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Festive Fruit from Marzipan

“It’s magical, to take a lump of beige paste and turn it into something beautiful,” says marzipan maker Kim Jurado (below right). Jurado and her partner, Gail Watson, own Bella Dulce (in Spanish, “beautiful sweet”), located in Watson’s Manhattan loft, where they craft almond candy oranges, figs, lemons, cherries, pears, and other fruits. Jurado, who is half Mexican and half Swedish, learned to make marzipan from her mother, who “came here from Sweden with her almond grinder.”

Fine Cooking Issue 24
Photos: Mark Ferri
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These candy fruits taste as good as they look. Jurado and Watson use the best almond paste they can find, with the highest proportion of almonds to sugar. (Some marzipan makers add extra sugar to preserve the candy and make it chewy.)

“We find ourselves arguing about the exact color of a plum,” say Watson (left) and Jurado, “but we both agree that the almond flavor of the marzipan should be really rich and fragrant.”

Base coloring for a fruit is kneaded into the almond paste, and simple tools are used for the not-sosimple art of making the fruits look amazingly lifelike.
Each piece is shaped individually to achieve a natural-looking form. You’ll see no flat edge or seam as you do with mass-produced marzipan that’s pressed into molds.

Jurado rolls citrus on the fine side of a box grater. Each piece of marzipan captures a fruit’s natural features—the cheek of a peach, the dimples of citrus peel.

A cherry’s blush is brushed right on. Jurado doesn’t air-brush liquid dye as some marzipan makers do, but uses a fine-bristled paint brush instead. Finely ground vegetable powder gives the most even, natural color.


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