Baked marcipan from Balthasar Staindl

Today’s translation is as per the request of a friend

1. xvii. Take grated or ground almonds that are very fine , and when it is pounded, take fragrant rosewater , that makes it white. Add as much sugar as there is of almonds.

Take wafers and lay them on a sheet of paper. According to how large you want the marcipan to be. Take the wafers and moisten them at the edges, then lay another wafer on it and they will stick together. Otherwise, a single wafer is too small for a large marcipan. Then take a ring, be it wooden or iron, that is as tall as a finger is across and lay it on the wafers stuck together. Cut it all around according to the ring, that way it becomes a nice even disc. But before you cut it off, put the almonds into the ring, as tall as the ring is, smooth it nicely on top. Then pull up the ring and strew coriander and baked (i.e. sugarcoated) anise on the marcipan.

Take it, slide it onto a lid that belongs to a baking dish (Pastetenpfannen), and slide it off the paper. Bake it inside the baking dish until it turns nicely hard on top. Then take the lid off the pan and slide it out gently onto a clean board. Serve it cold as a dish or in the evening with a goodnight drink (schlafftrunck).

Item dedicated pans are made for marcipans. These must not be as tall as the baking dishes (Pastetenpfannen), a tinker or coppersmith must make them. But iof you cannot get one of these pans, you may take any other kind of pan, lay out a griddle pattern (gatter) in it with small pieces of wood, and place the marcipan on top of that. Then set the pan high so it does not rest directly on the embers and place a cover on it with embers on it. Some also use a wafer to cover the marcipan on top as well, but it seems better to me if it is bare on top and strewn with confits. But then you must see that it does not burn.

Baked marzipan is found in a number of recipe collections, in a wide variety of versions. Some are made from nuts other than almonds or include egg white-based sugar frosting or elaborate moulds. This comparatively straightforward recipe is from the Kuenstlich und Nuetzlich Kochbuch by Balthasar Staindl, a successful cookbook that first appeared in 1544. It is interesting for the way spices are used as a decoration, much like modern sugar sprinkles are, and the description of the baking process and the dedicated marzipan pan. Its larger cousin, the turtenpfann or pastetenpfann, was common in German kitchens at the time. It was used for baking cakes and pastries, with heat provided by coals heaped on the lid as is done with Dutch ovens. A description of that process is found in the Kuchenmaistrey and I hope to get to it before the new year.

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