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Foods -- Nuts and Seeds

What is almond paste?

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Almond paste is a combination of ground almonds, sugar and some almond extract. It is used in pastries, candies and cakes. Marzipan uses almond paste as its base. In addition to almond paste, marzipan contains powdered sugar, egg white and additional liquid to make it pliable enough to shape into fruit of other shapes. Marzipan may be colored to impart the typical color of fruit shapes. The origin of marzipan is ancient and obscure. It possibly originated in Rome or an Arabic country. It was popular among the Elizabethan English who called it "St. Mark's Pain," after the French "pain" for bread, which later turned into "marchpane" and finally into "marzipan."

PREPARED BY: Angela M. Fraser, Ph.D., Associate Professor/Food Safety Specialist, and Carolyn J. Lackey, Ph.D., R.D., L.D.N., Professor/Food and Nutrition Specialist, North Carolina State University (August 2004)

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