Dried Fruits with Marzipan (Fruits déguisés) Recipe

Fruits Déguisés

And what are fruits déguisés you ask? Most people would tell you that they are a traditional Christmas confection, in which dried fruits (dates and prunes mostly) have their pit replaced with a piece of brightly colored pâte d’amande (almond paste).

To me however, fruits déguisés are much more than that : they are one of my earliest culinary joys. When I was five, my kindergarten teacher had us make some as a gift for our parents. For the record, that teacher’s name was Marguerite and I didn’t like her because she felt the need to comment on my thumb sucking, but I digress. I don’t remember making the fruits déguisés, but I remember going home and sharing them with my family, and most of all I remember how immensely proud I was when my mother asked me to show her and my sister how to make them.

We bought the supplies, and I glowingly explained how you slit the fruit open carefully, remove the pit, roll a little bit of marzipan between your palms, insert it in place of the pit, and close the fruit on it, leaving it slightly open to show the beautiful dash of color. I emphasized, as the teacher had, how important it is to handle the knife with caution, to make even-sized marzipan pits of alternate colors, and to retribute yourself with the occasional piece of marzipan, in whichever color you like best.

I decided to make fruits déguisés again very recently, and this time improvised on the basic recipe a little : I used figs in addition to prunes and dates, and stuffed them with almond paste, but also hazelnuts, almonds, chocolate squares and little chunks of almond cookie. I then packaged them up, throwing in a few candied kumquats, and gave them as pretty little gifts to my cooking class students.

  • Lucky students! How very cute! I may make these, as I don’t like dried fruits or marzipan very much, so I won’t be tempted to eat the gifts I’ve made for others!

  • Jane

    Just came upon your Chocolate Cake from October. Would really like to try it, but am not sure whether to use unsweetened chocolate or semi-sweet. With all that sugar would feel less guilty using the unsweetened, but don’t want to spoil the effect just to be a bit more healthy!

  • Amy

    Ohhh…you’re a cooking class teacher!!

  • Elizabeth Sychlovy

    There is a great confection made in Poland (my country of origin) consisting of a marzipan and rum paste suffed prunes dipped in chocolate.
    Couldn’s get to the web-site for canneles you gave me.Is there a way you could e-mail the shortened version to my address.
    Anyway – here’s the recipe for ‘gooslings’.
    the measurements and weights are in grams since I had brought it from Poland.
    200 g all purpose flour,
    150 g unsalted butter slightly softened
    2 hard boiled egg yolks (large eggs)
    40 g groud almonds (nut grinder is better than a food processor)
    40 g granulated sugar,
    1/2 and 1/4 tsp almond extract
    120g powdered sugar for dusting hot
    cookies and rolling them in sugar when slightly cooled.
    Mix all ingredients an once in the food processor or by a pastry cutter and finish by hand to form a uniform ball.
    Wrap in foil and refrigerate for 1 – 2 hours.
    Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Farenheit.
    Prepare 2 heavy baking sheets – line with silicone liner or parchment.
    Form tiny crescents about 1 1/2″ in length so that the center is thick and ‘bulky’ and the ends are thin and delicate. Bake till golden yellow in the center of the oven – do not overbake.
    7 – 10 min should be plenty.
    Cool on the baking sheet for 3 min. Sprinkle generously with the powdered sugar. After 10 min. roll gently in the remaining sugar on dust all sides of the cookies again. The cookies keep (in theory only) for a week in a tightly closed metal tin lined with parchment.

  • Lovely post! I too remember my first cooking achievements–making butter in pre-school and icing graham crackers in kindergarten. I was tremendously proud. What a strong impression those early experiences have on us!


  • Jackie – Good thinking! I tend to make food gifts that I do like, just so I can package one up for myself… :)

    Jane – I use dark chocolate (60% cocoa), I think you would call it semi-sweet? It’s true that there is quite a lot of sugar, so it might work with unsweetened as well… Or maybe sub half of the chocolate with unsweetened? Let me know how it turns out if you experiment a bit!

    Amy – Yes, I gave a “Cooking in Montmartre” class to four students : we embarked on an afternoon of food shopping, cooking and eating, it was a lot of fun.

    Elizabeth – Thanks for the recipe, it’s very intriguing! As for the canelé recipe, I have emailed you the link if you still can’t click on this url ( http://smallurl.com/?i=9220 ).

    Amy – Wow, making butter in pre-school? Doesn’t it involve an awful lot of whisking?

  • David

    I remember making butter in grade 1. Instead of churning or whisking the cream was just poured into a quart sealer and each kid in the class took turns shaking the jar until we had a lump of butter————–quite the little miracle we thought. Then we each had a bit on a saltine cracker.

  • David – What a sweet story! Love the bit about the saltine cracker! :)

  • I would love to know if you plan to hold any more cooking classes in the future…I’ll be in Paris until at least next January.

  • Jessica – For the moment, they’re organized on an on-demand basis. Let’s talk about it via email if you’d like!

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