This is a traditional Sicilian sweet made with almond meal. When my parents were kids, children in Sicily would get presents for “all souls day”. The dead people of the family were seen as “friendly ghosts” who would come back home on the night of “i morti” (“the dead”) to gift the new generations with sweets and toys. The most awaited present was martorana. Martorana are marzipan treats shaped like fruits that are still sold (and made) everywhere in Sicily. As a child, my grandfather would send me some martorana to Milan (where we could not find any) for “all souls day”, so we could keep the tradition alive. Nowadays, martorana is more easily available and you can find it all year round. The name “martorana“ comes from the Martorana Monastery whose nuns are believed to have invented the sweet. I thought of making some today as in Australia it is autumn and it has been raining for the last few days… perfect weather for autumn treats! Also, I wanted to make something creative for the Online Bake Sale for Japan. As you know, I will be a donor in the auction organised by Sabrina at The Tomato Tart which will take place on March 30th and martorana will be one of the treats I will donate for auctioning!
It is very easy and lots of fun to make… and kids love it as it is so colourful and creative. You can easily make it and let them paint the different shapes. In Sicily the traditional shapes are fruits, especially figs, watermelons, oranges, walnuts… Around Easter time you also find Easter lambs made of marzipan. You can really make anything: flowers, figures, shapes… or whatever you fancy.
I am sharing this post with the The Hearth and Soul Hop Hub.
250 gms almond meal
500 gms icing sugar
2 egg whites
1 tsp almond essence
Liquid food colouring
Moulds (optional) – I have made some with moulds and some by hand
Beat the egg whites until stiff with an electric mixer.
Put them in a pot with the almond meal and icing sugar. Cook them on very low flame stirring constantly till the mixture leaves the sides of the pot.
Then put it on a clean bench top. Let it cool down for a couple of minutes and as soon as it is cool enough (but not cold, or it will get too hard), knead it well into a smooth dough.
Press the marzipan into the moulds or shape them by hands to make whatever shape you like.
You can colour the different shapes with liquid food colouring and a paint brush.
REMEMBER: MANU’S MENU’S MARTORANA WILL BE AUCTIONED AT THE ONLINE BAKE SALE FOR JAPAN ON MARCH 30TH. ALL THE PROCEEDS WILL GO TO SECOND HARVEST FOR JAPAN:
UPDATE – These are the pictures of the actual shipping:
Food Frenzy says
That is very neat. They all turned out really good, but I like the watermelon the best. I am sure it was the easiest to make but the detail is fabulous.
Great job and thanks for sharing.
Thank You! 🙂
Oh my god! Those look so cuteee! The watermelon looks super fresh and beautiful 🙂
Thanks Tes! 🙂
Hester Casey - Alchemy says
How pretty are they! I love the tradition and background associated with these little marzipan figures. They should go down a storm at the auction!
Thanks! I really hope they’ll help raise some money! Fingers crossed! 🙂
[email protected]'s Easy Cooking says
How creative are you? Looks amazing and beautiful!
Thanks Sandra, I am flattered 🙂
Nuts about food says
You never cease to amaze me…those are beautiful. I never even knew special molds existed or that people made them at home. Great job!
Thanks Fiona! Glad you like them… especially since I am sure you know the original martorana! 😉
Eugene @ Food and Scent says
Manu, they’re so cute! This is such a good idea for the bake sale!
Thanks Eugene, as I said I really hope they can help raise some money for Japan!!!! 🙂
Oh I’m so glad you posted this! This makes me think of my favorite bakery that sells marzipan!
Such talent!!! Very cool~
Thanks Liz, glad you like it!
your marzipans look gorgeous. I remember having the best marzipans in my life in Sicily. 🙂 I made some for the first time in my life a couple of days ago, but just making some simple ones were too much work for me. I have no idea how you manage to make such beautiful ones. Thanks for sharing.
Thank You Visda! I have seen your marzipans and I thought they look lovely with the almonds slivers as stem!! Very creative! I especially love the green ones! Hugs! 🙂
They look amazing.. I have seen such things only on sale, I had no idea how to make it at home
I love learning about your culture and traditions. Thanks for sharing that and the recipe of course.
Have a happy day!
Thanks Mely! 🙂
These are adorable!
Alex at a moderate life says
Hi Manu! I would like to personally welcome you to the hearth and soul hop! I am now following you on twitter and facebook and I have added your name to the hearth and soul twitter list so that ALL your daily tweets are shared with the group on our hearth and soul hop daily twitter news paper so check your tweet feed for updates! Manu, you bring back such memories of my childhood! As a girl my grandparents would come to visit from England and they would always bring us Marzipan fruits and tiny animals and we thought they were such magic! To look so good and taste so delicious! You really did a wonderful job and I wish you good luck in the auction. It is a very nice thing you are doing! Thanks again for sharing this on the hearth and soul hop! All the best, Alex
Thank you so much Alex! I found you on Twitter too! 🙂 Great way to keep in touch! Thank you so much for adding me to the hearth and soul hop twitter list! 🙂 I am really glad you like the marzipan and even more that it brought back happy memories! 🙂 Keeping my fingers crossed for the auction!