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renam

Fondant for Confections

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Thanks for the tip!

I figured out yesterday that my new candy thermometer is woefully defective. It responds very slowly to temperature changes and hence what I thought was 236F was more like 246F! I checked the thermometer vs. the an old thermometer and found that the new thermometer lags the old one as temperature rises by anywhere from 8 to 12 degrees. Once it reaches a constant temperature, e.g., boiling water, it's fine. I'm blaming the weird fondant on overcooking the sugar.

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It’s been 7 years, but fondant is timeless ...

 

Just for fun, and thinking about Easter egg fillings, I made a small batch of grewelings fondant. Yes, it was a good upper body workout but it seemed to set up. Then I started looking at other sources and found fondants with cream and butter in them, which sounds far better than just sugar. And maybe less sticky on the marble?

 

Does the presence of fat derermine what you can do with it?  Seems like a peppermint patty or cherry cordial would not have fat, but if I was adding pecans I sure wouldn’t mind a little butter. 

 

Can you layer fondants next to ganache or marzipan, or would weird things happen like the sugar in the fondant sucking the water out of ganache?  

 

Since it is mostly sugar, can I add liquid flavorings without worrying about shelf life?  Like if I finally want to make that way-better creme egg, is a little passion fruit purée in the ‘yolk’ going to go off?  

 

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6 hours ago, pastrygirl said:

It’s been 7 years, but fondant is timeless ...

 

Just for fun, and thinking about Easter egg fillings, I made a small batch of grewelings fondant. Yes, it was a good upper body workout but it seemed to set up. Then I started looking at other sources and found fondants with cream and butter in them, which sounds far better than just sugar. And maybe less sticky on the marble?

 

Does the presence of fat derermine what you can do with it?  Seems like a peppermint patty or cherry cordial would not have fat, but if I was adding pecans I sure wouldn’t mind a little butter. 

 

Can you layer fondants next to ganache or marzipan, or would weird things happen like the sugar in the fondant sucking the water out of ganache?  

 

Since it is mostly sugar, can I add liquid flavorings without worrying about shelf life?  Like if I finally want to make that way-better creme egg, is a little passion fruit purée in the ‘yolk’ going to go off?  

 

I can't answer your question about fondant and migration definitively, but Peter Greweling, who appears to be the definitive source on such questions, has this to say:

 

Quote

Crystalline confections include fondant, fudge and crèmes. They are prone to moisture migration and have a relatively high Aw in the range of .75 to .80. They therefore have a tendency to lose moisture in a layered confection. Crystalline confections generally must be deposited while warm. Marzipan has a relatively high Aw of .75 to .80, and so has a tendency to lose moisture in moisture migration. The oil from the nuts also causes fat migration, softening the firmer fats around the center such as cocoa butter.

 

This is from his very helpful (and disturbing) article on layered confections. I say "disturbing" because once I read it, I had to take a new look at the layered bonbons I like to make and make some changes. Greweling recommends a layer of cocoa butter (among other choices) to separate layers that tend to migrate. So now when I put a layer of pâte de fruit (water-based) in a bonbon and want to add a ganache (with its water and fat), I paint a layer of cocoa butter on top of the PdF. I don't know if it helps, but it makes me feel better! If customers would actually eat the chocolates in the time frame suggested (I use 2-3 weeks), migration issues wouldn't be so important, but (this has been discussed repeatedly) they don't. Just last week a customer told me how much she was still enjoying the box of chocolates she had received at Christmas--she had just read the enclosed guide and decided it was time to finish the box! I tried valiantly to hide my 😱

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Jim, thanks for the article.  It is counter-intuitive to me that caramels absorbing extra moisture would crystallize rather than turn to syrup.  Sugar works in mysterious ways, maybe as one molecule is pulling in water from ganache it is also pulling water away from it's neighboring sugar molecule, causing it (the neighbor) to crystallize?  🤔

 

And now I'm curious about Aw ... I have had marzipan and ganache go off, but shouldn't a fondant center with high Aw still be ok because the rest is sugar and nothing grows in sugar?  I mean, what is the Aw of honey or jam?  Or a Cadbury creme egg, that stuff is mostly sugar but flows at room temp ...

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42 minutes ago, pastrygirl said:

Jim, thanks for the article.  It is counter-intuitive to me that caramels absorbing extra moisture would crystallize rather than turn to syrup.  Sugar works in mysterious ways, maybe as one molecule is pulling in water from ganache it is also pulling water away from it's neighboring sugar molecule, causing it (the neighbor) to crystallize?  🤔

 

And now I'm curious about Aw ... I have had marzipan and ganache go off, but shouldn't a fondant center with high Aw still be ok because the rest is sugar and nothing grows in sugar?  I mean, what is the Aw of honey or jam?  Or a Cadbury creme egg, that stuff is mostly sugar but flows at room temp ...

You raise valid questions, and I agree with your logical deductions about sugar. I know that I am sometimes surprised at an Aw reading being as high as it is. I was surprised (in a different direction) when I tested my new apple pâte de fruit. It was quite fluid, and I anticipated the worst, but it turned out to be 0.53. When I have some time, I'll test pure fondant and also honey to see what their Aw is.

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