25 August 2011

Marchpane

Marchpane 8/25

Marzipan is the German word for marchpane. Marchpane is the old English word for marzipan. The German word won the battle of lexicon. This is an Elizabethan recipe for it :

Take two Pounds of Jordan Almonds blanch them beat them in a mortar with rosewater
Take one Pound and half of sugar finely sifted and knead the paste with it
Then leave it to rest for one hour in a shady place in a quiet place

Then roll it as thin as you would for a tart
Use a medium-sized china plate with a smooth edge to cut it in a perfect circle
Then set an edge about it and pinch it into a seam

Then layer a pan with crumbled wafers and the marchpane and bake it a little
It will set but remain soft and smooth to the touch
Then ice it with rosewater and sugar and the beaten white of an egg

Place it into the oven until the ice rises white and high
Allow it to cool a moment to set gently
Use beaten egg white to lay golf leaf with the wing feather from a swan

The first time I had marzipan was at a birthday party in England when I was 9 or 10. The village we lived in was very small and the people across the street invited my sister and I over. We had all just had chicken pox and it was fall and had just been Halloween which the English kids in our neighborhood celebrated because why not? I remember the little sculpted animals out of the paste. I remember the soft marshmallow texture and almost non-existent taste. I remember the mother talking to another woman about a made for TV movie about a kidnapping and how she had watched it. The movie was called 'I Know My First Name Is Steven'. I interrupted to tell them I had seen it and they were horrified my mom let me watch it. I remember their faces and the sideways look they gave each other. I hated them for it.