Marzipan Vegetables: Pumpkin

October  9, 2010
4 Ratings
  • Serves 8-10
Author Notes

Oh gosh! I wish I had the whole week to play with these. I make small marzipan candies using a host of recipes, some even from potatoes! My joy is painting them with natural food coloring where I blend my own colors. Usually I am doing portraits in miniature of actual fruits and vegetables. Sometimes I use these on chocolate frosted cakes to create my mini gardens. But I have to drive to Queens this weekend to hang a show of my abstract miniature landscape paintings for an opening later at a Thai cafe there! Still, I just had to make the time to create a series of mini pumpkins for this theme. For a very fun children's party, have each child make one. Kids are very good at molding these, especially if they are to carve jack-o-lanterns using toothpicks! It is easy to have work stations set up with toothpicks, paint brushes and food colors, which are all water soluble for easy clean up. It is then very quick to paint these for a take home treat. - Sagegreen —Sagegreen

Test Kitchen Notes

Such fun! I had a great time making these delightful marzipan pumpkins. Attempts at sculpted, painted realism gave way to a more stylized version suitable for my skill level. I rolled marble-sized pieces of marzipan dough into balls in my hands, dipped the balls into a saucer of food coloring and then rolled them around in my hands again until they were sufficiently orange. Pushing a clove into the top for the stem shaped the ball into more of a pumpkin form. To mix orange from the India Tree natural food colors, I needed mostly yellow with one drop of red and a micro drop of blue. For Jack-o-lanterns I painted faces with melted chocolate, and alternately, pressed in tiny triangles of dried pear or candy corn. This recipe is terrific for all ages. - Apple Annie —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 7 ounces marzipan paste
  • 7 ounces sifted powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey (linden used here)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin jam (or use honey, if you do not have)
  • 10-20 cloves for stems, as per AppleAnnie's innovation
  • natural food coloring, red, yellow, blue and brown
  • tooth picks and small brushes
  1. Work the honey with jam (if you have that flavor) into the marzipan paste. Otherwise you can use all honey. Roll this in a bowl of the powdered sugar to incorporate the sugar into the dough. When the dough is no longer sticky, it is ready to begin molding. You may still have powdered sugar left, which you can use in another batch or in frosting.
  2. With your very clean hands mold the dough into pumpkin shapes. Look at real pumpkins when you do this, so you capture some actual realistic irregularities. I create the stem from a small piece of dough that I then add to the body.
  3. Next using toothpicks score some lines into the pumpkin and stem to simulate details.
  4. Set up some saucers to work with a palette of colors from your natural food coloring. Have some plain water ready to modulate the hues. Using small brushes ( I have a set reserved just for food) paint the surface of your pumpkins with your colors. Mix in some shades for added realism: There are some greens in the stem. Notice there are browns and olives alive in the pumpkin orange. I sometimes use a little honey diluted in water to also dip my brushes in mixing color for tiny bite size candies. This is a crude kind of flavored varnish, in a way.
  5. Serve these to your guests when dry. You can package these as party favors in small boxes with some broken shredded wheat underneath, top chocolate frosted pumpkin cupcakes with them, or just serve them upon fresh grape (or mint) leaves on their own. You can use cloves for the stems if you like.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • edamame2003
  • Sally
  • Amelia EME
    Amelia EME
  • AppleAnnie
  • Bevi

63 Reviews

Threemealsaday November 16, 2010
A lot of beautiful effort went into this very sweet food art. If not for dessert, then why not use as individual place setting decorations.
Sagegreen November 16, 2010
What a lovely idea! I hope to make a set to bring along to an opening of a group show in NYC this weekend with all different fruits and vegetables.
Sagegreen November 18, 2010
I just uploaded some photos of the marzipan pears I made; these would work really well with placecard idea for dinner. You could sit them upon pear leaves with the names written on the leaves themselves.
TheWimpyVegetarian November 18, 2010
I love these pears!!! I'm having a holiday party in another month and love the idea of having one of these at each place setting. Maybe of pomegranates to represent abundance.
Sagegreen November 18, 2010
Pomegranates would be lovely. I did use dried cloves for the stems with the pears.
Sagegreen November 19, 2010
My latest renditions include a pomegranate and a golden apple. I find if I do not look at actual fruit, I can't get the shapes and details right.
Sagegreen November 19, 2010
And when you do invert cloves head first into the marzipan, it infuses a burst of spice!
edamame2003 November 7, 2010
Wow. Really beautiful...and yummy, I bet!
Sagegreen November 16, 2010
Sally November 6, 2010
I used to make a lot of marzipan "fruits" and had forgotten about them until now. I love your use of natural dyes and honey. A plate of these would be lovely at the Thanksgiving table and if you had time to spare, I guess you could make pears and apples and other Thanksgiving-y fruits and veggies. Thanks for this.
Sagegreen November 6, 2010
Thanks. What is so nice about these, is that you can make them ahead. I love making them very tiny, so they are the perfect little bite.
Amelia E. November 4, 2010
This was such a unique way to cook with pumpkins. I recently experimented with left over pumpkins from my family's Halloween and came up with some fun, if not adventurous, recipes. Hope you check them out and we can continue to exchange ideas with this beautiful vegetable.

Sagegreen November 4, 2010
Thanks, Amelia. Especially love your pumpkin fondue and mousse! Great site you have.
AppleAnnie October 27, 2010
I LOVED making these also! I posted a photo of my little pumpkin patch (photo 7), using whole cloves as the stems. I have given most of them away by now, everyone says they are delicious, but I don't have the heart to eat these darling little creations.
AppleAnnie October 27, 2010
oops, mine is photo 5, it didn't go to the end as I assumed it would.
Sagegreen October 28, 2010
Thanks, AppleAnnie. What a brilliant innovation you offer with the cloves! I still have many of my little darlings, too. I love making them small, because I think they are more delicious that way...but I, too, develop a sort of reverence in admiring them....which makes eating them all the harder! I eat one occasionally, though. Love your photo.
JoanG October 28, 2010
AppleAnnie, your mini pumpkins are just darling. It sounds like you had a great time tsting this recipe! What fun.
Bevi October 12, 2010
We love marzipan in our household; in fact, my son gives his dad a box of marzipan every Xmas. This inspires me to include a marzipan session as part of our holiday festivities.

Thanks, Sagegreen!
Sagegreen October 12, 2010
Thanks, Bevi. It is so much fun to make and eat!
JoanG October 12, 2010
Absolutely adorable! Great confection and winning taste as well!
Sagegreen October 12, 2010
Thanks, JoanG!
SallyCan October 11, 2010
These are charming! What kind of natural food coloring do you use?
Sagegreen October 12, 2010
For these I used some I bought at Whole Foods. But I also experiment with my own coloring from sugar beets and berries. Then the foods have a shorter shelf life though.
Constrained C. October 11, 2010
Having grown up in Belgium, the mention of potato marzipan reminds me of my childhood. I hope you will also share that recipe one day! I love your little pumpkins. They are so gorgeous and look so fun to make!
Sagegreen October 12, 2010
Thanks. I wish this weren't such a busy week at work!
mrslarkin October 11, 2010
Sconegirl made these this afternoon and they are so cute! They came out great. She made four big ones - I do hope she shares!
Sagegreen October 12, 2010
Wonderful. I am so glad this worked out! I love your pears: Mine would not have compared to yours.
wanderash October 11, 2010
wow! these are so impressive! i love the jack-o-lantern carving idea!
Sagegreen October 12, 2010
Thanks. The jack-o-lantern idea is perfect for Halloween. But I also love the idea of miniaturizing the giant pumpkin in the patch!
nannydeb October 11, 2010
These are so cute and you are so talented!
Sagegreen October 12, 2010
Thanks, nannydeb!
drbabs October 11, 2010
Lovely. Where is your art being shown? I live on Long Island and would love to se it.
Sagegreen October 12, 2010
Thanks. It is in Jackson Heights. I will send you the info. Later in November-Dec I have more work opening at the Viridian Gallery in Chelsea in a group show!
Constrained C. October 10, 2010
Having lived in Belgium when I was younger, your mention of potato marzipan brought me back to my childhood. I hope you'll share that recipe one day! Your pumpkin marzipan are so beautiful! I love that this is an artistic, yet tasty treat. Thanks for sharing!
Sagegreen October 12, 2010
Thanks! Maybe I will get to the potato recipe this week, but we shall see.
ellenl October 10, 2010
I am astounded at how very talented you are! I wish I had even a little bit of it.
Sagegreen October 12, 2010
Thank you. You should try these. They are easier than they may look!
adamnsvetcooking October 10, 2010
Wow! great job sculpting those pumpkins! these look great!
Sagegreen October 10, 2010
Thanks, adamsvetcooking. These are really both quick and easy to make, too! This is my favorite marzipan recipe for taste.
luvcookbooks October 9, 2010
gorgeous, i didn't realize you were an artist
Sagegreen October 10, 2010
Thanks, luvcookbooks. Yes, I have been showing my work the last few years and now have one public art sculpture installed!
gingerroot October 9, 2010
Sagegreen, these are fabulous. What beautiful little creations. I love them!
Sagegreen October 9, 2010
Thanks, gingerroot! I still eat them though even when I get attached to these little guys.
lapadia October 9, 2010
Excellent and Fun!
Sagegreen October 9, 2010
Thanks, lapadia. I have to get on to work now. These may be my only entry this week!
TheWimpyVegetarian October 9, 2010
These are absolutely amazing!!! YOU are amazing!!! I just love these little guys! GREAT ENTRY for both photos and recipe!
Sagegreen October 9, 2010
Thanks, ChezSuzanne. You can see how much I love to play with these!