15 Mar

Often, there are times I tend to obsess about something; a color, a texture, an architectural style, or time period, and my ability to turn it into food or confections. At present, I’m really into the flavor combination of citrus and almonds, and what better way to have these is with calisson – a treat with a ratio of ground almonds and candied fruits, top coated with royal icing, dating back to medieval times. Here’s a wiki link with some additional information- They’re like a really good, fruit-laced marzipan, with a hard candy top.

Again, faced with what I’ve got on hand, I found the following in the pantry-

Blanched Almond Slivers (you can use blanched almonds of any kind, or if you have almond meal on hand, even better)

Candied Fruit (generally this is citron, lemon, orange, melon, I had a bucket of mixed candied fruit that contained everything, including cherries from fruitcake baking this past year)

Powdered Sugar


To make approximately 24 candies, you’ll need;

125g Candied Fruit

175g Almonds, Blanched

125g Powdered Sugar

Plastic Wrap

Pie Pan or Similar

Cookie Cutter, Knife or Ring Mold

Lined Sheet Pan

Food Processor


For the Top Coat/Water Icing

125g Powdered Sugar

25ml Water (3/4ounce)

7g Corn Syrup

Vanilla Extract, a few drops

Heat Proof Bowl

Water Bath, Spoon



For the candy: *Please see notes.

Line a pie pan or bread pan with plastic wrap and set aside. For the quantity shown, I used a 4x9x3 bread pan.

1)Place candied fruit into a food processor and grind into a fine paste, stopping a few times to make sure there are no major chunks. Remove and set aside in a bowl.

2)Place almonds into the food processor and grind into a fine paste, or “butter”, stop and check a few times during the grinding to make sure there are no large chunks.

3)Add the ground fruit paste to the almonds, and add the powdered sugar. Pulse/process a few times to mix all. At this point, the mixture can be removed to a bowl and finished by hand, working the dough into a smooth homogenous paste.

4)Place the paste into the lined pan, and pat down evenly with your fingers, into the corners and allow this to rest at room temperature for about 90 minutes.

5)After the paste has had some time to sit and think about what its done, remove from the plastic wrap, and carefully cut diamonds, or cut circles out, using the edge of the cutter to make “almond shapes” (you can get two almond shaped calisson from one circle cut). The remaining scraps can be re-pressed into plastic wrap, allowed to rest for a bit, and re-cut.

Once these have been cut, allow to sit out while you make the Water Icing (below). They are better and easier to coat the following day, as they will be more firm, but you can rush these if needed.


Water Icing

Mix all ingredients for water icing in a heat proof bowl until smooth. When ready, place over a water bath and heat to 100F, while stirring, but do not go over. Dip each candy on the top only, and place onto a lined sheet pan to set up.


Chefs Notes: I went “rustic” with my batch. Traditionally these little gut-bombs are suppose to be smooth as satin, and pale in color. With the ingredients I was faced with, there are going to be some colors showing through because of the candied fruits, and the texture of the almonds is a little more coarse than expected.

Traditionally, there is also an edible rice paper, on both sides of the candy, prior to dipping. This assists in holding the shape of the finished confection together, as they tend to be delicate.




One Response to “Calisson”

  1. Lynne Viera March 15, 2013 at 7:03 pm #

    wonderful. thank you for bringing back my memories of peering into pastry shop windows in aix-en-provence. can’t wait to try the recipe.

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