I went most of my adult life thinking I didn’t like marzipan. Then I made some from scratch and realized what a fool I’d been. There are two ways to go about making marzipan. You can do the simple mix-and-stir method using powdered sugar, ground almonds and egg white, or you can do the slightly more involved candy method, and cook granulated sugar and water to the soft ball stage, then add the egg white and almonds. The mix-and-stir method is what I prefer, though it does mean that the end result is a “raw egg” confection. It’s my personal belief that the overwhelming amount of sugar is enough to kill any bugs the eggs might contain. However I’m not a food safety scientist, so do as your conscience dictates. Pasteurized egg whites can be acquired from many sources.
The best way to grind almonds for marzipan is in a coffee grinder. If yours is full of coffee, try brushing it out, then grinding up some uncooked rice to clean it. The almonds will grind very nicely in such a machine, but will reduce to a paste if you grind them too finely. That’s not the end of the world by any means, but a paste is harder to push through a sieve. You’ll need:
5.5 ounces skinless, sliced or slivered blanched almonds
1 egg white
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
6 ounces (1 1/4 cups) or more powdered sugar
Grind the almonds to powder in the coffee grinder. Sieve the powder and re-grind anything that’s too big to pass through. Combine the egg white and salt in a medium bowl and whisk to combine. Add the vanilla and whisk until incorporated. Stir in the almond powder to form a paste, then add the powdered sugar, kneading in as much as is necessary to form a stiff paste. The marzipan can be kept in the refrigerator for weeks or even months, tightly wrapped in plastic wrap.