Everything about marzipan

Marzipan is a sweet dated back to the Middle Ages. It came from Persia to Europe in the 13th century. According to the myth the little daughter of a Venetian confectioner made the first marzipan accidentally around 1400. For fun she mixed honey into the ground almond and put the mass on a hot cooktop. Her father tasted the dry sweet and called out: "Here is Mary's confectionery invention!" He called the new sweet marzipan after the patron saint of Venice, Saint Mark, which means: Mark's bread. He started to sell it on the thanksgiving of the patron saint at the square in front of the church. During plague epidemics bread-shaped marzipan was distributed among the people to save them from the illness.

In Hungary the sweet made from almond and sugar was first mentioned as a brown-white chessboard served as the eighth course of the New Year’s lunch following the wedding of King Matthias in 1477. It spoke highly of the work of the sweet maker arriving to the court among the attendants of Queen Beatrix from Naples.

We know the first domestic marzipan recipes from the 16-17th centuries. It was made in the court of the prince of Transylvania this way: they ground in a mortar two pounds (112 dkg) of cleaned almonds with at least one and a half pounds of sugar (84 dkg) for minimum of an hour, in the meanwhile they sprinkled it with rose-water four-five times, added to the mass a pinch of tragant soaked in advance (sticky fluid of a plant from Asia Minor). Then they cooked it in a copper pan on slow fire with continuous stirring until the mass sticked to the hand. They stretched the dough out, moulded into forms, decorated it and on demand they gilded it. They baked (or rather dried) the ready marzipan and coated it with beaten up sugared egg-white.