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Marzipan mousse with Christmas compote

>> Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Marzipan mousse 1

This is a reinterpretation of two typical Spanish Christmas sweets, marzipan and dried fruit compote, combined in one scrumptious dessert. The mousse recipe comes from a book by famous Spanish pastry chef Paco Torreblanca and for the sauce I used my method of cooking the dried fruit in sweet wine, without sugar added as marzipan already has plenty of it. Also it is a great alternative for those who find marzipan overly sweet or heavy... this is a lighter way to eat it.

Marzipan is one of those culinary treasures that we do not appreciate in full because here in Spain we all grow up with it and that makes it all too familiar for us... and we take it for granted. As Claudia Roden tells us, Spain is the largest commercial producer of marzipan in the world, with the beautiful town of Toledo as the center of this trade. In Toledo there is a marzipan museum, where this delicacy is described as the ancient symbol of harmony between Arabs, Jews and Christians in the city during the Middle Ages. In Toledo marzipan is made by grinding equal weights of blanched almonds and sugar until the almond oil that is released turns the mixture into a smooth paste. This paste is modeled with traditional molds and baked in the oven until it browns on top. I will say that the Germans (I have relatives in Germany) also have popular varieties of marzipan, with the peculiarity that their marzipan always carries a tiny ratio of bitter almonds, unlike the common Spanish marzipan. I assure you that bitter almonds give it a very interesting twist.

This mousse caught my attention because it seemed a very different way to taste something so ubiquitous and familiar to Spaniards as marzipan.

For the mousse:

  • 400g milk
  • 500ml whipping cream
  • 250g marzipan
  • 8 sheets of gelatin
For the compote:
  • 100g dried apricots
  • 100g seedless raisins
  • Sweet wine, preferably Muscat
Marzipan mousse 2
  1. Soak the gelatin sheets in cold water as per the package instructions.
  2. Heat the milk to 50°C approx., cut marzipan into pieces and add to the milk. Beat well in a blender or electric mixer until completely dissolved. The mixture must be fine and without very noticeable chunks.
  3. Add the drained gelatin sheets to the mixture and stir well to dissolve. Leave to cool to about 30°C.
  4. When the warm milk and marzipan mixture is tempered, whip the cream to stiff peaks. Add the liquid to the whipped cream in four or five batches and mix gently each time, being careful not to deflate the cream too much.
  5. When everything is homogenized, pour the mousse into whatever molds you want to use. Pastry rings are great for these matters, especially if we want to make small portions, but it is also possible to use a rectangular loaf dish and cut the mousse into slices. The mousse can also be poured into a round mold to use it as a layer in a cake. To easily unmold the mousse first cool it in the refrigerator and then freeze it in the freezer, better overnight. I place the pastry rings on a baking paper placed on a tray. If you use another type of mold, it’s better to line it with plastic wrap to easily unmold the mousse.
  6. The compote-sauce is prepared by cooking the dried fruit covered with the wine. Cook until the fruits are softened and the wine has thickened to your taste and turned into a beautiful syrup. I cut the fruit in small pieces for a more homogeneous look. Let cool. You can make this several days before use, for it is better to leave it to rest so that the flavors mingle.
  7. The day you want to serve the mousse, take it out of the freezer at least 2 hours in advance and transfer it to the fridge. Serve it on a beautiful dish and then top with the compote. This mousse, besides being a different way of eating marzipan (not exactly lighter...), can take advantage of all the marzipan leftovers after the Christmas celebrations.
There you have a very elegant dessert made with most traditional ingredients... this is going to turn into a classic at my household, I am sure. I hope you enjoy it in the upcoming Christmas.

22 comentarios: December 8, 2010 at 7:40 PM  

I love the contrast of white mousse and the colors of the compote! excellent!!! :D

Torviewtoronto December 8, 2010 at 7:55 PM  

this looks beautiful and festive
Miriam happy holidays

Belinda @zomppa December 8, 2010 at 9:50 PM  

Whoa - gorgeous! It's like a little bit of snow!

Cristina - TeenieCakes December 8, 2010 at 11:26 PM  

Miriam - you create, make and photograph the most beautiful looking food - truly works of art. There is something about marzipan that intimidates me...I must give it a try.

Absolutely lovely with the topped dried fruit soaked in wine.

Vicki Wilde December 9, 2010 at 3:29 AM  

Your pictures are lovely! They make the mousses look so delicious (they sound delicious too).

Asha @ FSK December 9, 2010 at 4:46 AM  

OMG!! what a fabulous idea!!! Marzipan mousse!!! I love love the photos..

Cherine December 9, 2010 at 2:00 PM  

this looks gorgeous!! The mousse looks delicious!

Valerie Harrison (bellini) December 9, 2010 at 2:45 PM  

This is a new twist I'd love to present over the holidays.

Mari Nuñez December 9, 2010 at 2:45 PM  

Miriam, this looks so divinely delicious. I could taste it just by looking at the photos. I agree of doing it with a sugarless compote, it makes a perfect compliment to the sweetness of the mousse.

Have a great afternoon.

AnjasFood4Thought December 9, 2010 at 5:42 PM  

This looks absolutely delicious. Recipe is bookmarked. Thanks for sharing.

briarrose December 9, 2010 at 7:26 PM  

What a beautiful treat. Wonderful job.

Gio December 10, 2010 at 5:53 PM  

wonderful idea for my Xmas table! thanks :)

Alina December 12, 2010 at 11:21 PM  

I have to say I never knew Spain was the largest producer of marzipan!! Your mousse sounds very interesting. And you know what's funny, I always thought compote of dried fruit was such a dull dessert, because it was a common Soviet dessert - but I never thought it could be made with wine!! I must try this. Did you make the candied oranges yourself? They look beautiful.

Aldy December 13, 2010 at 7:23 AM  

Absolutely BEAUTIFUL!!! Love the combination.

Te aha quedado precioso!



Tasty Trix December 13, 2010 at 8:05 PM  

I don't think I've ever had marzipan like this - yours looks so fluffy and appealing. And I really like your compote. (Also thank you for all of your comments about Pete - it really does mean a lot.)

Gio December 14, 2010 at 7:59 AM  

the marzipan mousse is fantastic and the decoration too!
very sylish for Christmas :)

MC December 16, 2010 at 2:55 PM  

What an intriguing and beautiful dessert! I love the photos too.

fromBAtoParis December 16, 2010 at 9:25 PM  

Hola Miriam,

nunca probé una mousse de deja intrigada, pero debe estar riquisima!! las fotos estan sensacionales, y te pido disculpas por haber estado "ausente" pero el "gran" concurso me tomo mucho tiempo...empiezo a ponerme al dia !!
Un beso y muchisimas gracias por todo tu apoyo!!

Nisrine | Dinners and Dreams December 16, 2010 at 10:36 PM  

Miriam, the colorful compote is such a great match to the marzipan mousse. It reminds me of a blancmange I made not too long ago with almond extract. I bet the marzipan version is even better. I was in Spain last summer on my way to Morocco. It's such a pretty country. You're lucky for living there. Enjoy!

Miriam December 17, 2010 at 11:40 AM  

EG: thanks!
Torview: happy holidays to you too!
Belinda: looks so smooth... yes.
Cristina: you should try this, it's so easy and softly flavored.
WitK: thanks!
Asha: thank you!
Cherine: it's indeed very eye-catching.
Val: ;)
Mari: thanks!
Anja: hope you try it!
Briarrose: thanks!
Gio: ;)
Alina: the candied citrus are limequats in fact, I've kept in the fridge in a box for months already, and they're still so aromatic you wouldn't believe it...
ADG: besos!
Trix: ;)
Gio: thanks!
MC: thank you!
Cristina: no te preocupes! Te diré que yo me apunté al principio, pero enseguida vi que me iba a ser imposible dedicarle el tiempo necesario, así que me borré. Besos y te apoyo porque te lo mereces.
Nisrine: thank you!

Florence A. December 18, 2010 at 5:45 PM  

That dessert certainly is worth the try, maybe with almond milk and cream for us who can't eat cow's milk. Your pictures are beautiful. Merry Christmas to come!

Jonny December 21, 2010 at 8:32 PM  

To this Englishman, marzipan brings back painful memories of a thick, bright yellow layer inside the hard white icing of my mother's Christmas cakes. So tangy with imitation almond extract and the filling so boozy with cheap whisky that I could neither put in my mouth nor anywhere near my nose or eyes, and hence I've been scared off marzipan ever since. That this looks not only elegant but subtly flavored with authentic Spanish almendras rather than nostril-hair singeing extract, and topped with a Yuletide-appropriate fruit and spice compote, is encouraging me to rethink marzipan. Bravo (as always)!


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