Almond Paste and Marzipan both are quite significant in the procedure of baking. But it can perplex a common man that both Almond Paste and Marzipan are made up of one major ingredient- almond but are still intrinsically different. Almond Paste and Marzipan differ in almost every parameter right from texture to flavor.
Almond Paste vs Marzipan
The main difference between Almond Paste and Marzipan is that Almond Paste, texture-wise is coarse and rough and tastes slightly less sweet, whereas Marzipan is smooth texture-wise and tastes sweeter than Almond Paste. Almond Paste is generally used while baking, while Marzipan is often used as a layer to cover the sweets.
Almond Paste is usually composed of sugar and almonds in equal quantities with cream, eggs, cooking oil. It has a tremendous amount of uses but is majorly used as a filling while baking cakes, cookies, and pastries. The quantity of almonds in Almond Paste is double the quantity found in any other paste.
On the other hand, Marzipan consists of almonds, sugar honey, etc. Marzipan also has some great uses but it is majorly used in the preparation of chocolates and sweets owing to its sweeter flavor. It is also used as the icing in cakes. Owing to its smooth texture it can be modified into different shapes and can be presented as New Year’s Treats.
Comparison Table Between Almond Paste and Marzipan
|Parameters of Comparison||Almond Paste||Marzipan|
|Ingredients||Sugar, Almond Meal/ Ground Almonds, Heavy Cream, Cooking Oil||Almond Meal/ Ground Almonds, Honey, Sugar|
|Texture||Coarse, Slightly Rough||Smooth|
|Flavor||Less sweet||Comparatively sweeter|
|Almond Content||High||Comparatively Low|
|Uses||Filling in pastries and pies||Decorations, Icing, Confections (Fondant)|
What is Almond Paste?
As mentioned above, Almond Paste is a type of filling used in pastries primarily made up of sugar, ground almonds, cooking oil, cream, etc. It has a coarse texture and is slightly less sweet than other pastes owing to its high amount of almond content. Sometimes to enhance its taste almond extract is added. Apart from filling it is also modified into readymade candies and chocolates.
Almond Paste usually serves as a baking ingredient owing to its holding up nature and can be prepared at home too as the ingredients are too basic and easily available.
Commercially Almond Paste is manufactured by adding peach kernels, thus reducing the expense of production. Almond Paste has tremendous uses globally, the popular American Bear Claw pastry has almond paste as a vital ingredient.
As Almond Paste is slightly sweeter than the rest of the fillings, it is only added to those pastries that demand excess sugar. Globally, Almond Paste is now used by almost every country and it is quite popular in Denmark, France, Netherlands, etc. Some countries have included Almond Paste in their cultural/ traditional cuisines.
Bitter Almond Paste is also useful in preparing Amaretti Cookies. Commercially, Almond Paste is available in tubes, bags, cans, etc.
What is Marzipan?
Aforementioned, Marzipan is made up of Sugar, Honey, Ground Almonds, etc., and is soft, smooth, and is sweeter in flavor. It is usually used as a filling or decorative confection like fondant. It can also be modified into chocolates or New Year’s Treats. It has comparatively less almond content than other almond pastes. As it is smooth it is often rolled into thin soft rolls/ sheets to decorate birthday cakes.
Owing to its texture and flavor, Marzipan is ready to eat dessert, thus not used while baking and is used in decoration. As it is solid it can be cut into different shapes in any size and can be even sold as chocolates as it is sweet by nature and can be dyed into different colors too.
Traditionally, Marzipan is used to prepare Swedish Princess Cake, King’s Cake during the Carnival Season. Marzipan has a long history which probably originated in the Middle East but now is popular globally and also included in some traditional deserts around the globe, for instance, the traditional Christmas Desert of Spain, Marzipan Pigs in Denmark, etc.
Marzipan has many variations, some countries/ cultures modified Marzipan into their version by adding a local touch or by adding one or two different ingredients, for example, Persipan- almonds are replaced by peach kernels, Spanish Marzipan- No bitter almonds and many other versions.
Marzipan is sold in cans, tubs, etc., but can be prepared at home too as the ingredients as well as procedure is quite accessible and handy.
Main Differences Between Almond Paste and Marzipan
- Almond Paste is made up of ground almonds, cooking oil, sugar, heavy cream, etc., whereas Marzipan is made up of honey, sugar, ground almonds, etc.
- Almond Paste has more almond content, while Marzipan has comparatively less almond content.
- Almond Paste has less sweet content, in contrast, Marzipan is comparatively sweeter by nature.
- Almond Paste is rough and coarse, on the other hand, Marzipan is smooth and soft in texture.
- Almond Paste is used as a filling in pies and pastries, whereas Marzipan is used as a decorative confection or a ready-to-eat dessert.
From the above-mentioned points, it is evident that though Almond Paste and Marzipan contain almost the same ingredients, they are fundamentally different. Many desert recipes tend to mention that Almond Paste and Marzipan are interchangeable, but in reality, they are not. Both have their own uses and cannot be interchanged with each other, as they differ in flavor.
In some rare cases, Marzipan can be used instead of Almond Paste but with caution as it is sweeter than Almond Paste. Marzipan can be prepared from Almond Paste by altering the amount of sugar and modifying the texture, but it cannot be reversed as there is no way to reduce the amount of sugar added. Nevertheless, both Almond Paste and Marzipan are vital in almost every desert globally and are some of the most used dessert ingredients.