April 9, 2008

What can you create.....

....with a bowl of fluffy powdered sweetness; cupful of liquid gelatin and generous dustings of cornstarch?Pastillage! A smooth kneadable sugar dough, versatile, rollable, shapable and ever so beautiful when put together as an impressive showpiece.
Pastillage can get tricky for beginners. Lucky for us eager students, we had no other than the world renown sugar artist; Ewald Notter guiding us along. The past 2 days we've had learning this amazing new ingredient has been filled with lots of both heartache and fun!It was great to finally get more acquainted to this versatile decorative dough. Unlike it's relatively similar peers; flower(gum)paste or fondant; pastillage doesn't like to be fiddled with excessively. He really isn't patient like most... pastillage is known for being difficult when he doesn't have all your focus and attention. A couple of sheer lady stockings filled with cornflour helps ease a little of our pain.
Pastillage really is less forgiving in comparison. It's best to work clean, brisk and efficiently while coming up with shapes or different stencil cut-outs. Most of us could already sense his mischief around the corners of our blade within a minute after we've rolled out our doughs!
Here's some of the showpieces created in class;
and here's mine. We were offered some stencils in order to help us work faster, but I decided to wing it with a different design themed around paisley shapes and a modern interpretation of Indian henna patterns.Some of the pieces in class broke due to the humidity in the room, some broke from the pastillage pieces not being completely dry...and some from pure carelessness. In every class; there's bound to be a bull in the china shop when it comes to brittle and fragile showpieces. I've learnt my lesson well; take photos in class ....the piece might not survive the ride home. Hehe.
Personally; I prefer pastillage to the other decorative sugar doughs. It dries fast when handled correctly, it gives a nice smooth surface to airbrush/paint and it's much sturdier when it comes to structure building. Pastillage is my new best friend.
I wonder how many best friends I'll be picking up along this 6 month pastry journey of mine. *grin* I hope lots!
Talking about best friends and such... Chef Ewald had also taken the time to introduce us to silicone and it's many uses.He really is such a spectacular Chef and instructor. Just listening to him speak about his learning experiences while conveying wise advice to us kids, takes me to a completely different state of mind. I am much more motivated, intrigued and proactive... it's amazing.... it really is. The level of respect I have for him and his accomplishments is just.... ... just WOw! It's almost like I'm learning by example.. he is humble, eager, focused, artistic, meticulous and constantly on the go! If you've noticed; I can barely take a single shot of him without him running off somewhere. *laughs* My camera lenses are having problems catching up with his speed. I really hope to be just like him when I get to that stage; my role model you could say.


Hany said...

Su Yin, you're my idol! I love reading about your culinary experiences and looking at your absolutely adorable cakes and confections. How do you like Notter School? I'm thinking of possibly taking some classes there after reading about it on your blog ^_^. Keep up the great work!

LiTtLe ChEfFo said...

hallo Su yin...i really love the pastillage art you made :)really amazing.....is that same with fondant? or it is a nother different thing? and if i may know is is hard to make them? is that okay if i ask for the recipe? becuase i try to make something like this for the centerpiece from fondant but it's not working it was really hard for me to work with becuaese they dry quite long and hard to stay in shape....please help me to solve this problem :). thank you so so much.i've been searching of the pastillage recipe and how to deal with them in the internet but couldn't find.until i visit your blog and found this amazing pastillage art in your blog.....thank you so mcuh su yin.

Mika said...

I simply love your blog!
I almost graduated in economics in an italian university but I choose to became a pastry chef because I love working in the kitchen with sugar, flour and colors...I'm working on this, I'm pretty far to my final goal, but you are a source of ispiration for me...

Anonymous said...

Hi SuYin, wanted to ask if you could show me where to find the substitution formula for using 100% cocoa in receipes. i had figured that might as well buy 100% cocoa since i could... without doing much receipe research, or any research for that matter. =P ..after a first try resulting in a ganach so stong that one can get heart palpitations i better figure out the substitution formula before i try again.
appreciate if you could help. btw really appreciate your blog and adventures in the kitchen & photography skills.
tx meilin

Su-Yin -D├ęcorateur said...

hany: aww.. youre too sweet; i can't imagine being a role model to anyone *blush* thanks heaps for stopping by with usch a lovely comment. I'm loving every moment of the notterschool. Its heaps fun! :)

littlecheffo: heyhey thanks :) it's not like fondant; it doesnt have invert sugars; its made of gelatin, powdered sugar and cornstarch. It's not exactly something you can mold into figurines or cake toppers; pastillage dries within seconds! it'll be easier to add a little tylos powder or gum trag to your fondant to make gum/flower paste. It makes it strudier but still flexible enough to mold.

mika: heyhey thats so great to hear from ya! i'm happy that i'm helping you along with inspirations

meilin: hmm... 100% cocoa isn't exactly the best type of chocolate you can find. Chocolate recipes never work well with 100% cocoa; because 100% cocoa would just be cocoa?; and not chocolate. The content of cocoa in choc doesnt determine its quality. I wouldn't suggest eating or using 100% cocoa in a recipe for baking. Cocoa only tastes good with added letchin, milk solids and good ol cocoa butter! Use only recommended cocoa content chocolate in recipes or 60-70% cocoa chocolate at most.

Anonymous said...

thanks for the reply on the choc! saw your latest blog w the kitchenaid. does it mean we will be seeing much more of your yummy & beautiful creations? = ) looking forward to it!

Anonymous said...

I hope you know just how extremely talented you are!!! Keep up the great work.