Friday, May 4, 2007

Sugar Showpiece

Pictured is my final Sugar Showpiece. I have to admit, I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. You might notice that some of the elements that I showed you in the post from yesterday are not on the showpiece. Actually, I made quite a few things that didn't make the showpiece, like all of the fruit (apples, pears), 2 white birds, 2 white roses, and another purple rose. But, that's just the nature of the beast when you're making showpieces; you always make a lot more than you end up using for the final piece.

So, you can see that the main artistic elements are the 2 yellow birds, which were made with blown sugar. Both birds began with a ball of sugar slightly smaller than a golf ball. Since they were blown, the birds are actually hollow inside, and very light (also known as "fragile.")

The purple rose was made from pulling sugar. Each petal was individually pulled and shaped from a mass of melted sugar. The rose itself is relatively heavy, being mostly solid sugar.

The main structural elements are the blackish/purplish discs and crescent. Each were made from casting melted sugar into a ring when it had cooled down from 165 to 125 C. The result yields strong, solid pieces that can be "glued" together with hot sugar, and hold a lot of weight.

The "rocks" upon which the higher bird sits is made from pouring melted sugar at around 140 C into regular granulated sugar. Once it cools, you extract the solid piece, which is lightly coated with the granulated sugar, giving it that textured effect.

The lower of the two birds sits upon a rock made of pastillage, which is confectionery sugar, water, and vinegar. I also made other decorations out of pastillage which I didn't put on my final piece. To me, they just looked a little cheap, and didn't really fit in with the other elements, so I decided to leave them off.

Finally, you'll notice a piece of bubble sugar positioned behind the crescent. This was made by placing large grains of sugar onto a Silpat, covering it with another Silpat, then baking for about 10 minutes in a 350 F oven. The sugar melts, and individual particles attract to each other, leaving you with the design you see here. I think it looks pretty cool, but I decided to only use a little for my piece, as it has the ability to take over if you use too much of it.

Anyway, that's the end of showpieces for us. Next week is exam week, where we get tested on Wedding Cakes, Chocolate Showpieces, and Sugar Showpieces. Wish me luck!

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At May 8, 2007 at 10:03 AM , Anonymous Anne said...

I thought the gum paste flowers were something else -- and then I saw the chocolate showpiece and didn't think it could get much better. I stand corrected, however, because the sugar showpiece is outstanding. I'm beyond impressed. WOW!

At June 5, 2007 at 11:05 AM , Anonymous Paully said...

I don't even know what to say to all of this. That is some REAL talent and I'm impressed as hell. What did you do with my cousin Tim? What did you do with the periodically intoxicated, poker playing slacker we all know and love?


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