Difference between Almond Paste and Marzipan

Almond paste and marzipan are both used in the decoration of cakes, cookies, pies and other desserts. While the ingredients used in the preparation of both almond paste and marzipan are the same, and while they both serve almost the same purposes, there are various differences which distinguish one from the other.

Almond paste is a combination of finely crushed almonds, sugar, egg whites and water, which is cooked until it reaches a smooth consistency. The preparation of marzipan is fairly similar to that of almond paste, but the basic difference between the two is the amount of almonds used. Almond paste contains 50 percent almonds and 50 percent sugar, while marzipan contains 30 percent almonds and 70 percent sugar. Hence, marzipan is much sweeter than almond paste.

Moreover, marzipan is more pliable as compared to almond paste; for this reason, it is easier to roll. The pliability of marzipan makes it ideal for decorating and moulding purposes; it is mostly used to make tiny edible sculptures  for desserts, like elephants and flowers. So while almond paste is primarily used for filling baked items such as cakes, pies, tarts and other desserts (it tastes heavenly when used as a filling in chocolate cake), marzipan is used for decorating cakes and pies.


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    Almond Paste

    Almond paste is a mixture of ground almonds and confectioner’s sugar in equal quantities, combined with beaten egg whites and heavy cream or corn syrup. To make almond paste, put three cups of peeled and blanched almonds in the food processor and process until the almonds are finely ground. Add three cups of sifted confectioners' sugar to the food processor along with two egg whites, two teaspoons of almond extract, and 1/3 teaspoon of salt, and blend until you get a smooth, well combined paste. Move this paste to a clean, flat surface and gently knead into a ball. Put the finished paste in an airtight container and place it in the refrigerator. This paste will last for about one month in the refrigerator, and for three months in the freezer.

    Image courtesy: amateurgourmet.com

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    Marzipan is a confection consisting of sugar or honey combined with ground almonds. Marzipan is mostly prepared from almond paste, so if you have almond paste stored in your refrigerator, take two cups of it and combine it with two egg whites. Knead the mixture with your hands until it is well combined. Then, add six cups of icing sugar (one cup at a time) to this mixture and knead well. Add one teaspoon of pure vanilla extract and work  on it with your hands until the mixture is smooth and pliable. If the finished product is too sticky, add a bit more icing sugar and process with your hands. Once you are satisfied with the consistency of your homemade marzipan, wrap it up tightly in plastic wrap and store it in the refrigerator.

    Image courtesy: beauty-traveller.com

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