Gluten free marzipan fruits make wonderful Christmas treats, either for yourself or friends and family.
As a celiac, or someone with a food intolerance, you may feel like you are sat on the sidelines while other people enjoy the 'good stuff'. Not fun! Not fair! Not nice! And definitely not a definition of Christmas!
I have put together a special section of this site full of recipes and ideas for a gluten free christmas as I don't know about you, but I don't like going without!
So let's put on those aprons, move your laptop to the kitchen, and start with these delightful little marzipan fruits.
You will find our marzipan recipe on the Almond Flour page of this site. It is easy to make and the quantities given will be enough to create a whole fruit basket!
In addition to the marzipan (or almond paste as it is also known), you will need the following decoration tools...
Divide the marzipan into as many pieces as colors required.
Add a drop of coloring to each piece and knead until evenly colored. If the color isn't dark enough, add a little more...if it goes darker than you intended you can use icing (confectioners) sugar, to 'soak up' or lessen the color.
There are two ways in which you can make these, depending on the type of food coloring you have available (liquid or powder) and how artistic you are.
Use either red or green colored marzipan and roll a small piece into a ball. Take a clove and insert at the top, head down, to resemble the stalk.
If you would like to try something a little more advanced, that looks more like a Braeburn apple, then choose a natural (yellow) marzipan, then roll and stalk as above. Next, take a paint brush and using the color of choice, carefully add patches of color where required. You may also like to indent the bottom of the apple slightly.
Although these appear to be the easiest marzipan fruits to make, it can be difficult to make them look convincing!
You can either add yellow coloring to the marizpan or use it 'natural'. Roll and bend to be 'banana shaped', gently with your fingers then manipulate the marzipan to reflect the edges of the banana.
Load your paint brush with either black or brown coloring and run it along an edge of the banana. Turn and repeat along all the 'ridges'. If you don't have a paint brush you can achieve a similar effect by using a cocktail stick. Don't cover the whole of the ridge, just parts of it, otherwise it may look too heavy and artificial.
To finish, dip the top and bottom into the coloring and allow it to spread slightly to give a natural look.
Here the difficulty is in achieving the right colored marzipan.
If you remember back to your school days, to mix orange you use red and yellow. So we will use the natural color of the marzipan as the yellow part and add a tiny touch of red coloring to it.
If you find the color is to red, then you can add a little yellow, but try not to add too much or the marzipan won't be firm enough to shape properly.
Once you have a nice orange color, roll into balls.
Use a clove, head up this time, to represent the center of your orange.
Lastly we need to create the dimpled texture. I find rolling it on a textured paper towel or clean piece of fabric gives a good effect. You could also use a new piece of coarse sandpaper, rolling the ball very gently over it.
Use either natural or yellow colored marzipan for these. Roll into oval shaped balls and pinch the ends into points. Roll on sandpaper or fabric to create the pimples. You can use a clove, head up, to create the stalk end.
A chance to be creative again! Two options here. Either use natural marizpan rolled into a ball, with painted 'patches' on one side.
Or mix some of your orange colored marzipan, left from above, and some natural colored. Just a tiny bit of each, sticking to roughly 2/3rd of the natural, and shape into a ball with one side of each color. It is easier than it sounds, I promise!
To finish, push against a ruler or palette knife edge to create an indentation.
You can create individual grapes, and group them into a bunch or cheat! The cheat's way is to use a paper sweet case (like muffin cases but smaller) and build the bunch inside of it. This way the bottom grapes don't have to be perfect.
Roll either purple or green colored marzipan into tiny oval shaped balls. You can push a clove into the end to make a hole where they were attached to the vine. Position into a small bunch with the heads all facing the same direction.
If you have mastered the techniques above you might want to let your imagination run wild and try others food items.
Maybe red strawberries with tiny sesame seeds pushed lightly into them and green marzipan leaves.
Raspberries made of minute balls pushed into a slightly bigger ball, leaving a space where the stem would be.
Slices of watermelon, by wrapping a red ball inside green marzipan and then slicing it. Again you can use sesame seeds to make them look more realistic.
You could even make a little basket to put your marzipan fruit inside!
If you are feeling really creative, why not make some marizpan santas or Christmas trees? Or for Easter create some decorated eggs, or even the Easter bunny himself?
If you can bear to part with your creations display them in little boxes and give away as gifts, including of course your celiac friends.