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Pulled Sugar/Casting Sugar Questions

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

Hi all,

I have been trying to learn the art of sugar casting for awhile now and I've come to two questions that books and research haven't really answered for me.

 

First, everyone seems to have varying opinions on the best process to create the longest shelf life of casting sugar. I've heard cooking at higher temps, using tartaric acid, etc. Has anyone out there attempted to test the limits of "shelf life" to see how long a cast will stay before it begins to degrade? If so, would you mind sharing how long you were able to keep yours and what doctoring agents you used, etc?

 

Second, (this may be the dumb question) while I keep playing with various processes to cook and cast the sugar, I've been wanting to figure out if there is a way to cook large batches at once. I've been too afraid to wing it and risk wasting the material, but was hoping there is a trick to cooking larger quantities. Most recipes I come across are only using a few cups of sugar at a time and I would like to figure out the easiest way to make big batches. Is it safe to scale up and if so, to what limit? I wasn't sure if the process would change when I started doing larger batches.

 

I've read both of Bo's books and recently got my hands on Notter's newest book... I've even looked into That's Sugar but didn't want to pay the high prices people ask. Beyond answering my two questions, if there is a book out there you suggest, please suggest it.

 

Thanks!

post #2 of 6

Hello.

 

I wanted to try to clarify a few things. It seems like you say casting sugar when you mean pulled sugar. For your first question, you do need to boil to a high temp, and tartaric acid is usually added to sugar that will be pulled to make it easier to handle. As for sugar that will be cast, simply poured out into a form, that does not need an acid. The addition of an acid makes the sugar more hygroscopic, it will suck in moisture from the air much more easily, and become sticky and crystallize. On the up side, the acid is added to make the sugar easier to handle when pulling or blowing, it stay much more pliable when your working with it. Anyways, specifically to answer your question, the addition of an acid will detract from the shelf life of a piece, not lengthen it, read page 74 of Notters new book.

 

As for cooking large batches, just give it a go, theres no real trick to it. If you making a larger batch of sugar for pulling, just make sure you have a larger pot for boiling it, and a heavy bottom pot at that. In Notters new book, his recipes use what would be just under 5 cups of sugar, that yields quite a bit. Regardless of if your trying to store a piece your working on or just storing sugar you've prepared, you should have some sort of dehumidifying agent sealed up with it.

 

As for the books, I'd personally say you already have the best text to date on pulled and blown sugar, and if not, certainly the most affordable. I personally have found the formulas in Notters book to work much better then in Bo's, which isnt too shocking to me. Theres many formulas in his books that needed some sort of adjustment before that came out properly, among these are his pastillage and sugar formulas.

 

Hopefully all that made sense, I can ramble on at times. But there are many pastry chef's here that are vastly more experienced with sugar work then me, pulled sugar just happens to be a passion of mine.

post #3 of 6

When displaying at shows years ago up North. The piees were made and then placed in huge glass cases for show.. Under the bases of the cases was powdered lime (like used to mark a baseball diamond.  The lime absorbed humidity and moisture in the room and gave the piece a longer shelf life.. When pulling sugar which I call a lost art, you have to "Have it in the hands" and be highly artistic as well as articulate. I have tried it with limited success. I leave it for the real pro's.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

Reply
post #4 of 6

Book suggestions --- anything by Stephane Klein

 

or "Sucre d'art, l'envers du decor" by Glacier

 

"Sugar Artistik" by Fassbind

 

post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 

Thanks to all of you! 

 

Minas, This explains a lot. I had been using pulled sugar recipes from Bo's books under the assumption that it was the same for casting. Clearly I need to keep practicing and reading.

 

I'll keep an eye out for those books and I'll try the lime trick. Is there any other trick to prolonging life that hasn't been mentioned? And what's the longest you all have been able to preserve a piece?

 

I get the new Notter book delivered on monday and cannot wait to read it! Thanks again.

post #6 of 6

Air conditioning helps set high to eliminate most humidity in the air . Moisture build up kills the piece..

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

Reply

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

Reply
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