Saturday, 16 February 2013

Sweet Royalties

Royal icing is the easiest icing ever invented on earth in my opinion. It is made out of icing sugar and egg whites essentially. However, sometimes additional acid like lemon juice or cream of tartar used to whiten the icing and kill some bacteria (since it’s raw egg whites and royal icing is not cooked).

Piped Shells, Borders, Dots and Filigree always been the classic template for Royal Icing designs
Basically, royal icing is a hard white icing used to cover as well as to decorate cakes and pastries like wedding cakes and cookies. The consistency of the working royal icing is subject to the final designs intended. It can be stiff which the royal icing holds it shape or it can be runny. Stiff royal icing always used to make ornate decorative work like piping shell borders, swags, and intricate lace piping as it will hold the shape as is until it fully dried. A slight runnier royal icing is often used for “flooding” technique. “Flooding” is the term used to describe the technique of spreading royal icing onto a flat surfaced pastry (e.g - cookies) and it will settle itself and dries up to a complete flat surface. Regardless of the consistency, both types made from just one stiff royal icing recipe and to make it runnier, additional moisture (water) is mixed as desired.

Pink "Fleur De Lis" with Cracked Gold Pearl
 Have you ever wondered how the name “Royal” came about this icing? Royal icing can be traced back from the British civilization in around 1600’s. Many agreed that the earliest recipe for royal icing called for icing sugar, egg whites and rose water. This was when wedding cakes started received special treatment and acknowledgement. In 1840’s, the wedding cake of Queen Victoria’s marriage was extravagantly exaggerated with white icing. This marked as the moment which suggested the name “Royal” to the icing. And believe it or not, the term “Icing” also existed from the use of royal icing.

Wilton brand Meringue Powder. I bought it personally for around RM 30.00++ in Malaysia
Today, in Malaysia especially, royal icing does not greatly appreciated as the medium of icing or covering cakes. Some reasons for that are due to the hard and solid quality of the icing that cannot be cut through with knife, and also the health risk awareness from the raw egg whites. Owing to the health risk posed, some cake decorators opt for royal icing strictly for little and less detailing décors work only. Nevertheless, pasteurized eggs can be used safely for a major use of royal icing. These eggs available in the market though the drawback is that they would cost a little bit more than ordinary fresh eggs. Other options may be in the form of dried and powdered egg whites or some companies named it “Meringue Powder” like Wilton Company. This type of egg white is hygienically treated in the process and lot safer for consumption.