Flutterby™! : Oh, Sugar!

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Oh, Sugar!

2006-10-09 14:31:42.563949+00 by Dan Lyke 8 comments

Yesterday Zack[Wiki] and I got together to play with sugar. We made up a half a batch of working sugar from the Pastry Wiz sugar instructions page, 375g sugar, 112g water, cook to 230°F, add 160g corn syrup and half a gram of cream of tartar, continue heating to 305, turn out onto a buttered marble slab.

We set up a heat lamp over the marble slab to keep things in the workable range, then we took some glass Pyrex™ tubes, heated the ends of them wrapped a blob of sugar around 'em, and started to blow.

It wasn't easy. The sugar tended to develop thin spots and blow out, so you could keep the ball inflated, but not know where the hole was. It was possible to pull out a small flat section and patch the hole, with judicious close use of the heat lamp, but it was quite the struggle.

The technique which produced the best container of the afternoon was hand forming out a sheet of sugar and dropping it over the back of a teacup, which gave this nice slumped dish.

For next time: Now that we've got a bit of a feel for the medium, that even with the softening of the fructose it's still got a fairly narrow working temperature range compared to glass, that blowing requires a hell of a lot of care and attention, and that slumping and forming on some sorts of molds works really nicely (sticks like crazy to metal and ceramic) we need to start with a goal of some sort, and use blown parts as accoutrements to more structural pieces. Maybe, instead of doing the bowls and containers out of sugar, do ornate holders for chocolate bowls, kind of like you might see out of wrought iron...

[ related topics: Dan's Life Food Chocolate ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2006-10-09 21:30:44.110498+00 by: meuon

Wow. Kudos!

#Comment Re: made: 2006-10-11 00:25:25.241404+00 by: topspin

Stating the obvious, marble spheres and such exist. Long ago... in a galaxy far, far away... I knew someone who was really into pyramids and she had a nifty paperweight made out of a marble pyramid. While I'm unsure what use you had in mind for the sugar cups, I could see an inverted pyramid full of whipped cream in a round bowl of strawberries..... probably not exotic enough, but certainly thinking outside of the hemisphere for a container deserves some thought.

#Comment Re: made: 2006-10-11 06:52:43.44414+00 by: ebradway

I think it was a matter of just practicing glass-blowing technique...

Could you blow a sugar Klein bottle? That would be SWEET!

#Comment Re: made: 2006-10-11 12:01:47.881084+00 by: DaveP

There's also doodads as shown in Alton Brown's Citizen Cane episode of Good Eats. But they're more for eating...

(Basically you drizzle a thin stream of caramel onto parchment paper to make spirograph-looking hunks of hard candy - nice ornaments for lots of different desserts)

#Comment Re: made: 2006-10-11 15:17:32.878264+00 by: Dan Lyke

I think one of the problems we were running into is that we were going with walls that were too thin, so with the right heat management and larger clumps of sugar it may actually be possible to blow a sugar Klein bottle. I'll make that a goal.

Next challenge is that I'd love to do some structural stuff. If Diana does next year's Taste of Marin, I'm thinking we need a presentation of some sort, and I was envisioning lacy scaffolds supporting platters of truffles and cookies, but this stuff is pretty danged brittle and shatters easily.

#Comment Re: made: 2006-11-12 19:57:25.734698+00 by: topspin

Into my life this fell this morning as I was googling "erotic creme brulee."

And, from that link, Alinea makes another Chicago trip inevitable.

Why google "erotic creme brulee?".... haiku, of course.

Blowtorch blue eyes blaze
an erotic creme brulee
no fork only tongue

#Comment Re: made: 2006-11-12 20:36:07.915234+00 by: meuon [edit history]

Topspin, who's the lucky girl? Nancy wants to know if she likes popsicles.

#Comment Re: made: 2006-11-13 15:37:26.002508+00 by: Dan Lyke

Perfect application. And, yeah, the Alinea food gallery looks pretty spectacular, although I'm having trouble figuring out what it is that those bacon slices are hanging from in that second to last picture.