Almond paste, due to the high cost of raw materials, was first prepared only during special occasions such as weddings and births. Today these biscuits, in their various forms and decorated with candied fruit, go beautifully with tea and are considered delicious desserts.
From the Arabs to us
As for its origin, it is very old and uncertain. It seems that it was the Arabs who began to prepare, in the 6th century, foods made from cane sugar, spices, and dried fruit, and mixing sugar and ground almonds, they gave birth to the first recipe for almond paste, which they then brought to Sicily. According to most sources, however, the true origin of this specialty dates back to 1100, in the Martorana convent of Palermo, annexed to the blind of Santa Maria dell’Ammiraglio. It is no coincidence that today one of the desserts made with almond paste, or royal paste, as it is called in Sicily, is Frutta Martorana.
DID YOU KNOW THAT...?
The martorana fruit, one of the many variations of almond paste, is called “morticeddi” in Calabria because it was prepared for the Festa dei Morti (the Festival of the Dead).
Almond paste, a real treasure
The “real” name attributed to the paste can be traced back to the fact that it was “worthy of a king” because of its goodness and the characteristics of the pastries that came from it. Today this delicious paste can be found mainly in two preparations: the martorana, the famous desserts depicting every type of fruit, and the Easter lambs, an ancient tradition.