“Baking Tips”, is dedicated to hints, little gems of wisdom with things I have discovered to help in the baking process. I hope you find them useful and if you have any of your own to share, I would be delighted to hear from you. I shall be adding them on a regular basis so keep coming back to see what’s new………
1. Petal paste is used for all types of modelling e.g. flowers and other intricate designs.
2. Sugar paste is general purpose and used for flat icing all types of cakes
3. Mix the two types of icing together in equal amounts to make petal paste go further. It can only be used for semi fine work.
4. While working with either paste but more especially the petal paste, keep covered at all times. It will dry out extremely quickly and be impossible to work with. Use cling film or a small polythene bag.
5. Both pastes can, of course, be coloured. Use a good quality paste but use sparingly at first. These pastes are highly effective but very strong and it is easy to ruin a batch of icing by tipping too much colour in. Obviously for deep colours this is not so critical. Remember, you can add more but you can't take it out!!
6. Both pastes can be frozen but will need to be kneaded well when defrosted. If the mix is too dry, add a little white fat (Trex) which will soften the paste.
7. If you don't want to make Confectioners Glue you can use egg white but ensure to give it a light beat first.
8. If you enjoy decorating and want to practice, ice an upturned cake tin and use that!
Roll out a green cone.
Place on a flower nail
Holding the base, snip with scissors as shown to the bottom.
Simulate snow by sieving over icing sugar.
Leave to dry
MAKING SUGAR BELLS
Baking the bells is critical...if they are baked too long the middles cannot be scooped out and if they have not had enough they will collapse as you 'scoop'. Practise makes perfect and the 'scooped out' sugar can be used for more bells or to sweeten a welcome 'cuppa'!!
You will need the plastic bell moulds available to buy on line.
Put some granulated sugar into a bowl. (2 teasps water will do 225 gms sugar)
Add VERY LITTLE water...just enough to slightly dampen the sugar, it should till look granular.
Fill the plastic mould and press in firmly.
Turn out onto a foil covered piece of stiff cardboard by placing downwards with a firm push.
(do NOT use a baking tray as the hot metal will melt the sugar.)
Heat the oven to 75° C and bake as follows:
Small bells 4 -5 mins Med Bells - 9-10 mins Large bells - 15 mins
As soon as they are out of the oven, hold gently in the palm of your hand and scoop out the still soft middles with a sharp knife.
Leave to dry thoroughly before use.
N.B. As well as using on cakes, the larger bells look terrific with a looped ribbon through the top, glitter around the edges (use glue) and hung on the Christmas Tree - they will last for several years!!
INSTRUCTIONS FOR MAKING CHRISTMAS CHOIR BOYS
USE FLOWER PASTE FOR THE CHOIR BOYS AND CHRISTMAS TREES, IT IS MORE ROBUST.
Make a small sugar bell (Instructions above), leave to dry thoroughly.
Roll out red paste as per the shape above - not too thick.
Cut in half (there will be more than you need)
Using confectioners glue wrap around the sugar bell and secure.
Roll out a circle of white paste.
Using a frill cutter press out a circle.
Frill the edges by rolling back and forward with a cocktail stick.
Wrap around the red base ensuring you leave red showing at the bottom and glue.
Make the head by rolling a small ball of flesh colour paste and shape the singing mouth and the eye sockets
Make small hands by rolling 2 small balls in the flesh paste and slightly flattening. Leave a 'tail' that will go in the arms.
Make 2 arms by rolling out 2 small white 'sausages', make a hole in the ends and glue in the hands facing each other.
Glue to the body.
Glue the head into position.
and add a tiny ball of white to the sockets and a blue centre.Make a small songbook using white sugar paste and fit on to the hands.
Finish by piping a ring of rosettes around the neck as a 'collar' and piping or spreading on some 'hair'.