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The traditional recipe for calissons d'Aix

Provence Web brings you the real recipe for calissons, a culinary treasure from the South of France. Made from marzipan, candied fruit and covered in icing, these sweets are a pure delight. To make your own calissons at home, discover our easy, authentic recipe, which brings out the flavour of almonds and candied melon. You'll love the soft texture and sweet taste of these little Provençal cakes.

What is the origin and history of calissons d'Aix?

Calissons d'Aix have their origins in a rich history and various legends. The first mention of these sweets, called ‘calisone’ in medieval Latin, dates back to 12th century Italy. This confection made from almonds and flour was similar to modern marzipan.

In the 15th century, the recipe evolved and made its appearance in south-east France, in Aix-en-Provence to be precise, at the wedding of King René d'Anjou. The king's cook, wishing to put a smile on the bride's face, created this sweet in the shape of a navette.

Over the centuries, the calisson d'Aix has become a symbol of Provençal gastronomy, appreciated for its delicate almond and candied melon paste, covered in a white icing. Today you'll find excellent calissons d'Aix at Le Roy René, the best on the market in our opinion.

Calisson d'Aix recette.

The real recipe and basic ingredients of calissons: how are they made?

To make real calissons d'Aix, you'll need several basic ingredients.

  • First of all, candied melon is an essential element that adds a unique, sweet flavour to the recipe.

  • You'll also need almond powder, which forms the basis of the calissons dough.

  • Icing sugar and egg white are the two ingredients needed to prepare the royal icing that covers the confectionery.

  • Candied orange peel is often used to intensify the fruity flavour of calissons.

  • Finally, don't forget orange blossom, which delicately perfumes the preparation, and unleavened marzipan, on which the marzipan rests.

These are the essential ingredients for preparing this Provençal speciality that we all love!

Calissons d'Aix traditionnelles.

Calissons marzipan: what is it made of?

Making the marzipan is a crucial step in making calissons. You'll need powdered almonds, icing sugar and orange blossom water. Start by putting these three ingredients in a saucepan. Cook over a low heat for about 8 minutes. It's essential to stir constantly to obtain a paste that doesn't stick to your fingers. Once you've reached a paste-like consistency, you can remove the mixture from the heat.

To perfect the texture of the dough, put it through the blender. This will produce a fine dough, which is the key to making calissons. Make sure the pastry is quite firm before moving on to the next stage.

Remember that you can prepare the marzipan either hot or cold. If you prepare it cold, simply mix all the ingredients together and reduce to a paste.

Icing sugar and egg white are the two ingredients needed to prepare the royal icing that covers the confectionery.

Candied orange peel is often used to intensify the fruity flavour of calissons.

Finally, don't forget orange blossom, which delicately perfumes the preparation, and unleavened marzipan, on which the marzipan rests.

These are the essential ingredients for preparing this Provençal speciality that we all love!

Which fruits go into making calissons: candied melon and apricot

Melon and apricot are essential in the traditional making of calissons. They are generally used in candied form, adding sweetness and fruity flavour to the marzipan.

  • Candied melon is a key ingredient, giving calissons their unique flavour. It must be finely ground and mixed with the marzipan to achieve a harmonious texture.

  • The apricot, although less present than the melon, lends a sweet and tangy note. It is also used in jams to enrich the flavour of calissons.

These two candied fruits contribute to the soft texture of the dough, offering a delicious and authentic taste experience. They also add a beautiful orange colour to the calissons, enhancing their visual appeal.

The role of the glaze in the calissons recipe

The glaze, or royal icing, is an essential component of calissons. It plays several roles, including protecting the confectionery. By forming a protective layer, it protects the confection from variations in temperature and humidity, preserving the quality of the marzipan and candied fruit.

Preparing the glaze is relatively simple. The main ingredients are egg white and icing sugar. The mixture must be beaten until it is smooth, light and almost liquid. Once ready, each calisson is dipped in the icing, then smoothed to remove any excess.

In addition to its protective function, the glaze gives the calissons their shiny, smooth appearance, which is characteristic of this confectionery. This immaculate white coating provides a visual contrast with the orange colour of the dough, making the calisson even more appetising. Finally, the glaze adds a hint of crunch that complements the soft texture of the marzipan and candied fruit.

Tips to make homemade calissons a success

Here are a few tips to make your homemade calissons a success:

  • Use a rolling pin to roll out the marzipan. The dough should be smooth and about 5mm thick.

  • To obtain the characteristic diamond shape, use a special cookie cutter. If you don't have one, a sharp knife will do.

  • Once the calissons have been formed, leave them to dry overnight before icing them. This will allow the glaze to adhere better.

  • To prepare the glaze, mix the egg white and icing sugar until you obtain a glossy texture.

  • Ice the calissons by dipping them one by one in the icing. Use a small spatula to remove any excess glaze and obtain a smooth surface.

  • To store your calissons, place them in an airtight box away from moisture.

  • To add a touch of acidity to your calissons, you can add lemon juice to the marzipan.

  • Finally, don't forget to clean your work surface before you start working with the dough. This will prevent any impurities from mixing with the dough.

Recette calisson de Provence.

Why is the diamond shape traditional?

The diamond shape of Aix calissons is no accident. It is deeply rooted in the history and tradition of this confectionery.

One of the most common stories associates this distinctive shape with the cradle of Jesus. This religious symbolism is thought to have been used by confectioners of the time to give their creations a deeper meaning.

The shape also has linguistic origins. The Occitan term ‘canissoun’ referred to the rhombus on which confectioners placed their cakes. The word ‘calisson’ could therefore be derived from this term.

It is also interesting to note that the diamond shape offers a number of practical advantages. It makes the calissons easier to handle and mould, while optimising space during packaging and transportation.

Variations on the traditional recipe

In addition to the traditional recipe, calissons can be adapted to suit individual tastes and preferences.

  • Changing the candied fruit: Some people choose to vary the candied fruit used. Candied orange and lemon, for example, can replace or complement melon, adding an extra touch of acidity.

  • Adding flavourings: Orange blossom water, vanilla or rum can be used to flavour the marzipan.

  • Changing the glaze : For a variation in colour and flavour, the royal icing can be replaced or added with a chocolate, coffee or raspberry icing.

  • Personalising the shape: Although the rhombus is the traditional shape of the calisson, some people prefer round, square or heart-shaped shapes.

These variations allow the calissons to be personalised while retaining their essence: a delicious confection made from almonds and candied fruit, covered in a fine glaze.

Discover the calissons of Aix-en-Provence through a culinary blog

Exploring a food blog offers an incredible opportunity to discover the calissons of Aix-en-Provence. It's a delicious journey into Provençal cuisine, combining a passion for sharing with a love of local ingredients.

A food blog is a rich and inspiring place to share detailed recipes, tips from chefs and personal anecdotes. By exploring the articles written by these enthusiasts, you can discover the subtleties of calissons, the key stages in making them and even family secrets handed down from generation to generation.

Everything is done to immerse the reader in a sensory universe: the textures, flavours, colours and aromas of the calissons are described with precision and poetry. Invaluable information is provided on :

  • The choice of ingredients: the quality of the almonds, the subtlety of the candied melon, the finesse of the royal icing, etc.

  • Preparation techniques: crushing the almonds, cooking the melon, making the glaze, etc.

  • Tasting tips: ideal temperature, pairing with other dishes, storage...

Thanks to these culinary blogs, calissons from Aix-en-Provence are no longer just a local speciality, but are now accessible to everyone, wherever they are in the world.

The nutritional benefits of calissons: a healthy dessert

Calissons are more than just a sweet treat. In fact, these little Provençal sweets are packed with nutritional benefits.

  • Almonds, a main ingredient in calissons, are rich in protein, fibre and monounsaturated fatty acids, which are good for the heart. They also contain vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant, and magnesium, necessary for healthy muscle and nerve function.

  • Candied melon and apricots, two other key ingredients, provide a dose of vitamins A and C, as well as fibre.

  • The sugar, although present in significant quantities, is offset by the nutritional richness of the other ingredients.

However, because of their sugar content, calissons should be eaten in moderation. They are an excellent option for a dessert or occasional indulgence, providing both gustatory pleasure and nutritional benefits.

How to store and enjoy calissons: our advice

To best preserve your calissons, choose a dry place, away from light and humidity. An airtight box is ideal for preserving their freshness and flavour for several months.

For optimum enjoyment, calissons should generally be eaten at room temperature. So leave them out of the fridge for a few moments before serving.

A little gourmet tip: enjoy your calisson with a cup of coffee or tea. These hot drinks bring out the flavours of the calisson and offer a pleasant contrast in temperature on the palate.

Inspiration for incorporating calissons into other recipes

Calissons d'Aix are not just eaten on their own, although that is how they are traditionally enjoyed. They can also be incorporated into other recipes, adding a uniquely Provençal and sweet touch.

  • In pastries: They can be used to make cakes, tarts, muffins or cookies. For example, try sprinkling pieces of calisson over a yoghurt cake to add a touch of originality.

  • In ice creams and sorbets: Incorporate pieces of calisson into a vanilla ice cream base for an extra gourmet touch. Or use them in a melon sorbet to enhance the flavour of this fruit.

  • As an accompaniment to cheese: Calissons go well with certain cheeses, such as chèvre frais or brie. They can be served alongside, or crumbled over the top for a sweet touch.

  • In drinks: Try infusing them in hot tea, or stirring them into a cocktail for a Provençal touch.

These ideas are just examples, so feel free to experiment according to your tastes and desires. Calissons are a versatile confectionery that can be adapted to many recipes.

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