Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Family Heirlooms: Watermelon Marzipans





The summer is almost gone and I realize that I did not have a single slice of watermelon this year. A grave mistake, which needs to be corrected immediately.

I grab the shopping bag -- you do use shopping bags in an attempt to reduce waste don't you -- and head to the supermarket. On my way to the supermarket, another realization occurs. I did not have my grandma’s watermelon marzipans in a looooooooong time. Thirty five minutes and thirty five bucks later, I am on my way home with all the valuable watermelon content. Being able to kill two watermelons with one stone, priceless!






Watermelon Marzipan

* 200 grams (7 oz) whole raw blanched almonds
* 250 grams (9 oz) raw walnut halves
* 450 grams (16 oz) confectioners sugar (plus some more for dusting)
* 3 tbsp lemon juice
* 2 medium egg whites (or 6 tbsp of pasteurized egg whites)
* red and green food color


1. In a food processor, grind the almonds into a fine meal. Transfer the almond meal into a large bowl. Stir in 200 grams (7 oz) of confectioners sugar, one egg white (about 3 tbsp of pasteurized egg whites), lemon juice and a couple of drops of red food color. Coat your hands in powdered sugar and knead the marzipan until it is very smooth.

2. Divide the marzipan into 8 equal parts and form 8 smooth balls. Place the balls in the freezer for about 2-3 hours, or until very firm.

3. In a food processor, grind the walnuts into a fine meal. Transfer the walnut meal into a large bowl. Stir in 250 grams (9 oz) of confectioners sugar, one egg white (about 3 tbsp of pasteurized egg whites) and a couple of drops of green food color. (Do not add any lemon juice, that’s for the almond part only.) Coat your hands in powdered sugar and knead the marzipan until it is very smooth.

 


4. Remove the red marzipan balls from the freezer. Divide the green marzipan paste into 8 equal parts and form 8 smooth balls.

5. Take one green ball at a time, and press it until it forms a patty large enough to wrap the red ball completely. Place the red ball in the center of the patty, wrap the patty around it and work it with your hands (or roll it on the work surface), until it becomes a very smooth ball. Voila, you have your first watermelon! Now that you are an expert, do the same with the remaining seven pieces.

6. When all the watermelons are done, dust them with the powder sugar generously and press the sugar into the watermelons.

7. Wrap the watermelons with aluminum foil or plastic wrap tightly. (I am not a big fan of either aluminum or plastic, but your options are limited here. I tend to prefer the foil, since the smell of the plastic wrap annoys the hell out of me.). Leave the wrapped watermelons in the refrigerator for one day.

8. An hour before serving, take the watermelons from the fridge, cut each ball into eight to ten slices, and serve.


Makes about 70 "watermelon" slices


A note on walnuts: Over the years, I worked with all kinds of walnuts. If your walnuts are super fresh, they will be very very oily, and most likely, the green paste will be releasing a lot of oil while you work on it. Just bear with it, and keep a paper napkin on your side to wipe it out occasionally.

A note on cutting:
Make sure you are using a very sharp and thin knife (I like to use a carving knife for the job). I also sometimes put the watermelons into the freezer briefly, just like you would do with carpaccio, it helps quite a bit with cutting.

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