Marzipan Dove Wagashi

Total Time:
2 hr 40 min
2 hr 20 min
20 min

12 dove squares, depending on

  • 12 ounces store bought marzipan
  • Cornstarch, for dusting
  • 2 cups plus 3 tablespoons or 500 grams water
  • 2 1/3 cups or 500 grams sugar
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon or 38 grams powdered gelatin
  • 4 stalks lemon grass
  • Lemon Rice Shortbread, recipe follows
  • Lemon Rice Shortbread:
  • Scant 2 cups cake flour
  • 1/4 cup rice flour
  • Generous 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • Roll the marzipan into a long rope that is about 1/2-inch in diameter. Use a sharp paring knife to slice the rope into 1-inch long slices. Use your palms to roll the slice into an oval shape. Dip your fingers into cornstarch and pinch 1 end of the oval to mold the tail of the dove's body. Pinch the other end to make the head and beak. Use the back of the paring knife to score and fan the tail section. Push the tail up toward the body to give the sculpture a little more flair.

  • To make the wings: Place a small piece of marzipan into a zip-lock plastic bag. Use a rolling pin to roll the marzipan into a 3-inch diameter circle that is about 1/8-inch thick. Remove the rolled marzipan from the plastic bag and place on the work surface. Use the paring knife to cut oval shapes that are pointed on each end. Cut 2 pieces for each bird. Adhere the wings to the body. The finished bird is about 1 to 1 1/2-inches long.

  • Jacques' tip: The marzipan can be colored by adding a few drops of food color. Work the color into the marzipan by folding it into itself.

  • Make the gelatin: Place the water and sugar in a saucepan. Use a rolling pin to bruise the lemon grass. Place the lemon grass in the water. Add the gelatin. Bring to a boil. Strain the mixture. Let the gelatin cool but not harden. Place the gelatin into an automatic funnel. It is easier to use a funnel than cup with pour spout because you can control the flow of the gelatin as you add it to the mold. Pour about 1/4-inch thick layer of gelatin into bottom of the mold. Let harden.

  • Place the marzipan doves on top of the gelatin layer. Use the automatic funnel to add more gelatin to the mold. Fill so the gelatin covers the backs of the birds but does not cover them completely. Place the gelatin in the refrigerator and let it set. When firm, remove from the refrigerator, fill the mold completely, and return to the refrigerator.

  • Unmold the gelatin. Use a chef's knife dipped in hot water to cut the gelatin into squares. Place the gelatin square on top of the Lemon Rice shortbread cookie. Serve immediately.

Lemon Rice Shortbread:
  • Place the butter, cake flour and rice flour in a medium-size mixing bowl. The rice flour will make the cookie crisper and more crumbly because it does not contain any gluten. Use an electric mixer set on medium speed to beat the mixture just until combined.

  • Add the salt, lemon zest and sugar, mix just to combine, add the eggs, mix until dough hold together. Remove the dough from the bowl and pat into a disk. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before using. This will give any gluten that may have developed a chance to relax. If you use the dough immediately after making it, it may be tough and elastic.

  • The dough will keep, well wrapped in plastic wrap in the refrigerator for 1 week or in the freezer for 1 month. Thaw the dough in the refrigerator until ready to use. If you want to store the dough already rolled into a tart pan, wrap it in plastic wrap.

  • Marzipan Dove Wagashi: When you are ready to use the dough, remove it from the refrigerator and give it 4 or 5 quick raps with a rolling pin. This softens the cold butter. Use a 2-inch plain cutter to cut the dough into cookies. Place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake in a preheated 375 degree F oven until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Allow the cookies to cool. If you place the gelatin squares on top of warm cookies, the gelatin will melt

  • Yield: 19 1/2 ounces of dough

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