Pastry Chefs Master the Art of Marzipan Recipes

by Sonja Albrecht
CulinaryEd Columnist
May 19, 2011

The U.S. Immigration Department classifies "marzipan maker" and "marzipan molder" in its database of occupational titles. Not the typical pastry chef job title, perhaps, but marzipan artistry is making its mark on American patisserie.

What Makes a Marzipan Master?
Marzipan confectionery has long been serious business in Europe. As American tastes become more upscale, marzipan is becoming a dessert staple here too. Edible figurines deck wedding cakes, delicate fruits line candy shelves, and tubes of marzipan are available in many supermarkets.

Marzipan's key ingredients are sugar, almond, eggs, and rose water. The paste has the consistency of clay and the smooth texture of porcelain. The pastry chef's job is to sculpt, paint, and glaze the marzipan into a work of edible art. For Joe Busalacchi of San Diego's Cafe Zucchero, marzipan molding indulges his creative flair: "When I make marzipan [figures], I try to make them all a little different. People ask me, 'Why is that one different?' Hey, fruit isn't all the same. You've got to give it its own look."

How to Become a Marzipan Pastry Chef
Marzipan originated in the harems of the Middle East; a luxury good, the confection made its way to Europe in the Middle Ages via the exotic trade circuit. Today, the city of Luebeck, Germany is widely recognized as the source of the finest marzipan. Not coincidentally, its pastry schools offer expert training in marzipan modeling, including roses, figures, fruit, and seasonal specialties.

Closer to home, marzipan and chocolate modeling courses are a standard part of the U.S. pastry chef school curriculum. If you fancy yourself a sculptor, artist, and chef, a pastry chef career might be a perfect fit. The job outlook is strong, with pastry chef jobs projected to increase up to 35 percent over the next fifteen years. As in many creative fields, however, pastry chef careers are popular and it is important to differentiate yourself from the crowd. Pastry chef school and a strong internship offer the best entre into a professional pastry chef career. What's more, with a pastry chef degree you'll be well on your way to mastering the art of marzipan.

Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Marzipan Modeling Certificate

About the Author

Sonja Albrecht works as a writer and editor for an online media company. She has also taught college writing and completed a Ph.D. in English.
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