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Friday, April 3, 2015

Culinary School - Session 93: Sugar Showpiece


Culinary School: Session 93 (04.01.15)

Sugar Showpiece



Sweet endings...

It's finally here: the Advanced Sugar Showpiece. Time to show what you got when it comes to all things Sugar.


To keep design opportunities as open as possible, the class agreed on "Seasons" as the very broad project theme. My piece is a Spring Bonsai Tree, a design choice that makes it possible to incorporate a wide range of techniques in a very colorful piece.

Pulled Sugar Petals and Dragonfly


The stem of the piece is made of Straw Sugar, a Blown Sugar technique that takes on the appearance of gnarled wood. Working with such a large batch of Blown Sugar was more of a challenge than expected, and it resulted in the worst sugar burn I have ever suffered (how many times can the same blister refill?).

The petals of the tree are formed from a multicolored Pulled Sugar Ribbon, a technique that is extremely time consuming. First, the multi-colored Sugar Ribbon must be formed from individual strands of Pulled Sugar, and then each individual petal must be pulled from that strip. Given the quantity of petals that are needed for this piece, the Sugar Ribbon needed to be made in batches so that it remained pliable.

The final major component of the piece is a Dragonfly that will sit on top of the Bonsai Tree (I had originally thought of making a Hummingbird, but time constrains made that extra-complicated design choice infeasible). The Dragonfly is made from blue Pulled Sugar with yellow Pulled Sugar wings. Trailing from where the Dragonfly sits, small yellow flower petals wrap around the Tree.

We shall see if it all comes together in the end. There's still a lot of time left for it all to shatter into a million little pieces!

Aside from the risk of breakage, there is also a strong possibility that the delicate Pulled Sugar petals could dissolve into sticky pools, particularly if the weather is humid. Here's hoping that the kitchen stays dry until next week. Otherwise, it will be a mad dash to re-pull approximately 100 little petals on assembly day.



- Ingredients Running Tally -




Ingredients used to date (04.01.15):
  • Flour: 24,535g
  • Eggs: 16,000g (320x)
  • Sugar: 31,695g
  • Butter: 16,065g
  • Milk/Cream: 16,845g
  • Chocolate: 9,000g (since 01.12.15)



    - The Showpiece -



    Item:

    The Advanced Sugar Showpiece


    Each student is responsible for creating a showpiece based on an agreed to class theme ("Seasons"). All construction must be performed during class sessions; however, design, template making and mold fabrication is permitted outside of class hours.

    Requirements:

    1. A detailed, color diagram
    2. Project itinerary
    3. The Showpiece must rest on a base made of Sugar measuring no larger than 8" in diameter
    4. The Showpiece must be between 18" and 24" in height
    5. The Showpiece must be made exclusively of Sugar or Sugar products (e.g. Isomalt)  
    6. The piece should include as many techniques as possible (e.g. Poured Sugar, Pulled Sugar, etc), must include one (1) Blown Sugar element, and must include one (1) Sugar Flower.


    Original Sugar Showpiece Design Sketch


    Multicolored Pulled Sugar

    Pulled Sugar Petals and Dragonfly

    Forming Blown Sugar Bonsai Tree

    Blown Sugar Bonsai Tree


    Next - Session 94: Sugar Showpiece (cont.)


    Previous - Session 92: Advanced Sugar Techniques - Blown Sugar


    Take a look at the full syllabus




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