A recipe for Gluten Free, Nut Free Marzipan with the taste, texture and flexibility of the ‘normal’ nut version. Made with pumpkin seeds and tiger nut flour. Gluten Free, Nut Free, corn free, dairy free, optional vegan. (Plus – optional recipe using pine nuts for those who can tolerate them).
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Why we need a Nut Free Marzipan Recipe that is also Gluten Free
I’m excited to be sharing my Gluten Free Nut Free Marzipan Recipe. It’s been a while in the making. But it’s something that gets frequently requested by readers and followers, so it felt an important thing to create.
Although we are a gluten free family due to Coeliac Disease (Celiac), we are not actually nut free ourselves. But we LOVE marzipan. And it is an ingredient that is often used in my recipes at Gluten Free Alchemist… Which means it felt important to make it accessible to others too.
But it also placed me in a helpful position of knowing EXACTLY what nut free marzipan needed to taste like and feel like when eating it. Starting from the position of my homemade Easy 4 Ingredient Marzipan (made with almonds), my Nut Free Gluten Free Marzipan needed to be as close as possible to the real deal. No compromise on texture. No compromise on flavour. And I’m happy with what I’ve achieved. I just hope you love it too.
The problem with standard Nut Free Marzipan Recipes
There are in fact, lots of recipes for Nut Free Marzipan on the internet. But as far as I can see, they all opt to use a combination of semolina, with either polenta or custard powder mixed alongside. And therein lies the problem. Semolina is wheat-based and thus contains gluten… Unsafe for Coeliacs and gluten-avoiders, even if it is safe for nut allergy sufferers.
The recipe shared here is both gluten free AND nut free. Win win!
Creating the RIGHT Texture and Flavour for Gluten Free, Nut Free Marzipan
Like I said… When creating my own gluten free nut free marzipan, it needed to be as close to almond marzipan as possible. To help you understand why I ended up with the recipes below, it may help to have a sense of the ingredient testing that took place…
An alternative to semolina?
In line with other nut free marzipan recipes, it was only right to see if it was possible to sub the semolina. A combination of polenta, custard powder, various ground dried fruits, other grain flours, etc. were all tried and tested. They all went in the bin.
I have no idea what the semolina version tastes like, but all the options tested as alternatives were powdery, ‘pappy’ or grainy and none came anywhere close to the texture of nut-based marzipan.
What about apricot kernels?
If you have ever researched alternatives to almonds for marzipan, you may have come across recipes for something called ‘Persipan’. Persipan is in fact, already a gluten free nut free marzipan alternative, made from the kernels of apricots (a cousin of the almond). Thus, using apricot kernels seemed another logical ingredient, apart from one crucial issue…
Apricot kernels contain a compound that converts to cyanide (a poison). Indeed… Food Safety authorities (including the EFSA) advise eating no more than 1 to 2 small kernels a day… And this clearly doesn’t stretch to binge eating a stash of marzipan chocolates or a few slices of Simnel Cake.
Even the ‘Organic, Vegan and Fairtrade’ edible apricot kernels I found, came with a consumption warning!
Persipan (although nye on impossible to source), apparently uses apricot kernels that have been ‘treated’ to remove the cyanide. However, it’s honestly not something I’d trust in the quantities required…
No Nut Marzipan using other seeds and ‘nuts’
Ultimately, I decided to head down the route of replicating the texture of ground almonds using other seeds and ‘nuts’. This was mainly because I thought they would replicate the nuttiness of almonds and would have the natural oil content needed to bind a nut free marzipan. Without going into detail of the many permutations I tried, I tested the following, both individually and in various combinations…
- Tiger Nuts – Which are not actually nuts, but are in fact, edible tubers that grow underground. (Used in the final recipe)
- Sunflower Seeds – A good general dietary nut-free alternative to nuts. (Became pasty and tasted too strong. The colour was ‘dirty’).
- Hemp hearts – A seed with a rapidly growing following and plenty of great nutrition. (Too oily and when ground, became a paste with no mid-point).
- Pumpkin Seeds – Which I am reassured by my allergy-blogger friends are safe for nut allergy sufferers. (Used in the main version of the recipe)
- Pine Nuts – While pine nuts are noted as a significant allergen in some countries (classed as a tree nut), according to the Anaphylaxis Campaign (UK), they fall into ‘a different botanical category to tree nuts (such as walnuts, brazils and cashews)’ and researchers point out that the overwhelming majority of people with a nut allergy can tolerate pine nuts. (They were thus used in an alternative version of the recipe)
Flavour – Creating Nut Free Marzipan that tastes like almonds
Having worked out the best combinations and ratios to create a gluten free, nut free marzipan that replicated the texture of ground almonds, the next hurdle was to achieve the characteristic almond flavour…
What I discovered is that while almond extract uses almond oil direct from the nut, almond flavouring (also known as imitation almond extract) does not. Instead, its almond flavour comes from benzaldehyde. Benzaldehyde can be both synthetically produced or derived naturally from the pits of some stone fruits. Either way, it tastes remarkably like almond extract. It fooled hubby, who is perhaps the most passionate marzipan lover I know!
There are several imitation almond extracts on the market, which are confirmed as free from allergens… I used one that I sourced on Amazon from Preema (popular with the catering industry). But there is also an imitation extract from McCormick which has good flavour reviews.
The colour of marzipan
Lastly, there was a need to consider the colour of our nut free, gluten free marzipan. For me, this was the least important consideration of all. While the appearance of what we eat is always important to enjoyment, food should mainly focus on flavour and texture… Substance over style.
We already have various nut-based marzipans on the blog of all colours and shades… Green pistachio marzipan; orange orange marzipan; pink cherry-almond marzipan. So, I figured that as long as the colour of the nut free marzipan was not ‘dirty’ and unappetising, it would be fine.
Consequently, we have a green Nut Free Pumpkin Seed Marzipan and a more standard colour Pine Nut Marzipan.
What 5 ingredients are in my gluten free Nut Free Marzipan Recipe?
As with my standard almond marzipan, this Gluten Free, Nut Free Marzipan contains very few ingredients…
- Ground Raw Pumpkin Seeds (or ground Pine Nuts for the alternative recipe). I ground mine at home in my Vitamix Blender. But a good alternative blender like the PROMiXX MiiXR X7 should be fine.
- Tiger Nut Flour – Adding a carefully tested ratio of Tiger Nut flour made all the difference to texture. Pumpkin seeds alone were too gritty to mimic the delicate grind of almonds. I used the Strp’d brand which was confirmed free from all other allergens.
- Icing Sugar – also known as confectioner’s sugar or powdered sugar.
- Egg White – Preferably pasteurised egg white (from a carton).
- Imitation Almond Extract (Almond Flavouring) – Which doesn’t contain nuts (double check the labelling). Eg. Preema or McCormick brands. Be aware that it is stronger in flavour than many real almond extracts, so add drop by drop.
Sourcing Pumpkin Seeds and Pine Nuts with no ‘may contain’ warnings
As with all dietary health conditions and allergies, it is essential that ALL ingredients used are confirmed as free from nuts, gluten and any other ingredients of concern. Read labels to check for any ‘may contain’ warnings and hidden allergens. This is essential for the seeds, flour, and flavouring.
As already noted, the UK Strp’d brand of Tiger Nut flour is verified safe. The Pumpkin Seeds and Pine Nuts were less obvious. However, they are out there! And from my own searches, the following appear to be stated as safe on websites and packaging…
- Indigo Herbs – Organic Pumpkin Seeds
- Infinity Foods Organic Pumpkin Seeds (UK – available from Healthy Supplies and Amazon (more expensive from Amazon)
- Newtons No Nuts About Us – (based in Ontario)
- Gerbs (United States) – does both allergen-safe raw seeds and already ground Pumpkin Seed Meal!
As noted above, I have included an alternative recipe for Pine Nut Marzipan, which for some people will still be safe.
- Indigo Herbs – Organic Pine Nuts
- Infinity Foods Pine Nuts are free from gluten and peanuts, but have a warning for ‘other nuts’. It’s possible that they are labelled as such because pine nuts are themselves classed as ‘tree nuts’. But I haven’t contacted the company for further information or to see if they are otherwise safe.
In the USA, the following pine nut producer is stated pure.
Can I make Nut Free Marzipan that is Vegan as well as gluten free?
The Nut Free Marzipan recipe shared is made (like my standard marzipan) using egg white. If you are Vegan or egg-intolerant, then it should be possible to substitute the egg white for aqua faba. Either take the aqua faba from a drained can of chickpeas canned in water. Or use one of the commercial aqua faba brands now available in the supermarket, such as Oggs. Bear in mind that the consistency may vary slightly from egg white, so you will possibly need to add a little less than the amount of egg white stated.
How to make gluten free nut free Marzipan with Pumpkin Seeds
The process for making gluten free Nut Free Marzipan with either pumpkin seeds or pine nuts is really easy. It’s simply a case of grinding the seeds in a blender or food processor… and mixing with all the other ingredients.
But as always, a bit of what to look for helps. So, here’s my top tips for getting nut free marzipan perfect…
- Grind the seeds carefully. ‘Pulsing’ rather than continuous blending will give better control over when to stop. Stop when the seeds are ground to a fine ‘meal’. Less and they will have seedy lumps. More and they may turn to seed butter. Remove any larger bits left in the meal.
- Use fine ground Tiger Nut Flour. The balance of texture against the ground seeds helps to replicate the delicate texture of almond meal.
- If possible, use Pasteurised Egg White (from a carton). This is because egg white is otherwise raw.
- When adding the egg white, the mixture may seem very dry initially. Do NOT add more egg white than stated. Just keep working the mixture until it comes together as a paste/dough. Trust me on this.
- Add the almond flavouring a little at a time. Artificial ‘extract’ tastes stronger than most natural flavourings. Less is more to avoid the marzipan tasting artificially strong. Taste as you go.
- Once the mixture has come together, wrap in clingfilm and let it sit (refrigerated) for a few hours. This will help the dry ingredients to hydrate evenly and give your nut free marzipan a more even and easily workable texture.
- If using aqua faba instead of egg white, add a drop less than stated and work in well. If the mixture continues to feel dry after a good kneading, then (and only then) should you add more.
Ways to use gluten free, nut free Marzipan
So, there we have it. Nut Free Marzipan. But where can it be used?
Well here’s the deal… It can be used in exactly the same way as standard nut marzipan! Here’s a few ideas… There are a few photos scattered through this post of my tried and tested Gluten Free Nut Free Marzipan Chocolates. But it can also be used in the same way as standard marzipan… Just be sure to use nut free cake recipes!
- Simnel Cake or Simnel Traybake Cake (use a nut free cake recipe)
- Marzipan Hot Cross Buns
- Battenberg Cake (make sure the sponge you choose is nut free)
- Christmas Scones
- To cover a Christmas Cake
Made my Gluten Free Nut Free Marzipan?
If you make my Nut Free Marzipan, I’d love to hear how you got on. Leave a comment below. And please, do let me know of any safe sources you come across for either pumpkin seeds or pine nuts (wherever you are in the world).
And for all our other wonderful gluten free recipes (there’s literally hundreds of them), head over to our Gluten Free Recipe Index.
Gluten Free Nut Free Marzipan
- blender/food processor
- wooden or silicone spoon
- cling film
- 60 g raw shelled pumpkin seeds or pine nuts (ground into fine 'meal')
- 50 g fine tiger nut flour
- 75-80 g icing sugar confectioners/powdered sugar (or more if you prefer sweeter marzipan)
- 25 g egg white preferably pasteurised (or aqua faba for vegan version – See NOTES)
- 1 to 1¼ tsp artificial almond 'extract' (nut free almond flavouring)
- Grind the raw pumpkin seeds (or pine nuts) to a fine 'meal' using a blender or food processor (using the pulse button for best control). Be careful not to over-grind, or the seeds may become a paste.
- Gently shake any remaining large pieces of seed to the surface and remove.
- Transfer to a large mixing bowl and add the tiger nut flour. Mix
- Weigh the icing sugar and sieve into the bowl with the seeds and tiger nut flour. Stir together until even.
- Add the egg white and almond flavouring and mix together until even and well blended with the spoon. Do NOT add any extra egg white, even if the mixture seems dry. Keep mixing and it will eventually come together into a smooth, thick, even paste. (see notes if using aqua faba).
- Transfer the marzipan paste to a sheet of clingfilm and wrap tightly.
- Refrigerate for at least 2 hours to allow the mixture to hydrate evenly.
- When ready to create, remove from the fridge and use as you would normal marzipan.
© 2019-2022 Kate Dowse All Rights Reserved – Do not copy or re-publish this recipe or any part of this recipe on any other blog, on social media or in a publication without the express permission of Gluten Free Alchemist