The New Bakers Dozen
Which is closer...marzipan or almond paste?

The The Bakers Dozen: Which is closer...marzipan or almond paste?
By Cheftoni (Cheftoni) on Thursday, October 05, 2006 - 11:23 am: Edit

Okay, I'm an opinionated person. So, I go on a "food" magazine site, where I read a recipe for an apple tart. Recipe is fine, except the writer, who
'hopped the pond to study cooking in Italy and France. Recently, she graduated with a Grand Diplôme from Le Cordon Bleu Paris, where she studied both culinary and pastry arts. She has a BS from Cornell Universityâs School of Hotel Administration' said that fragipane almond paste made the tart great, etc. I wrote this: 'Lovely recipe. But frangipane is not almond paste, nor a type of almond paste. Almond paste is one of the ingredients in it. To achieve *sort of* similar flavor (but not the same consistency) people could substitute marzipan.' I said marzipan because it has the almonds, the's just missing the whites for the "puff" factor. Almond paste is nothing but almonds, but she goes back and writes: 'Her classical training comes through in the frangipane paste, traditional in French tarts.

What to buy: Frangipane is a pastry cream that has ground almonds, almond paste, or almond flour added. It can be found in gourmet grocery store or specialty baking stores.If you are having a hard time finding frangipane, you can substitute almond paste. Look for pure almond paste in the baking aisle of most grocery stores. '
And she put in the recipe: 4 ounces pure almond paste (not marzipan)....

I think the writer was just annoyed by the fact that her fancy degree does not automatically allow her to know everything. I was taught, and have read and learned that frangipane is almond cream that is baked, etc.

So, my two questions are: Isn't marzipan closer to frangipane, in the area of taste/mouthfeel, once baked (without any additions to either) than almond paste? And, do they really make frangipane commercially now!? I don't know if I'd trust it...they'd need to use powdered egg whites, or preservatives...unless they substitute something for the egg whites (I could see that...a leavening agent, like sodium bicarb...?)

I'm just annoyed, because I like being an anonymous know it all =) Actually, when someone points out my mistakes, I take them gracefully, and admit my error. I don't think she is. I think I need to go back to my therapist to deal with all this angry b**ch stuff.

Opinions, please.

By Chefspike (Chefspike) on Thursday, October 05, 2006 - 09:13 pm: Edit

"I was taught, and have read and learned that frangipane is almond cream that is baked, etc."

........Can't you have frangipan without cream ?
if you were to take Almonds, sugar of equal amounts and ground them up, add eggs, baking powder, flour, vanilla and butter and baked it wouldn't that also be Frangipan ?

"So, my two questions are: Isn't marzipan closer to frangipane, in the area of taste/mouthfeel, once baked (without any additions to either) than almond paste?"

..........Does Almond paste and Marzipan have butter ?
Egg Yolks ?
I would think that Frangipan would be the outside player here, and the other two are cousins.

By Cheftoni (Cheftoni) on Thursday, October 05, 2006 - 10:45 pm: Edit

Um...I'm confused. Frangipane doesn't have cream. It's called almond cream, I think, is because of the consistency prior to baking.

And I've never know frangipane to have any butter or leavening. (As for flour...I've seen recipes with flour, but not often.) Egg yolks might be interesting, but I would think that either yolks or butter would be too high of a fat content and imbalance the whole mess...the only binding agent (whites) would be cancelled out...? Unless, of course you add flour.

What other two are cousins? Almond paste and marizpan? I mean, of course they are more closely related than one of them is the building block of frangipane.

Sorry, 'Spike...but I don't get what you were trying to say...?

By Tortesrus (Tortesrus) on Friday, October 06, 2006 - 11:38 am: Edit

Hi Chef Toni- I am not a pastry chef, but I have done my share of classical french pastries. We made our own marzipan by kneading powdered sugar into almond paste, alternating with corn syrup to get the proper modelng consistancy. The almond paste itself is too course and will not hold its shape to make the refined decorations used in modeling marzipan. I believe that almond paste has only sugar (possibly glucose?) added to it in the refining process. It's way cheaper to use in baking than marzipan. I have been told that some "almond paste" in cheaper brands actually are not pure almonds, but have apricot kernals added. In Europe they frequently use a type of bitter almond- so the marzipan has a different taste than what we are used to. I was told that the best marzipan is made in a town in Germany (Lubeck)
I bought some and was surprised that it wasn't nearly as sweet as I was used to.But it was GOOD!
Most of the Frangipan recipes I have used call for butter, eggs,flour and almond paste as the main ingredients. Traditionally this was used in baking to extend the shelf life of the products-
in the days before preservatives were discovered.
The recipes that I use frangipan in are
tarts, and petit four glace' Please excuse my spelling and typos.

By Kinglear (Kinglear) on Friday, October 06, 2006 - 12:20 pm: Edit

Hi guys
Just checked Barrons' "Food Lover's Companion" and my copy of "Professional Baking" (a text used at most culinary schools.)
First, for the marzipan/almond paste question. Almond paste is made from almonds, sugar and glycerin (or some other liquid like corn syrup.) Marzipan is made from the same ingredients, but with the possible addition of a little egg white. Almond paste is coarser than marzipan and is generally used as an ingredient in baked goods while marzipan is more finely textured and generally used, as is, to make decorations, molded confections or for enrobing cakes and such.
Frangipane has two definitions:
1. a type of pastry made with eggs, flour, butter and milk and baked, similar to choux pastry.
2. a rich "creme patisserie" flavored with ground almonds or almond paste used as a filling or topping for various pastries and cakes.

It looks like everyone is right.

By Chefspike (Chefspike) on Monday, October 09, 2006 - 09:14 pm: Edit

and there you go Cheftoni,

I happen to have a "Frangipan recipe" that is just killer.
( the baked version with eggs and stuff )

If of course you want or need one.

Go Tigers.
Go Wings.

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