If you live in a German speaking country, you probably know all about marzipan pigs. We have this tradition here, to give away those cute little almond delights on New Year’s Day. It is meant for good fortune, a good luck charm – which is also edible! In the German language “Schwein gehabt” (having a pig) means being lucky. I look forward to these little sugary pigs every year. But store bought ones can be quite expensive and often don’t taste as good, so this year I decided to make them myself. This also means: I have a marzipan pig tutorial for you!!
marzipan (almond paste)
food coloring (Buy here*)
cookie cutter (optional)
Important: Take care to buy high quality marzipan paste! The higher the percentage of almonds, the better. If you cant find any, you can make it yourself very easily! Go online to look for recipies.
The marzipan paste is very sticky and not easy to work with. To get real marzipan, you have to add powdered sugar to it. A LOT of powdered sugar.
Tip: Use a kitchen strainer to remove all the lumps from your powdered sugar.
It can be a bit tricky to work the marzipan with a rolling pin. It works best if you put the marzipan paste between two layers of sturdy baking paper and dust it with powdered sugar. Otherwise it will just stick to the rolling pin and the kitchen counter. Dust the marzipan paste generously with powdered sugar, roll it out and fold it again. Repeat those steps until you have added enough sugar to the marzipan paste. You can also knead the marzipan paste with your hands. Knead until all is blended nicely.
How much powdered sugar do I need?
That depends entirely on the marzipan paste. Add moderate amounts of powdered sugar until the marzipan becomes moldable and stops beeing overly sticky.
Add red food coloring (buy here*) to your marzipan. I used liquid food coloring, but you can also use a powdered one or colored sugar paste. You never know beforehand how the color payoff will turn out. The red I used was very intense. It is best to use just a few drops at first and add more later if necessary.
Mix the food coloring with the marzipan until there are no more visible streaks. I strongly recommend wearing gloves. Both for hygiene reasons and also because the food coloring can stain your skin.
Add some more food coloring to a small portion of your marzipan. You will need the brighter pink marzipan to add little details like the nose and ears of your piggy.
Roll out the hot pink marzipan and cut out small disks for the noses. I used the middle part of a cookie cutter for that. (You know.. one that makes cookies with little holes in the middle.) If you don’t have a cookie cutter like that, you can just use a knife. .
Marzipan Pig Tutorial
Those are all the little parts you will need to build your marzipan piggy! The biggest part for the body should be the size of a ping pong ball. Two small balls for the feet, a thin strand for the tail, a round disc for the nose and two drop-like shapes for the ears. Use the darker dyed marzipan for the nose and ears parts.
Tip: If you are making a bunch of marzipan piggys, you should use kitchen skales to measure the weight of the bigger balls. If they have approximately the same weight, the piggys will be the same size in the end.
Flatten the two smaller balls a little and place the bigger ball on top of them. The feet should protrude the piggy’s body in the front. Place the disc for the nose about halfway up on the front. The marzipan should stick together on its own. If it doesn’t stick, try to moisten it with a very small amount of water.
The ears are the only tricky part. Press them on gently on the top of the piggy in an upward direction and then fold the top part down. This will create the look of floppy ears.
Look at your piggy and check if you are satisfied with the position of the added parts. The ears should point to the front and a little to the sides. There should be enough space between the nose and the ears to add the eyes later. At this point you can always remove the parts and add them again.
Press the end of the tail to the back of the piggy.
Twirl the loose end of the tail and press it gently to the body to get the typical corkscrew tail.
Make little indentations for the eyes. I used a round chopstick for that. Press the smaller end of the chopstick sidways into the marzipan to get a kind of elongated, rounded shape.
Use the tip of a toothpick for the nostrils.
Use the same toothpick to shape the mouth. Press it gently sideways into the marzipan.
Now it’s time to make the eyes! You can use white chocolate or sugar paste. I tried both and opted for the sugar paste in the end, because it dries so much quicker. I made the paste myself just by adding a little squeeze of lemon juice to the powdered sugar. The sugar paste should be more on the solid side. If it is too runny, it will not keep its shape. I filled the sugar paste into a disposable pastry bag and applied it directly onto the marzipan.
Melt a little bit of dark chocolate for the pupils. You onle need a very small amount. Add some coconut oil to the chocolate if it is too solid. Use the tip of a toothpick to paint the pupils on the eyes. And you are done! 🙂
I couldn’t resist and made a whole bunch of little marzipan piggys. They are just so adorable! I made lucky four-leaf clovers for them to sit on and used sugar paste as “glue”. If you want to make some four-leaf clovers, you can find the tutorial here >>
I hope you have a great and happy New Year! 🙂
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