I think my “cake-popping” is nearly coming to an end. The more pops I make, the more it reminds me of my aunt’s marzipans. I’m talking about the Vietnamese style marzipans. I think most people know marzipan as a combination of almond paste and some sort of sugar. For me, the marzipan I know is a sugary mung bean paste. I have always seen it prepared as miniature fruits. They are usually covered with a thin layer of gelatin, and decorated beautifully with realistic details.
When I was little, I used to “leeched” onto my aunt for hours and watched her bake. She rarely made these little guys because the process took way too much time. She also told me that they were expensive to make. I never questioned why they were expensive until recently. It could not make any sense why they were expensive since they were made from very inexpensive mung bean, which is very common in a lot of Vietnamese dishes. It was probably the intensive labor that cost. From my fond memories, I can remember that I didn’t see these miniature fruits everyday at the market. If we were “blessed” and “rewarded” with these marzipans by our parents, we would have gotten like… three of them. We got to choose from the variety of fruits such as hot pepper, mango, star fruit, eggplant, and many more. Anyways, they were all the same flavor. They were so precious that everyone had their own ways of eating them. My aunt’s son would peeled the gelatin layer like he peeled a piece of real fruit, and ate the “peel” before he finished the sweet mung bean paste inside. I thought that was interesting, but I also thought my technique was better and that it was the best! I would sat and looked first… Then, I would very slowly take a tiny bite, one by one. The sweet and soft bean paste blended in with the light and cool gelatin. Both fused in together and made a perfect harmony in my mouth. Sometimes, I would copy my cousin and tore off a little piece of the thin gelatin. I noticed the color of the decoration had seeped onto the surface of the bean paste sculpture… I wondered if they dipped these in colored gelatin, or did they paint them afterward?
Ok, back to the present… Cake pops have been “popping” up everywhere lately. I absolutely love them. I think they’re adorable! But comparing to the marzipans, especially my aunt’s, the cake pops have come nowhere near the flavor as well as the look. The cake pops can blame it on all the fond memories I had as a child, you don’t come with the special memories, cake pops! Anyways, for my taste, cake pops are overly sweetened with icing and candy coating. My favorite flavor of all is chocolate, because the bitterness in the chocolate kind of helps in killing the sweetness. As for the look, I have seen creative ideas such as bowling pins and balls, baby bottles, flowers, and even Angry Birds, but I still give more stars for the delicacy of the marzipans. I’m waiting to see if someone would give the cake pop a twist and achieve a good balance in taste. Or perhaps, someone should try to put the marzipan on a stick and make it a perfect example of globalization.
The “cake-popping” will still go on, but my next and ultimate goal awaits me with beaming light, marzipans!
This link is for Thai Marzipans, Luk Chup…I think it is exactly the same with the Viet Marzipans.