Gilded Marchpane (scottish Elizabethan)
** British Measurements **
Preheat the oven to 300oF / 150oC / gas mark 2.
Work the ground almonds, sugar and rose-water together to make a stiff
paste. Knead until quite smooth. Reserve a little of the marzipan for
decorating the marchpane and place the rest on a sheet of greaseproof
paper. Roll it into a circle, about 3/8-inch thick, and decorate the
edges with the back of a knife as you would a pie. Slip the marzipan
on to a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, then turn off the oven,
open the oven door and leave to cook for another 15 minutes, then
turn off the oven, open the oven door and leave to cook for another
15 minutes, or until firm and dry, but only lightly coloured.
Meanwhile, mix the rose-water and icing sugar to a thin paste for the
glaze. Brush over the marchpane and continue cooking for about 5
minutes until dry and glossy. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
Roll out the reserved marzipan until quite thin and cut out into
hearts, diamonds, letters, animals or birds. Paint with edible gold
colouring and fix on to the glazed marchpane as it dries to form
patterns or pictures. Alternately, the reserved marzipan can be
modelled into figures of animals or birds, or into knots which can be
gilded as before. Sugar-coated caraway, fennel or coriander seeds, or
confectioners' silver balls can also be used for decoration. Serve as
a sweetmeat with coffee at the end of a meal.
** A Book of Historical Recipes **
by Sara Paston-Williams The National Trust of Scotland, 1995
ISBN = 0-7078-0240-7
Scanned and formatted for you by The WEE Scot -- pol mac Griogair
How to make Marchpane Cake (dated from 1699 AD)
"Take blancht Almonds and sugar and beat them up into a Past, and
when have beaten it into a Past, rowl it out about the thickness that
you will have your Marchpane Cakes to be and cut them in 3 square
pieces and set an Edge to them of the same past, and Impress the
Edges of them, then take Rose Watter and beat searced sugar in it
till it be as thick as Pancakes, butter and wet them within it and
strew a few of Bisketts in them and set them upon Wafers, and set
them againe upon Papers and bake them, and keep them for your use."
To gild a Marchpane or any other kind of Tart (dated from 1584 AD)
"Take and cut your leafe of golde, as it lieth upon the booke, into
square peeces like Dice and with a Conies tailes end moysted a
little, take golde up by the one corner, lay it on the place beeing
first made moyste, and with another tayle of a Conie drie presse the
golde downe close. And if ye will have the forme of an Harte, or the
name of Iesus, or any other thing whatsoever; cut the same through a
peece of paper and lay the paper upon your Marchpane or Tart; then
make the voide place of the Paper (through which the Marchpane
appeareth) moyste with Rose Water, laye on your golde, presse it
down, take off your Paper and there remaineth behinde in golde the
print cut in the saide paper."
Historical note: The marchpane was the centrepiece of any banquet.
It was a large flat disc of marzipan, sometimes with a raised rim
round the edge, weighing perhaps 3 to 4 pounds or more, which was
iced, sumptuously decorated and surmounted for special occasions with
three-dimensional figures or models in cast sugar (hot sugar syrup
moulded in stone, wooden or pewter shapes); sugar plate (similar to
modern fondant icing) or almond paste. Finally, the marchpane was
often gilded with gold leaf, readily available but exceedingly
expensive in Elizabethan times.