Once you have made your own marzipan, you will never go back to shop-bought! Lighter in texture and appearance than the mass produced stuff, it will keep for a week in the fridge, wrapped in cling film. If you are using it for your Christmas cake, allow it to dry for at least 24 hours before you cover it in fondant/royal icing; allowing the excess moisture to evaporate will ensure that it remains edible for 1-2 months.
The recipe below should be enough to ice one 20cm Christmas cake, but we love it stuffed into dates, as a lining for mince pies, dotted through a boozy bread and butter pudding, and even scattered through apple crumble topping!
250 g ground almonds
150 g caster sugar
150 g icing sugar, sifted
1 tsp. almond essence
1 tbsp brandy, optional
Sieve the icing sugar into a large bowl, then stir in the caster sugar and almonds. Crack the egg into the centre of the mix, and sprinkle over the brandy and almond essence. Now using a palette knife, stir to combine then turn out onto a board dusted with icing sugar. Knead into a smooth paste (taking care not to over-knead, as with over-handling excess oil may seep out of the ground almonds and make the marzipan greasy). Pop it in the freezer ahead of time if you are prepping for an organised Christmas!