Monday, 4 February 2013

Sweet Construct: Pastillage

Pastillage is a French word that means "Sugar Paste". It is a sugar-based dough that will dry firm and crisp used to make center piece decors and figurines of certain objects like flowers. Having said it's a sugar paste, it doesn't at all works as similar to fondant. Pastillage will dry crisp but fondant will not (although fondant will dry a little but on the outside of the exposed surface). In contrary to fondant, pastillage isn't created to be eaten. Yes it's sugar and sugar is edible, but the main purpose of having pastillage is for decor purposes.

Ideally, pastillage is one of the classic productions of pastry kitchen. Although it belongs to the pastry kitchen, most pastry chefs in the industry aren't regularly practicing it due to the time consumption and tediousness. However, Pastry Artists may be the ones who worship and perfect the techniques of pastillage making regardless of the obstacles.

Essentially, pastillage is made by just simple ingredients like icing sugar, gelatin, and water. To date, there are many other recipe variations available that will include egg whites, cream of tartar, and others. Along with the process of alternating recipe, emerged the famous "Gum Paste". The discovery of the edible gum called "Tragacanth" has replaced the use of gelatin in the pastillage recipe. Gum paste is more pliable than pastillage and when it sets dry, it will be a little more sturdy than the pastillage would. I personally never tried working with gum paste just because the gum tragacanth isn't readily available at my reach and is priced too high to the quantity that you'll get.

The first ever Pastillage Model I have ever made in my Classical Pastry Class in my diploma years.
Second project in Bachelor Degree's class - Pastry and Confectionery Techniques. Sugar Box made out of Pastillage used for a dessert-buffet Center piece.