This past Monday, I had the amazing opportunity to witness a sugar demonstration by Susan Notter. Chef Susan Notter was named one of the top 10 Pastry Chefs in the U.S. by Pastry Arts & Design Magazine. An American Culinary Federation (ACF) Certified Executive Pastry Chef and member of the national ACF Culinary Team, she has published two books, and finished 3rd place in the International Pastry Queen competition in Italy in Jan. 2012, and has appeared on the Food Network, most recently winning the Halloween Wars competition in Oct. 2011.
She started off the demonstration by explaining the type of sugar most commonly used for sugar work. Typically pastry chefs will use Isomalt which is a sugar substitute that is mostly used in low or no sugar candies. It is a little bit coarser than normal sugar and is less effected by humidity.
The Sugar Recipe
3lbs. Isomalt sugar
1 1/2 lbs. water
10 oz. glucose
8 drops of acid (I can't remember what acid specifically, sorry!)
The process of making sugar involves mixing water, sugar, and acid and heating it to 340 degrees fahrenheit, then allowing it to cool a little, so you can pull it and then keep it a stable temperature. If you want to color the sugar you want to add a water soluble food coloring while the sugar is still boiling.
If you want to make pieces that are similar to the base of this piece ^ or the circles, you want to use a silicone mold, and pour it while the sugar is still fairly hot. Then it involves some waiting, for all the pieces to set. Once you have all your pieces you can start assembling your piece. To get the pieces of sugar to stick together, she used the sugar recipe above with no coloring. Now in Susan's piece she actually blew some pieces of sugar including the egg and the goose. Now that involves cold air and lots of patience so I'm not sure I could actually re-explain it.
In the picture above ^ Susan is taking the hot liquid sugar and using a tool that looks like it has nails glued to a square of wood. What this tool does is allows you to "spin" the sugar similarly to cotton candy. That is what gives this piece that "nest" like aspect.
This is the final sugar piece. She put this together in 2 hours, but already had the base pieces cast. It was amazing to finally be able to see this be done in person, especially by someone who is internationally well-known.
I know this post is EXTREMELY late, but my weekend was absolutely insane! I hope everyone who is reading these posts is enjoying them, sometimes I wonder if anyone really reads them besides my mom lol. My next post will be about my last Gourmet Dinner! It's crazy how fast my time in Culinary School are coming to an end!
"People who love to eat are always the best people."
My name's Abby. I am a Iowa Culinary Institute graduate, current owner of a small online bakery, and a transaction coordinator to a couple pretty cool realtors. All in all, life is busy, but the kitchen never changes, so join me as we Take on the Kitchen!