We Brits seem have an aversion to marzipan, something that seems at odds with the rest of Europe, who embrace it as I wish we would. I think it must be something to do with the twee and fusty image it appears to have retained; mainly coming as it does in the form of cutesy fruit and animal shapes, or that secret yellow layer, welded beneath the icing of a Christmas cake. I’ll happily nibble away at slabs of the stuff, joyfully eating others leftover bits of Christmas cake, I mean, why leave the best bit? I’d happily eat this daily, forget the cake. Yet almond croissants are eaten across the Country with abandon, and what is that if not essentially a marzipan stuffed croissant?! Almond or pistachio paste however seems to have managed to secure a more acceptible and grown up reputation, though essentially really just the same thing, It appears to me the very word ‘marzipan’ conjours up negative connotations.
Don’t tell him, but I’ve totally tricked the boy, a devout marzipan hater, by telling him he was eating something using the term almond paste. It worked. I’m convinced the hate is based on preconceptions, I mean what’s not to love about a sugary, almondy, sweet thing?! Of course not all marzipan is good, in fact some of the supermarket stuff is truly an abomination, packed out with sugar and flavourings, I guess it’s no wonder our stuff has a bad rep (having said that I can, and do eat even the worst kind – it’s that damn sweet tooth of mine!).
Now, in this instance, the doughnut idea was prompted by a BOGOF offer in Waitrose, so I lazily just bought their own brand, but feel free to concoct your own far superior marzipan/nut pastes. I have a feeling you could (and I intend to when I can get hold of some) make a fine, intensely nutty version with cobnuts inspired by Demarquettes stunning range of cobnut pralines.
So here you go; I can’t think of many things better than a doughnut, piping hot and yielding to a soft marzipan centre, and if you have a problem with that, think of it as sweet almond paste.
What are your thoughts on marzipan? Love it, or hate it??
For these I used the same original doughnut recipe based on the one from Dan Lepard’s Short and Sweet book. I added a small ball of marzipan to the centre of each ball of dough, sealing the edges carefully before letting them rest for around 40 minutes, then frying at 180 degrees for a couple of minutes until golden and cooked through.
Marzipan undeniably goes well with chocolate, but rather than coating them, I prefer a sugary doughy shell, so I made a very simple chocolate dip. I chopped a small amount of 72% chocolate into a bowl, added some double cream and blasted in the microwave for a few seconds, then stirred until the mixture was smooth and glossy. You could vary chocolate to cream ratios depending on your tastes, adding sugar if needed.