Saturday, December 5, 2009

Pastillage Poinsettia 101

Pastillage, or more generically gum paste, is a mixture of powdered sugar, cornstarch, glucose, glycerine, water and gelatin. It is combined to form a "paste" resembling modeling clay and used to create edible flowers and foliage for adorning cakes.

The pastillage is white and can be tinted any color imaginable. Small quantities are mixed with food coloring, and then rolled out and cut by hand with a flower petal shaped template or specifically designed metal or plastic cutters.

Here, I have 3 steps to the modeling of flower petals for a poinsettia. (L to R) the tinted paste is rolled out, cut into the petal shape (at this point a small wire is attached to each individual petal or leaf and as I used "seconds" for the photos, these do not show the wires). The cut shape is rolled out again until it is almost paper thin. Next, I have spattered food coloring onto the petals, and lastly detailed color is applied in the form of dusting powders and powdered food color.

Here are 3 leaves in the final step of preparation.

To form a flower, the wires attached to the leaves are covered with florist's tape, and then one-by-one gathered together, from the center out - smallest to largest petals -- to form the flowers.

After the cake has been decorated, the flower is placed atop the cake. I sprinkled white gelatin flakes to add a frosted, ice-crystal appearance to the finished dessert.

In the box ready to go!

My neighbor, Gwen, who hosted last week's artist's cake decorating party, baked the cake, iced it with fondant, and painted the leaf motif on the frosting. I made the poinsettia. As I write this it is being delivered to her son Mile's school for their Holiday Festival Craft and Bake Fair. The cake is a collaborative donation from the two of us, and it will be auctioned off. Come back later and I'll let you know just how much this beauty sold for!

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