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Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Culinary School - Session 94: Sugar Showpiece (cont.)

Culinary School: Session 94 (04.06.15)

Sugar Showpiece (cont.)

Murphy's Law...

... anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. In this case, "anything" included the most humid weekend in months and a collection of sticky Pulled Sugar pieces come Monday.

It would seem that extremely thin leaves made from Pulled Sugar have a rather limited shelf life. And while hindsight is 20/20, it would have been nice to know that there was an entire bucket of moisture-absorbing silica in the back of the kitchen that could have been used to prevent the issue. 

Lesson learned: be prepared to adapt on the fly. I certainly wasn't expecting to spend the second day of the Sugar Showpiece Project redoing 75% of the tasks I had completed the prior week, but with no other option but to change my original design and press ahead, that's exactly what I did.

- Ingredients Running Tally -

Ingredients used to date (04.06.15):
  • Flour: 24,535g
  • Eggs: 16,000g (320x)
  • Sugar: 33,845g
  • Butter: 16,065g
  • Milk/Cream: 16,845g
  • Chocolate: 9,000g (since 01.12.15)

    - The Showpiece -


    Bonsai Tree Showpiece


    The base of the showpiece is a solid square of dark blue Poured Sugar, which was set in a mold lined with crinkled aluminum foil to create texture. 

    The trunk of the tree was placed in the Poured Sugar base as it cooled. For the trunk, the Straw Sugar technique was used: a tube of Blown Sugar was repeatedly folded over itself to form a series of hollow veins. The final appearance is very similar to craggy, aged wood - perfect for a Bonsai Tree.

    The original design included over fifty multi-colored Pulled Sugar Leaves. Unfortunately, these pieces absorbed a lot of atmospheric moisture over the weekend and were unusable. Unexpectedly having to repull each leaf, I abandoned the more time-consuming multi-colored ribbon technique for a solid blue version. 

    I was also forced to scrap my original plan to include a Hummingbird made from Blown Sugar. Rather, a simpler Dragonfly was placed at the center of the tree.

    Rounding out the sugar techniques used in the project, a Pastillage scroll with the characters for "Bonsai Tree" hangs from one of the branches.

    In the end, it wasn't exactly what I had hoped to create, but given the hours of lost work, it could have been much worse.

    Sugar Dragonfly

    Pulled Sugar Flower

    Bonsai Tree Sugar Showpiece

    Bonsai Tree Sugar Showpiece

    Bonsai Tree Sugar Showpiece

    Next - Session 95: Mystery Cake Project

    Previous - Session 93: Sugar Showpiece

    Take a look at the full syllabus

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