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
sifted powdered sugar
honey (linden used here)
pumpkin jam (or use honey, if you do not have)
cloves for stems, as per AppleAnnie's innovation
natural food coloring, red, yellow, blue and brown
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.
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.
Next using toothpicks score some lines into the pumpkin and stem to simulate details.
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.
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.