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Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Recipe: Poured Fondant

Poured Fondant

Recipe: Poured Fondant

For those with a sweet-tooth...

When a recipe has one ingredient, and that ingredient is Sugar, you can bet the results will be a little bit sweet.

Okay, so maybe the full recipe calls for some Water and Corn Syrup too. But technically speaking, the Water is just a medium in which to cook the Sugar. And Corn Syrup is just one of many forms of Sugar.

Not to be confused with Rolled Fondant, that debatabley-edible coating on decorative Cakes, Poured Fondant is that silky smooth, sugary goo best recognized as the filling in Creme Eggs and Cherry Cordials. It also can be used as the shiny outer coating to Petits Fours Glace and Eclairs.

Creamy in texture, but without a drop of dairy, Poured Fondant is made using techniques also employed when making Fudge (which is why it seemed like such a logical next recipe after last week's project). As with Fudge, a molten Sugar mixture is carefully heated and cooled, manipulated in such a way as to form a multitude of micro-crystals resulting in an amazingly smooth texture.

Petits Fours Glace Covered with Poured Fondant
Poured Fondant may look like any old glaze or frosting, but it is distinctly different. Yes, you could mix Powdered Sugar with Milk or even Water to produce something which is virtually identical to the casual observer. But they're not the same... not by a long shot.

Made with White Granulated Sugar, Poured Fondant is often grouped with Fudge because both sweets are made by carefully heating and cooling Sugar in order to create a large number of micro-crystals rather than large, rough granules. The result is an extremely smooth and creamy texture. And yet, there's no cream!

When properly made, Poured Fondant should also have a shiny finish. And unlike a glaze made from Powdered Sugar, it should not have a starchy taste - something common to Powdered Sugar products given the Corn Starch additive.

Crystalized Sugar for Poured Fondant
The first step in making Poured Fondant is to boil Sugar and Water to the Soft-Ball Stage - 238 degrees Fahrenheit (114 degrees Celsius).

As the Poured Fondant mixture is cooking, special care must be taken to prevent the Sugar from recrystallizing prematurelyRecrystallization can be caused by a number of seemingly insignificant acts, including gently stirring. So follow these steps to keep recrystallization in check.

With most candy-making, you never want the Sugar to recrystallize, but with Fudge and Fondant, you ultimately do... just at the right time. When? Not until the hot Poured Fondant mixture cools back down to at least 140 degrees Fahrenheit (60 degrees Celsius). At this temperature, when the Fondant mixture is aggressively stirred, the Sugar recrystallizes into a multitude of smaller crystals rather than large, coarse granules. The result is a smooth textured product and not a gritty one.

Food Processor with Poured Fondant
The cooled Fondant Mixture can be stirred by hand or processed in a food processor. Using a food processor is much easier and results in a smoother final product. When you make the Poured Fondant by hand, you must knead it for several minutes in order to achieve the desired consistency.

Before the Fondant is ready to be used, it is best to let it rest overnight in an airtight plastic bag. This allows for the Poured Fondant to soften. Even then, the Poured Fondant will be a thick paste. A thick paste may be okay if you are using the Poured Fondant as the filling for Chocolates. 

To use it as a Glaze, the Poured Fondant should be gently heated to no more than 110 degrees Fahrenheit (43 degrees Celsius) and actively stirred. It can be thinned with a Simple Syrup (1:1 ratio of Sugar and Water by weight) in order to achieve the desired consistency, but it should be added in small increments.

The Poured Fondant can be kept for many weeks stored in an airtight container at room temperature.

- The Recipe -

Poured Fondant:

Yield: 500g - About 2 Cups

  • Sugar: 400g (2 Cups)
  • Corn Syrup: 45g (3 Tbls)
  • Water: 120g (0.5 Cup)

1. In a large pot, gently stir together the Sugar, Corn Syrup and Water. Place the pot over high heat and bring the Poured Fondant mixture to a boil without stirring.

Chef's Note: Make sure that the sides of the pot are completely clean of any Sugar that could cause the mixture to recrystallize prematurely.

2. Reduce the heat to medium. Continue to boil the Poured Fondant mixture until it reaches the Soft-Ball Stage - 238 degrees Fahrenheit (114 degrees Celsius).

3. As soon as the target temperature is reached, gently transfer the Poured Fondant mixture to the bowl of a food processor. Let the Poured Fondant mixture cool undisturbed to at least 140 degrees Fahrenheit (60 degrees Celsius) but no cooler than 120 degrees Fahrenheit (49 degrees Celsius).

Chef's Note: If the Poured Fondant mixture is too hot when you turn on the food processor, larger Sugar crystals will form as it cools resulting in a grittier texture. If the Poured Fondant mixture is too cool, the Sugar may harden entirely into a solid mass.

4. Turn on the food processor and mix the Poured Fondant mixture until it transforms from a clear syrup to a shiny, opaque paste. Transfer the Poured Fondant to a plastic bag and let it rest overnight at room temperature.

5. The Poured Fondant will be a thick paste. For a softer consistency, or to use the Poured Fondant as a glaze for Petits Fours, gently heat it in a large pot with a 1:1 ratio Simple Syrup (i.e. equal parts Sugar and Water by weight). Stir aggressively and add the Simple Syrup in small increments until the desired consistency is achieved. Do not allow the Poured Fondant to exceed 110 degrees Fahrenheit (43 degrees Celsius).

- The Poured Fondant can be kept for many weeks in an airtight container at room temperature.
- Never heat the Poured Fondant to more than 110 degrees Fahrenheit (43 degrees Celsius). Doing so will destroy the small Sugar crystals which will likely reform as larger, coarser crystals. It will also cause the Poured Fondant to lose its shine.

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