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New techniques for dessert decoration


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12 replies to this topic

#1 Lia Tumkus

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 03:42 AM

Hi guys!


Looking up on Instagram I found this amazing dessert http://instagram.com/p/VornSEEU8H/ and I've been trying to figure out how to make those tiny, perfectly round translucent spheres.  


Any ideas how to get this result?


Thanks in advance for all the inputs :)

#2 Mjx

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 04:09 AM

The could have been made via spherification, but (depending on how big these things actually are), they might just be a water-based liquid that beaded up on the surface.

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
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#3 ChrisZ

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 04:29 AM

Gorgeous, thanks for the link.  Loads of great photos on the main page too.


The consistency between the 3 slices is impeccable, and suggests that they're able to make the spheres in various sizes as needed, so I don't think it's just water that's beading or the slices would vary more.


I haven't seen tapioca pearls that clear and perfect so I would agree that it's some form of spherification.

#4 Lia Tumkus

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 05:37 AM

I was thinking some kinda gel that gets solid at higher temperatures (or room temperature) and when put in a cold surface solidifies immediately... 

#5 Lisa Shock

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 11:38 AM

You can mold sugar in silicon molds, I have one designed to make beads. They could also be hand-rolled, it's pretty easy once you get the hang of it. So, essentially, I think they are hard candy.

#6 Baselerd

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 12:55 PM

A technique from the Modernist Cuisine that I've had luck with:


-Choose an oil (neutral or flavored) and chill over ice or leave in the freezer until cold.

-Make a gel base and fill a syringe (fitted with a needle-tip / hypodermic tip) with the warm base

-Slightly submerge the tip in the cold oil and expel droplets


As the droplets sink they will form into spheres due to the natural repulsion of the oil and (presumably) water-based gel solution. They will be solid by the time they fall to the bottom of the oil provided it is cold enough. I've used this technique to make pretty nice spheres. Once you have enough, strain the beads from the oil. You have to work quickly - I've ended up with half of my gel set inside the syringe before.


With that said, I've always used Gellan or Agar for this process, which does not produce the brilliant clear beads as in the picture above. 

#7 Lia Tumkus

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 12:33 PM

Good idea Baselerd! I'm gonna give it a go using this oil technique! 


It's unfortunate that this brilliant beads are still a mystery...


Thanks everybody!

Edited by Lia Tumkus, 27 February 2013 - 12:34 PM.

#8 Lisa Shock

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 09:59 PM

Sugar will have the brilliance of color, and, clarity as pictured.

#9 Lia Tumkus

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 01:22 PM

Hey Lisa,


What temperature should I cook the sugar to still be able to rolle it?


I wanna give that idea a go also :)

#10 minas6907

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 06:07 PM

You'd be boiling the sugar to 315-320 degrees f. And Lisa, what kind of mold do you have? You said they create beads, how big are they? I'd be interested if they create tiny spheres. And I want to say that I'm not trying to challenge you, but I have done plenty of sugar work, and know that I could probably not roll small tiny spheres by hand so consistently. You wouldnt have to pull the sugar, but at least fold it a few times, which would easily take away that perfect clarity.

I personally feel, though, the spheres are made with a gel rather then sugar. Like ChrisZ said, the consistency of the beads suggests he is able to make the different needed sizes, and not to mention the red liquid drops on the slate next to the pastries shows what to expect when you eat the other red drop shaped items on the pastry, its probably the same liquid.

Edited by minas6907, 28 February 2013 - 06:08 PM.

#11 Lisa Shock

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 08:25 PM

I have some of Nicolas Lodge's pearl border silicon molds, he has his things custom made, you have to buy through him. It was originally intended for making borders in gumpaste or royal, but they withstand heat, so they work. The mold has to be held open at an angle to fill. When flat there's just a slit on top where the silicon was cut to remove the pearl master.

To hand roll, you just need to roll out a thin snake of sugar, no folding, cut at even intervals and roll quickly on a table near your lamp. It's not ideal for production, but, we make things for showpieces (like eyes, or gems for necklaces) in this manner all the time.

#12 Lia Tumkus

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 03:49 AM

Minas6907 has a good point, it would be definitely difficult/unpleasant to eat a dessert with this kinda decoration if it was made of sugar...

#13 mkayahara

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 07:09 AM

Count me in the "cold oil spherification" camp. You can use the technique with gelatin, which should give you the clarity shown. And if you're using a syringe, you can control the bead size pretty accurately by adjusting the amount of liquid you drip into the oil. Then I suppose some poor stagiaire has to sort them by size.
Matthew Kayahara

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