To Make Callishones - Marzipan flavored with Coriander

Callishones dryiing on the stove top

I am working on putting together an Elizabethan Banqueting Course this week. I have candied fruits, roots and flowers, made comfits of anise seed, fennel, caraway and cinnamon and fruit paste of peaches, quince and berries. Today I started working on other items that you might have found laid out for the banqueting course.

What is the banqueting course? It is the culmination of a feast, and it usually consisted of an assortment of sweetmeats and other delicacies served with a spiced wine known as hypocras. Sugar and spices were very expensive to purchase. Sugar was thought to be medicinal. To close a meal with a banqueting course served a three-fold purpose. First, it was an indication of the host's wealth, secondly, it also was a display of status and lastly, it showed off the artistic skills of the lady of the house.
Now you know, I'm not artistic. I'm very good with molds and cutters!

To Make Callishones

Take halfe a pound of Marchpane paste, a thimble-full of coriander seeds beaten to a powder, with a graine of Muske, beat all to a perfect paste, print it and drie it.

John Murrell, A Daily Exercise for Ladies and Gentlewomen, 1621


10 ounces almond paste
1 1/2 tsp. ground coriander
up to 1/2 cup confectioner sugar
1 tsp. rosewater

This works best if the almond paste is cold, so I put mine in the refrigerator overnight. I grated it into a bowl and added 1/2 tsp. ground coriander to the grated paste. I then added the remainder of the coriander to the sugar, and put a small handful of it onto a piece of wax paper. I took 1/3 of my almond paste and pressed it on both sides into the sugar/coriander mixture. I rolled it out to approximately 1/4" thick and cut it out with cookie cutters. I got about 80 pieces of candy from this.

To finish, I mixed gold luster dust with ground coriander and painted the edges of the callishones with rosewater before running the edges through the coriander/luster dust mix, before setting it out to dry.

To make the almond paste I used a mix of equal parts almond flour to confectioner sugar and then add 1-2 tsp. almond extract, a tsp. of orange flower or rose-water plus an egg white. I know, I should be worried about salmonella, but these were super fresh eggs purchased at the market that morning.