Saturday, March 27, 2010

Marzipan Fruit

I have just completed a class on Almond Paste at Algonquin College, and honestly, for something I wasn't sure if I'd enjoy, I really surprised myself and loved it. And, yes, I actually made all of the fruit and vegetables in the photos by myself - with absolutely no previous experience (not even a day).

I really enjoy the way it makes me feel when I do something I don't think I will like and then it turns out that I want to start a new career! I mean, who couldn't love the perfect little specimen that were created with my own hands. It's crazy, I didn't want the class to end.

The only other time I felt like that was when I was at college studying Commercial Cookery and Butchery classes were looming. It wasn't that I didn't like meat, it was just that I thought how interesting could butchery, of all things, be? It turns out that I loved it too.

I think I enjoy things the most where I have the opportunity to learn something completely new. I absolutely love a challenge, and that love combined with my incessant strive for perfection leads to me to create these perfect little edibles.

And, just in case you can't tell, from left to right, there are red peppers, bananas, carrots, Granny Smith apple, bosc pear in the back, plum in the front, red delicious apple, grapes in the back, lemon in the front and then oranges at the far end.

Almond Paste
recipe from Karen Barr, Pastry Chef at Algonquin College
Makes 1.9kg (that makes a lot of fruit & vegetables - let me tell you! The fruit above weigh approx. 10g each)

910g almond paste (you can make your own, but commercial product is so much smoother)
120ml glucose* or light corn syrup

910g sifted icing sugar

Place the almond paste and the glucose, or corn syrup, into bowl of stand mixer. Using the hook attachment, mix at low speed until combined.
Start adding the sugar, scraping down the sides of the bowl when necessary. Add enough sugar to make a fairly firm, yet workable dough. In class, we added half the sugar in the mixer, then added the rest by hand, by kneading it on a clean work surface. (It's a great workout.)

Wrap the marzipan in plastic wrap and place in an airtight container. Store in a cool place until ready to use (not the refrigerator).

Colour small portions with water soluble food colouring or gel food colouring. The gel food colouring gives a more vibrant hue.

When rolling to form shapes, roll in icing sugar to keep from sticking.

*You can purchase glucose from Artistic Cake Design on Merivale Road.

Enjoy, and have fun!

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