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Marzipan

A paste of ground almonds and sugar. The German type is made by combining the ingredients and cooking them (that from Lübek being the most famous); the French type is made by adding almonds to boiled sugar syrup. Marzipan is sold in block form for use in baking or sold made into varying miniature shapes of fruit, animals or vegetables. It is also used as a tart filling, to stuff dates and sweetmeats, or can be rolled out into thin sheets to decorate and cover fruit cakes and cassata. Though marzipan is often said to have been named after the Latin marci panis (Mark’s bread), it is more likely to have come from the Middle East, where it was originally made from sugar, ground almonds and rose–water. It was regarded as a choice delicacy and sometimes covered with gold leaf. For a long time only apothecaries were allowed to produce and sell marzipan and it was not until the eighteenth century that confectioners took over its production.