small amount of corn syrup until the mixture has a soft, slightly dry, dough-like consistency. With your own marzipan, use food colors, a clean work surface, and some spare powdered sugar in case the marzipan gets too sticky to work with.
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