"Christmas isn't a season. It's a feeling"
– Edna Ferber
Reader Birgit Niedermeier has written a wonderful piece about making low carb marzipan! Marzipan has been used for centuries by pastry chefs all over the world. It can be used in baking and for covering and filling cakes. Marzipan looks fabulous for colorful cake decorations and figurines. Marzipan has to have at least 25% almonds otherwise it is considered almond paste. A thin layer of Marzipan can be used to cover a cake. When colored, it can replace the need for frosting.
Have a question? You can write to Birgit.
Many of the traditional German holiday treats involve marzipan. The possibilities of what you can create with it are endless. Here are some recipes and suggestions to make a wonderful low carb marzipan that will make your holiday special!
Roll into a big sausage-shape and wrap in foil or Saran wrap. Chill for about 2 hours.
When you remove it from the refrigerator, check consistency again. If it is still somewhat sticky, sprinkle 1 tbsp of soy protein isolate on the surface and knead through thoroughly. Don't worry... the isolate doesn't change the taste at all but gives it that extra bit of improvement in consistency. (With regular marzipan you would add powdered sugar until you achieve the required consistency but I didn't want to spend any more carbs on it.)
Now you have marzipan! At his stage you could be making all manner of things already. Roll it into marble sized balls and let it air dry over night and you have "marzipan kugeln" ... marzipan balls that are a really nice treat.
Or you could cut out stars or other shapes you desire and dip them in sugarfree chocolate. (I would let the shapes dry out overnight also to make them easier to handle.) Use a little more soy protein isolate for rolling out, but use very sparingly as your dough shouldn't be very sticky at all at this stage to start with and you don't want to have blobs of isolate on your cut out shapes!
*Whatever sweetener you use, you need to grind it in your coffee grinder to make powdered "sugar" and enough to end up with about 2/3 cup of the powdered stuff. You can use all Splenda but it does make it a bit carby. I used a mix of Splenda, Xylitol and "Sugar Slim."
** Rose water is somewhat optional. It does, however enhance the flavor. You can buy it in herbal stores or make it yourself if you have roses in your garden.
Another all time favorite is the relatively easy confectionary. Soak dried apricots in brandy overnight, take them out and pat them dry. Slice in half and nestle a small almond or half a pecan inside the apricot. Make a flat round disk of marzipan in your hand (big enough to fit around the apricot) then put the apricot and nut in the middle and fold the marzipan around it. Roll gently in your hand to make a ball. Dip the underside of the ball in some dark chocolate. Makes a very yummy and impressive looking candy.
For the pastry:
Grate the apple and zuchini, mix together in a bowl with the apple and raisin flavorings. Cover and let it sit in the fridge for at least and hour. It draws out the excess water which you can then use in the pastry.
Use the metal blade in the food processor and put the dry ingredients and the well-chilled fat (cut into 1-inch/2-1/2 cm chunks) into the bowl. Mix the lemon juice, egg yolk, flavoring and water/juice to blend, then turn on the machine and pour them down the feed tube, pulsing only until the mixture looks like a moist crumble, then tip it into a bowl and gather together into a dough.
Turn the pastry onto a board or counter-top sprinkled with a very light layer of protein powder. The dough will be on the soft and fragile side. Knead it gently with the fingertips and devide into two parts. Flatten one half into a 1-inch (2-1/2 cm) thick disc, wrap in foil or clingfilm and chill half in the refrigerator for half-an-hour and put the other half in the freezer.
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line the base and sides of a 10-inch (25 cm) heat-proof flan dish with the chilled dough, pressing it evenly. Cover the pastry with the grated or sliced marzipan.
To make the filling, cream the fat, guar gum and sugarslim until fluffy then beat in the egg yolks. Stir in the grated apples, add the rest of the ingredients, then fold in the egg whites whisked until they hold glossy peaks. When you stir in the zuchini the fat migh start to seperate rather then blend right in, don't worry about that ... it's just fine. Spoon the filling into the pastry case and crumble/grate the frozen pastry on top in an even layer.
Scatter with the granulated sugarslim (brown works wonderful) and bake for about 20 minutes until top is golden brown. Turn the heat down to 350 and bake for another 20-25 minutes. I'd recommend placing it on a cookie sheet as some of the filling may drip out of the dish.
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