Sicilian Sweets with Intense Colors: Martorana Fruits

frutta martorana

Walking through the streets of the Sicilian towns can only be magically attracted by the Sicilian colors and today my attention falls on the Martorana Fruit.

The Martorana fruit are desserts made with marzipan and take the form of different types of fruit that are typical of Sicily. Their colors are so intense and true they adorn the windows of many Sicilian confectioneries.

Sicilian Sweets with Intense Colors: Martorana Fruits

Living in your native country is very different from visiting your native country. When you live in your country you wouldn’t notice all the beautiful and special things surrounding it because you are so used to your environment, but when you leave your country and you live in another country or place for a while, and you come back, you start to notice all the intricate and wonderful things that you never thought were anything special when you lived there. I revisited some places that were indifferent to me in the past, but then when arriving I discovered that I was captivated from the bricks of the houses to the flowers on the windowsill.

Every corner of my culture was illuminated tenfold, is something indescribable.

Sicilian Sweets with Intense Colors: Martorana Fruits

Staying hours under the sun (don’t worry I had my SPF), being cradled by the waves of the crystalline sea, or admiring the intense colors of the sunset; everything was  breathtaking.

Sicilian Sweets with Intense Colors: Martorana Fruits

I also visited small villages which were distinctive for the beauty of their landscape  but also for the goods they produced, such as ceramics that are painted vividly with the colors of Sicily.

Sicilian Sweets with Intense Colors: Martorana Fruits

Walking through the historic center of Palermo, with its monuments and historic buildings, you can perceive the intense history of emotions that this land has hosted, sometimes suffered and handed down over time.

Sicilian Sweets with Intense Colors: Martorana Fruits

 Palermo is also famous for its historical markets: Ballaro`, Vucciria, and Capo, which are a chaos of sounds, smells, flavors, colors and sensations. 

And the Martorana Fruit precisely represents the colors and emotions of these markets. Although the color and the markets seem chaotic, each “fruit” is positioned in its own place, which is sorted out by color.

Sicilian Sweets with Intense Colors: Martorana Fruits

The Martorana fruit took its name from the Church of Santa Maria dell’Ammiraglio, (known as the Martorana) in Palermo.

In 1193, the noblewoman Eloisia Martorana had a Benedictine monastery built next to the church. As the story expresses that the garden and the vegetable garden of the convent were among the most beautiful in the city. The nuns were proud of their garden and its beautiful fruits.

Their pride, in a matter of time, reached the bishop’s ear, which he peaked in interest in and wanted to go personally see.

The visit, however, was made in autumn, for the feast of All Saints, so the trees were already devoid of any fruit. The nuns, then, decided to create fake fruits with marzipan to decorate the trees and embellish the garden.

Sicilian Sweets with Intense Colors: Martorana Fruits

The ingredients of the Martorana Fruit are the classics of Sicilian pastry: almond flour, sugar, glucose, durum wheat flour, and various aromas.

The method consists in making a syrup made out of water and sugar brought to a temperature of 110 ° C (230° F) to which then is added the almond flour with aromas such as cinnamon, vanilla, lemon, or orange extract .. The dough is left to rest for about 16 -20 hours and then is molded with molds or you can freehand it. When the dough is dry enough, it goes to the final phase which involves the coloration and polishing. For the coloring it is possible to use food colors, while for the glossy finishing it is necessary to use a desiccated shellac or Arabic gum, in order to give the small fruits a nice shiny and uniform appearance.


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