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20101115

Tasty Marzipan Tarts

Many people (myself included) are very fond of the flavour of marzipan. For those who are unclear about what marzipan actually is, perhaps I should explain that it is essentially a paste made from ground almonds. At this time of the year, with the Christmas season firmly within sight, marzipan is often spread on top of rich fruit cakes. A layer of royal icing is added on top of the marzipan to make a traditional Christmas cake.

But marzipan can be used in many other ways. For example, you can roll it up into small balls and coat the balls with dark chocolate to make marzipan candies. I chose to make marzipan tarts; here is how I did it.

Ingredients
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups ground almonds
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 eggs
  • Tart shells (buy frozen or prepare from scratch)

Preparation
  • If you can get finely ground almonds you can save yourself a bit of trouble, otherwise break up some shelled almond nuts using a rolling pin and finely grind them in a coffee grinder.
  • Place the sugar in a saucepan and add about half a cup of water to it then place over heat until the sugar dissolves. Bring the sugar solution to a hard boil and keep cooking until it becomes thick and sticky.
  • Slowly stir in the ground almonds and keep stirring vigorously to ensure a smooth mixture.
  • Break the eggs into the almond paste then stir in a dash of almond extract.
  • Turn down the heat and cook lightly for a couple of minutes.
  • Allow to cool then knead with some confectioners (or icing) sugar.
  • Lightly pre-bake some pastry shells then fill with marzipan and top with a glace cherry or some candied peel.
  • Return the tarts to the oven and cook for a few minutes until the tarts begin to brown.

John's Notes
Marzipan tarts take a fair amount of time and effort to prepare but the result is worth it. A good project for a rainy Sunday afternoon. Enjoy.

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