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chefette

DEMO: Intro to Pastillage

69 posts in this topic

I'm suprised that you can use water instead of a faster drying alchol. You make this sound similar to watercolor painting and I find that very exciting!

I don't quite understand how you did the black ribbon around the bonnet. I understand how you colored it but...............how did you make it? Did you form it over the bonnet and just lift it off to spray it in another location, let it dry and replace it?..........it appears to be remarkably thin and I can't imagine it not breaking as you moved it.

Also that's mean teasing us with all your cake decorations and not showing us the finished cake.......... (hint, hint).

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Painting with the powders and water works out great! Normally I would dust an area or do a sort of colored sketch like the Defense Plaque so not really too much painting.

I decided to do a little more extensive painting painting - the face and I really thought it worked great. Using more water and more aggressively painting in a watercolor style yields nice results.

The top of the pastillage gets sort of wet and slick/sticky and is pretty much how you would work on nice watercolor paper and lets you manipulate your 'paints' more. (You can see this in the first painted face half). This also seems to result in a nice sheen once it dries. I also tried lightly spraying with spray oil. In this case I used Trader Joes Olive Oil spray. Tough to get a fine mist but after 12 hours it dried with no ill effects.

The oil is not responsible for the light sheen on the painted side. I see that the other hald of the piece that was spot piped/painted retains its normal matte finish despite the spray of oil. It also did not yellow or discolor.

I dusted a flat strip with two colors - transitioning from yellow to green. This I also sprayed to see the effect. It intensified the colors and yielded a light sheen. In both pieces there is a slightly oily feel to the surface - except on the half of the face that was not completely wet painted.

Regarding the black ribbon on the hat:

1- I formed the pastillage brim and placed that on a former to crate the floppy brim effect

2- I formed the dome

3- I set the dome onto the brim so it would dry to match the curve of the brim as much as possible

4- I attached the dome to the brim

The ribbon is gumpaste - so that I could achieve that thinness and finesse

5- I kneaded some black dust into my gumpaste. At first it appeared charcoal but the color developed as it absorbed moisture from the paste

6- I rolled out the gumpaste into a long thin strip - just as if I were planning to cut petals

7- I cut several thin strips

8- I fit a strip around the rim of the dome (there is a slight slope - plus I needed to cover up the areas where I did not have a perfect join

:wacko::unsure:

9- I cut the strip so that the ends just overlapped

10- I moistened the inside of the ribbon and put it in place (so in this instance the fresh wet gumpaste is applied to the dried pastillage)

11- I attached the flowy end ribbons shaping and adhering them to give some life

12 - I formed and attached the bow

13- Using a flat brush about 1/4" wide I lightly brushed black coloring onto the ribbon

I cannot say that this last painting was a great idea - it is sort of risky because I could have got paint on the hat then had to redo or repair. Also, the paint doesn't dry as fast as you would like it to on the paste - especially the gumpaste because of the crisco in it. This could have resulted in the paint from the blasted ribbon marring the fondant on the cake or another decorative element.

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I wanted to get back to you about microwaving pastillage. I really don't care for the effect that much - but can appreciate the novelty. In fact - I can't claim that I have perfected the technique. Maybe Nightscotsman can give more authority on this.

Anyway - I have experimented placing lumps of wet pastillage in the microwave, fried pastillage, dried pieces that I have then briefly soaked in water to rehydrate to see how that worked out, partially dried shapes and lumps.

So far, my most satisfaying results come from pieces that I have cut approximately 1/2" thick, and allowed to dry (without flipping) 12-24 hours. Most of my pieces are about 20-30 grams in weight and it is not use being too detailed about the shape - the more important shape - the drier the pastillage needs to be before you wave it.

I place the pastillage subject in a glass ramekin (about 3" tall and about 3" in diameter) and microwave on high about 40 seconds.

The pastillage melts and bubbles up after about 15 seconds - it seems that at 30 seconds it isn't done enough to maintain height, and beyond 40 seconds you seem to start caramelizing.

Let it cool briefly and then remove from the container. Working on a square of parchment or a small silpat square would prooably be best

Here is my 24 hour dry piece of pastillage - wet side up (might be worth seeing how it worked with dry side up)

gallery_414_1386_26769.jpg

I didn't knead this or anything - just sliced it off the lump yesterday and let it sit

Here it is after 40 seconds in the microwave. I waved it on a square of parchment -(make sure your square is big enough since there is lots of expansion)

gallery_414_1386_38152.jpg

Note the browned pastillage - you can carefully pick most of this off.

You can see that it does bear some vague resemblance shapewise to the piece we started with. I found that microwaving drier cut pieces results in portions of them puffing up which can be fun - but this is something that you really have to play around with if you are interested. I also find that using a cylindrical container also results in a more cylindrical and rounder shape, but more difficult to remove from container without breaking.

But maybe someone who does a lot of pastillage microwaving will put in their two cents.

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Finally – there remains how to transport your pastillage. Like all this – it depends on your project, the size, delicacy, and complexity of your piece, as well as distance to be traveled, mode of transport, time and facilities available at destination, ability to pack or carry tools and other materials.

In the case of my bi-planes my original plan was to cut and dry all my pastillage at home then pack and carry it to California where I could do some sanding and assembly before packing the planes and driving them 2 hours to San Diego to put on display.

Most of these pieces are flat so they are pretty easy to pack. Just provide some separation, some padding, a little care, a few toothpicks, a box that will fit in the overhead compartment as my carry on and voila. However, somehow I just didn’t have the pieces that I was satisfied with prior to leaving so I packed up two batches of fresh pastillage, my templates, Xacto knives, glue gun, sandpaper and flew to California. It is much less stressful to travel this way – however – I had to really focus and do all my work out there. But it worked out.

I assembled three complete planes – so that I would have one spare and in a pinch could get by in the exhibit with one if disaster struck. After the ‘crash’ (pictured) I was very worried about the planes just collapsing under their own weight, and every jounce and bump I imagined I could hear pastillage crumbling in the back of the car.

Because of the delicacy of the wings – I needed to provide them support so I packed each plane in its own box in a cushion of plastic bubble wrap.

If you are decorating a cake with pastillage pieces – you may be able to attach most of the pieces to the cake. Delicate pieces such as a delicate arbor or topper should be packed separately and you should probably have a spare. I normally place a delicate topper piece on a Styrofoam square, and secure the base with toothpicks places so it will not slide. If feasible or necessary, I will also provide some plastic cushioning support. You don’t want to create a rigid unmoving environment in which your pastillage might move and break against its restraints – you want to protect it.

Larger curvy pieces frequently do best packed on their sides with toothpicks securing them to Styrofoam. If you have many pieces with the same curve they can nest – but you would be safest leaving breathing room between them so that a problem does not cause the whole group to break.

Most flat pieces should be packed flat and provided with some cushioning.

Always always make multiples and spares and think about alternatives. Any really delicate dangerous pieces should be assembled on sight if practical.

Driving your pastillage isn’t too bad if you have packed and designed well. Flying leaves you with tight size restrictions and means that your pastillage will be out of your control several times. Have extra tape on hand to retape and close boxes after they are examined by TSA. Explain to everyone who needs to examine or handle your boxes that they contain delicate sugar decorations. Try to get a seat in the rear of the aircraft – you usually board early and can secure an overhead bin – fill the extra space with your fluffy coat. Don’t sit or someone coming in will roughly push your box aside and cram in their carry on bag that is well outside the size restrictions cited. Find out what plane type you will be traveling on and see if you can get specs on the size of overhead bins. Get boxes that conform to carry on requirements since you never know when airline personnel might actually decide to abide by those guidelines – plus you do want your boxes to fit. Consider getting a friend to travel with you – but force them to come with almost nothing so they can be dedicated to carrying your boxes.

Always travel with spare parts and tools, maybe even a batch of pastillage so you can redo anything that breaks.

Always be gentle.

That’s about it I guess – and I can see that I must have killed just about any interest anyone ever had regarding pastillage. I think that I have at least covered the bases here so get out and start making things. If you have questions, please post and we can see if we can work them out.

I feel that for every thing I have told you here there are at least two more that I didn’t get to, and still things that I don’t even know about. But I think that maybe now you can start to appreciate how incredibly versatile and useful pastillage is as a pastry décor tool.

Good luck everyone! I am interested to see what you do.


Edited by chefette (log)

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Just wanted to say thankyou for the tutorial, I have dabled using pastllage as support pieces on cakes but this has inspired me to see what can be created thanks.

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Chefette, can I store a p display piece in the cooler for a couple hours? I've pushed gum paste into that and they'll hold for an hour or two, not much more..........would p hold a little longer then gum paste?

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Hi,

I am new here, and this is my first post. I want to express my thanks for the wonderful demo you have posted, and all the time and effort you have invested in it. I think the best expression of my thanks is to show here what I just finished yesterday, inspired by your demo. I know that I have not reached perfection yet, but I am a self taught person, who just got hooked into cake decoration late in my life, and am enjoying every moment of it!

So thanks again, and thanks to EGullet for hosting this and all the incredible threads here!:smile:

gallery_31890_1431_38444.jpg

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Desertm- Welcome and thanks so much for sharing this lovely piece! How inspiring that you are self taught. I love the two-tone colors on this. Did you make this for a cake top or other application or just for practice and creative outlet? How long have you been playing with Pastillage?

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DesertM--I agree wholeheartedly with Genny--what a wonderful beautiful creation!!! Your enjoyment, your passion is showing in that pretty pretty piece.

Chefette should be so happy to be so inspiring too!!!

<applause erupts from all corners of the internet>

<DesertM takes a bow, Chefette takes a bow>

<the crowd goes wild>

:laugh: Cool and very cool!!!!

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Desertm

Great job! Thanks for posting.

How was your experience?

What recipe did you use?

Did you create a form for shaping or use an actual shoe?

On the two color ribbons - did you end up rolling two colors together - or making the peach color pastillage and dusting the darker color on one side?

For the heel - did you roll that?

What next?

Who's next? I am anxiously awaiting creations from all 5 of you following this demo :laugh:

I think that I am all out of space in the image thing so probably cannot post any more pics in the near future.

Wendy - I have not actually put pastillage in the cooler = but I will leave some in there today to see how it goes and get back to you on how it behaves = I know that overall - it is much more durable than gumpaste though.

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Thanks everybody for the kind words!!

Genny - I did this just for the fun, and it my first work with pastillage. Reading Chefette's demo caused my fingers to itch tremendously. The only way I could soothe the itching was by working on this piece :laugh: It is still standing as a show piece on the living room table.

K8memphis - thanks to you too! I must say that you also were a great inspiration for me. I saw the pictures of the flowers you prepared for the wedding cake, and off I went to make some too. Those went to the top of a Henna ceremony cake which I hope to be able to post soon.

Chefette - I used the recipe with the powdered gelatine. It's the only kind I can get here. (I live in a small country in the Middle East) As for the powedered sugar - we just have powdered sugar, no way to choose. I know it contains a certain percentage of cornflour, but I have no idea how much. I added just 6 tablespoons of water, and it came out just right. I had a pattern for the shoe, and just modeled the heel by hand, sort of sculpted it. As for the ribbons, I followed your explanation to the word: two pieces of different colored dough rolled together as thin as possible and cut into strips. Rolled them around a thick pen and left them to dry for 24 hours.

So that's it - Hopefully I will be working on more projects like this - I enjoyed this demo tremendously, it was very illuminating and I am grateful to all of you for being here and doing what you are doing.

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Thanks Desertm. There is cornstarch in the Confectioners Sugar/Icing Sugar/Powdered sugar/10X here as well. Its just how its done. I am very proud of your accomplishment. Thanks so much for sharing it with us. I hope that this will expand your decorating horizons.

Wendy - Regarding how well pastillage holds up in the cooler. I put several pieces of pastillage in the cooler this morning and just pulled them out (9 hours later) and they seem just fine. The pastillage was simply uncovered on a plate.

Now what I have not tested is if you have a construct of pastillage - held together by royal icing - will it be OK for several hours in the fride or will the joins weaken. Will weight bearing pieces start to buckle? THAT I cannot guarantee.

On weight bearing pieces - like a cake stand or petit fours stand I would tend to encourage people to design so that this portion could be held seperately and not go in the cooler.

If you have a large topper of pastillage I would also urge you to keep it out of the cooler - just to avoid the additional risks of going in and out and being handled by people other than you. But certainly you cannot always be there to handle stuff at the time of service so some things are just outside your control.


Edited by chefette (log)

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Chefette - thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

I'm going to play with microwaving some pastillage to see if I can come up with anything remotely resembling coral.

You and your demo

R O C K!!!!

Desertm - great shoe!!

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I have been talking with chefette about my first batch of pastillage and making "coral" by PM and she suggested that I share my experience. I'm going to post about that, then add her response, .... and finally my response..... here goes.....

I think my first batch turned out OK. I used the powdered gelatin. I started out with 70 grams of water. After I let it sit in cold water, the gelatin was, I don't know how to describe it... it was more like a solid than a liquid. I could stand a spoon up in it and the spoon didn't fall over. So I added 3 more teaspoons of water. It was still not real fluid, almost like regular jello that had been stirred for a while, but I didn't want to add too much water so I went with it.

After I added my liquid to the dry ingredients, the mass was very thick and my mixer even stopped momentarily, straining to get through it. So I added some more water, 5 teaspoons. I was using my Kitchenaid 4.5 quart mixer.

I mixed it and it seemed a little sticky, kind of in between chefette's two photos of the sheet gelatin batch and the powdered gelatin batch.

I then messed around getting my kneading surface ready, say a few minutes. I forgot to cover the pastillage and it seemed in that time that it dried a bit... so that it was no longer sticky. I was able to knead it and it would stick just the tiniest amount to the heel of my hand. I didn't even need to use 10x to keep it from sticking to my mat. It seemed just about right.

I went back and measured to see how much 70 grams of water plus 8 teaspoons was and it ended up being 102 grams.

Hopefully, I'll have some time this evening to experiment with the coral.

OK, then chefette's response to this.....

Chefette: Did you melt the gelatine over heat with the vinegar and corn syrup?

You should do that. Always melt your gelatine after blooming - blooming does not equate to melting

Yes the pastillage is really thick and will pretty much bring the mixer to a halt - that is a good time to either have faith in the motor or to scrape it all out on the counter and start kneading. I find that it behaves better sometimes - worse others - I typically add a little water and really find that getting my fingers wet and then continuing to knead does really well at hydrating the pastillage.

And - the not sticking is exactly how it should go.

I am psyched to hear about your results.

On my undersea cake last summer - I bought a copy of Finding NEMO at the bookstore for the fun coral and undersea plants and replicated a bunch of them. Fun lopey things, Sort of sqare or triangular tubey horn things, and long wavy pieces. I thought those were more ocean looking and prettier than the waved pastillage.

Has your dehydrating commenced?

And finally, my comments and questions to the above:

JacqueOH:

Yes, I melted the gelatin along with the corn syrup and vinegar. That went just fine.

Dehydrating.... I assume you mean that the pastillage dries very quickly? I split the batch into two, wrapped each in plastic wrap, wrapped each of those in a damp washcloth and finally stuck them in an air-tight Ziploc bag.

Good idea on using Finding Nemo for inspiration. There really are some beautiful "underwater shots" in that movie.

I'm going to go play with my pastillage now... yep, an exciting Saturday night of sugar fun. :biggrin:

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So... I was wondering if any of the people following this thread - like Desertm - had proceeded with some pastillage work of their own.

What have you done? how has it worked out? Any questions raised?

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So... I was wondering if any of the people following this thread - like Desertm - had proceeded with some pastillage work of their own.

What have you done?  how has it worked out?  Any questions raised?

I have been following this thread and a timely lesson it was too. I was to do a graduation cake for this girl who wanted a theatre theme. Well I have been on a chocolatiering kick lately and thought I'd use comedy/tragedy mask molds. Ordered from an on-line auction, seller screws up and leaves me with NO BLOODY MOLDS. damn ... now what?! :angry:

Then along comes this BEAUTIFUL thread :wub: and I just happened to have a plaster comedy mask in my house that I could use as a form. The cake (whose picture I sincerely hope shows up) is the result. I was pleased with the result and so was the student.

As a matter of fact, the filling is the Fine Cooking lemon curd recipe that I discovered in another egullet thread. Man I love this place! :biggrin:

Thanks again.

gallery_33424_1492_82726.jpg

(I obliterated the last name with my severely lacking photo-editing skills)

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Hi

This is my first post in a long, long time. I have been following this amazing demo for the past few days. I have recently become unemployed after moving back to Toronto, so I have more time on my hands now to browse around egullet. I am a young, aspiring pastry chef that graduated from the Cordon Bleu in Ottawa about 4 years ago and until recently had been working at a pastry shop in Ottawa. I can't tell you how grateful I am for these incredibly inspiring demo's here in the pastry section. After reading through chefette's amazing pastillage demo I felt so inspired that i had to make something. I decided to do an art deco style clock. I didn't colour it or anything, but I think it turned out quite well for my first pastillage piece and it was an amazing learning experience. The problem is I can't seem to get enough pastillage and I'm already drawing up plans for another project. Since I am really into architecture I am thinking about doing some sort of building out of pastillage. I'm going to go through my pictures from a recent 2-week trip to Europe and see if anything strikes me as do-able.

Here are the pictures:

gallery_20741_6077_22796.jpg

gallery_20741_6077_14590.jpg

gallery_20741_6077_19318.jpg


"Gentlemen, you can't fight in here. This is the War Room!"

-Presiden Muffley, Dr. Strangelove

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Holy smokes, for a first attempt that is amazing. So clean and just beautiful!


check out my baking and pastry books at the Pastrymama1 shop on www.Half.ebay.com

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Thanks pastrymama. I made a big design mistake by doing this sort of inlaid wood design on the front just below the clock. After I had glued all of the little meticulously sanded pieces in place I decided that it in fact looked horrible and I had rip each one off and then sand the entire front down to get rid of all the scars. I decided to go with my initial plan of the wisteria flowers done in royal icing.


"Gentlemen, you can't fight in here. This is the War Room!"

-Presiden Muffley, Dr. Strangelove

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