Sweetened with dried apricots and palm sugar, this recipe makes an excellent alternative to conventional marzipan or almond paste. The consistency and taste is close to the original and it can be eaten as is, uncooked in candies and chocolates, or baked into sweet breads, cakes and cookies.
Look for unsulfured dried apricots without added sugar such as these or these. When fruit is naturally dried it loses its bright color and turns slightly brown. If the dried fruit appear as bright and colorful as it does fresh, it’s likely chemically bleached and preserved with sulfur dioxide and/or sodium metabisulfite.
If you are in a country where bitter almonds are available you can replace the almond extract with 1 bitter almond. Soak it for 24 hours and finely grind it with the sweet almonds.
homemade marzipan with dried apricots and palm sugar
10 oz (300 g) almond meal/flour (or finely ground blanched almonds)
3 ½ oz (100 g) dried apricots
½ cup coconut palm sugar
¼ cup fresh squeezed orange juice
3-5 drops almond extract
Start by finely grinding the almonds. The finer ground almonds you use, the finer texture marzipan you will get. Whether you start with whole almonds or almond flour, a coffee or herb grinder is ideal. Set aside.
Roughly chop dried apricots and add to a food processor with palm sugar and orange juice. Process for a few minutes and pour into a small sauce pan.
Boil mixture for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, and leave to cool for about 10 minutes.
Transfer the apricot mixture back to the food processor and process for at least 5 minutes. Add almond extract and pulse until blended. This will create a smooth and sticky fudge like mass without any chunks of apricot.
Add finely ground almonds and continue processing until it comes together to form a ball.
Knead marzipan until smooth and shape into two logs. To get the logs smooth and even, wrap them in plastic film and roll back and forth while tightly holding the film on both ends.
Makes 2 logs, about 8 oz each.
Vintage Pewter Plate from Cabinetocurios, Etsy.
Photography by Philip Blankenship.