From Fante’s 1982 Marzipan Fruits & Vegetables Workshop in a Cake Decorating Course by Reba Cohn, a Master Decorator who was instrumental in popularizing Cake Decorating in Philadelphia
This is one of the best-loved lessons I teach. You can buy the leaves and almond paste from Fante’s. It makes a beautiful display piece, as well as delicious eating candy for Thanksgiving or other holiday use. After you make fruits and vegetables, have them flowing from your horn of plenty down the cake.
1 Lb of Almond Paste (not almond filling)
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup White Karo syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
Beat together until smooth.
Gradually beat in 1 Lb sifted 10X sugar, or slightly more. Work in the last of it with the handle if too stiff for the beater.
Mix in paste food colors.
Shaping the Marzipan
Color some marzipan red and some green.
Break off a small piece of marzipan about the size of a small walnut, of either color; roll in the palm of your hands to form a round ball.
Next, place a bought apple leaf in the top and a whole clove in the bottom. See how real it looks?
Use red marzipan and roll like a ball. This should be slightly smaller than the apple.
Now place the ball between your first finger on each hand, and roll gently. This will make one end narrow.
Have some granulated sugar colored red with food coloring.
Moisten the strawberry you just rolled with egg white, or a very little water, and roll it around in the sugar.
Now place a bought strawberry leaf in the wide top.
One of my students married after being single for 65 years as a result of making him marzipan strawberries when he was ill. He said anyone who could make any food taste so good and look so beautiful should be his wife. She is very happily married. When I tell my students about this lady, it seems they only want to make strawberries.
It is made exactly like the strawberry; only it is slightly larger and yellow in color.
Put the proper leaf in the narrow end up, with a clove in the bottom.
Paint a blush of pink food color for the cheeks.
Use bright yellow.
We roll a long strip and cut it in varied sizes.
Curve them slightly. Pinch slightly for the bottom end.
Look at a picture to see how to make a hand of bananas.
Take brown food color on your brush, and paint specks here and there to make the bananas have a ripe appearance.
Put a small piece of green marzipan at the top to make it look like the hand of bananas are held together.
Mix a little pink and yellow food color in a piece of marzipan.
Roll into a ball the size of a small walnut.
Now take a dinner knife and score the side of the ball slightly.
Add the proper bought leaf, and put it in the top.
Now paint the side, where you scored, with a light pink food color for the blush.
You will think up many more fruits to make as you practice.
Roll a piece of white marzipan longwise.
Cut in about 1-1/2 lengths.
Score on one side to make the appearance of corn.
Roll out green marzipan, cut in strips, and place around the white to make an ear effect.
Color bright orange, making a large round ball.
Score about 8 times from top to bottom all around.
Now roll small piece of green to make a stem, and add to the top of the pumpkin.
Make an oval flat piece for the pod, and roll round pieces in different sizes to make the peas.
Moisten the peas and place them in the pod
Shape a flat piece of marzipan, light green or purple, into almost a triangle.
Roll different size balls, moisten them with egg white or water, and stick balls on the triangle to form a bunch of grapes.
You can build them up to look more realistic. Add the proper leaf.
The more you work with marzipan, the more you’ll love it, and the more ideas you’ll get. Have fun. -Reba
A couple of older recipes:
1 tsp Sucrevert [invert sugar*]
1/2 lb almond paste
1/2 cup white Karo
1 tsp almond flavor
1 lb 10X sugar
Combine all the ingredients except the 10X sugar and mix well.
Slowly mix in the 10X sugar until the dough reaches the right consistency.
Coconut Almond Marzipan
1 tsp Sucrevert [invert sugar*]
1 tbs white Karo syrup
1/2 lb almond paste
1/2 can Eagle Brand evaporated milk
1 lb fine coconut
1 large size Jello in your choice of flavor
Heat milk slighly, but don’t boil.
Add Jello and almond paste and mix well.
Add 1 tbs white Karo syrup, the Sucrevert, and about 1 lb fine coconut more or less until the candy holds its shape when rolled.
For strawberries, take a little Jello and milk mixture and add to granulated sugar. Mix well, roll strawberries in sugar mixture after they are shaped. Add blush to peaches and pears. Paint bananas with brown food color to make more realistic.
About keeping Marzipan soft with Invert Sugar:
* Invert sugar is used to retard or prevent crystallization, and it will keep your marzipan softer. (It can also be used to keep other baked goods softer, like cookies and brownies.)
From The Serious Eats Guide to Sugar
[Sugar] helps form a crust: Crusts form when moisture evaporates and sugars crystalize, [which] is particularly noticeable in cookies, brownies and pound cakes, when formulas are high in sugar and low in moisture. More hygroscopic sweeteners (honey, fructose, invert sugar) will prevent crust formation because they retain moisture.
You can substitute honey for the invert sugar.
Or you can make your own:
How to Make Invert Sugar
Yield: 2 lb 3 oz (1 kg)
4 Cups + 6 Tablespoon (2 lb 3 oz) Extra fine granulated sugar (1 kg)
2 cups Water (480 ml)
1/4 Teaspoon Cream of tartar or citric acid (1 g)
In a non reactive saucepan stir to a boil the sugar, water and cream of tartar (or citric acid). (I prefer to make it on an induction or electric stovetop instead of a gas stovetop.)
Once the mixture boils, wash away any sugar crystals stuck to the side of the pan using a pastry brush dipped in water. (Any additional water added to the pan from this process has no effect on the final outcome.)
On medium heat without stirring boil the mixture to 236°F (114°C). Remove from heat and cover the pan. Let cool at room temperature.
Store in a refrigerator. Invert sugar will last at least 6 months.