Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Homemade Lucky Marzipan Pigs for the New Year

The tradition is believed to come from the idea that families who had a pig to eat over the winter time were considered to be lucky. A saying often heard in Germany is "ich habe Schwein gehabt," meaning, "I have had pig", which means "I've been lucky." 

When perusing European food shops between Christmas and New Year's Day, these little pigs are everywhere in many shapes and styles. I love this German and Austrian tradition of giving out marzipan pigs or Glücksschwein, as a gesture of good luck for a New Year's tradition. Glücksschwein are a lovely surprise to give out to guests at a New Year's party or to coworkers.

There are several methods to make them. You can use a single sided mold, a double sided mold for a 3D pig or just sculpt the marzipan with your hands like I did here. 

To economize your time even further, you can purchase ready made marzipan but I like to make my own, starting with making homemade almond paste.

I used disco dust to embellish these but most people prefer them plain, I can't help myself. I need to end the year with sparkle.

2014 has brought a lot of changes to my life. New jobs, new friends, new opportunities. All of them good. I am so thankful. 

Wishing you all a guten rutsch, as the Germans say, which means a good slide into the New Year!
Homemade Lucky Marzipan Pigs
Prep Time: 20 minutes 
Cook Time: 1 minutes 
Yield: 10 pieces

3/4 cup *blanched ground almonds
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon rosewater
1 tablespoon egg white
Light corn syrup and extra powdered sugar to adjust consistency if needed Pink food coloring
Black food coloring

If you are using almond flour, skip the next two steps.
  • *To blanch raw almonds, boil them in water for one minute, rinse immediately in a colander with cold water and squeeze the skins off with your fingers. They will slip off easily. 
  • Pulse the blanched almonds and a tablespoon of powdered sugar in a food processor until they are completely pulverized. The powdered sugar will prevent the almonds from becoming a paste. 
  • Add the powdered sugar to the food processor and pulse until the almond meal and powdered sugar are combined. I like to take out the blade and use a whisk to break up any lumps that have formed and then replace the blade and pulse a few more times. 
  • Add the pure almond extract and the rosewater and pulse until combined. Add the egg white and pulse until the mixture becomes smooth. 
  • Remove the mixture from the processor and knead in the pink color. If the mixture is too wet and sticky, sprinkle powdered sugar over the mixture a bit at a time to knead it in and make the marzipan stiffer. If the mixture is too dry, knead in a few drops of the light corn syrup. 
  • When the mixture is the right consistency and color, use plastic molds to form the pigs or sculpt them by hand. 
  • I used a tooth pick dipped in black food coloring to make the eyes and accentuate the nostrils on the snouts. 

1 comment:

  1. What a terrific tradition... but how can you eat those darling little piggies? Although, I'm sure they taste delightful. Thanks for sharing all your wonderful recipes this year... and wishing you many pigs in 2015!!


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