Masapan (Homemade Marzipan)
Spain is the birthplace of marzipan and was first created in the 15th century. Jews adopted this candy as a Jewish dessert after a meat meal. Real Sephardic marzipan will include a few bitter almonds. Unfortunately, those are illegal in America because of the high content of cyanide (though you really only need a tiny bit of bitter almonds for marzipan).
- 8 ounces (2 cups) blanched slivered almonds
- 6 ounces (1⅓ cups) powdered sugar (use kosher-for-Passover powdered sugar, made with potato starch, if you don’t eat kitniyot)
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- Optional: 1 teaspoon orange zest and 1 teaspoon orange blossom water; 1 teaspoon rose water; or ½ teaspoon ground cardamom (omit if you don't eat kitniyot)
- To decorate: 2 tablespoons slivered almonds
- Put almonds in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Let stand for 10 minutes, strain and pat dry with paper towels. Put almonds in a bowl of a food processor and grind until fine. Stop food processor and use a spatula to push almonds from sides of bowl as needed. Add powdered sugar, almond extract and any of the optional flavorings, if using, and process until dough is combined and starts to have a Play-Doh-like texture. If dough is too dry and crumbly, add another teaspoon of flavoring or water and process some more. Remove marzipan from food processor and use your hands to knead on working surface until marzipan is smooth and playable. Shape marzipan into 24 small balls and decorate with slivered almonds. Keep in a sealed container at room temperature.
- To make pistachio marzipan, replace half of the almonds with raw shelled pistachios. Do NOT soak the pistachios in water. Grind pistachios with almonds and follow the recipe above.