My brother-in-law is getting married this weekend and I am doing the flowers for the wedding. Back before I wanted to be a baker, I wanted to be a florist. And I was. For seven years. It’s been a while since I’ve done flowers, but I’m looking forward to getting to “play with flowers” again (that’s what people think florists do).
Today I will be heading to the flower market bright and early to pick up my order. At the request of the bride I will be using mostly roses and daisies with a few other flowers added in to jazz things up. After picking up the flowers, I will spend the day making corsages, boutonnieres, and bouquets.
Captain Awesome has a pot luck at work today and asked me to make something that he could take. I’ve had a lot going on this week with the wedding and all, so I wanted to make him something that wouldn’t take a whole lot of time. Cupcakes tend to be my go-to baking item when I need something fast. Since the 4th is next week, I decided to make him some red, white, & blue cupcakes decorated with pastillage stars.
Pastillage (sounds like pas-tee-ahj) is a sugar based dough that is used for creating show pieces as well as decorations for pastries. Pastillage dries very quickly and becomes hard when dry. If you have ever eaten an Altoids mint, Necco wafer, or a conversation heart, then you have had pastillage. A batch of pastillage can be whipped up in a short amount of time using simple ingredients that you might already have in the kitchen.
Pastillage is fairly easy to work with when making simple decorations. The more elaborate pastillage show pieces do require a higher level of skill and patience. For this post, I am showing you how to make simple stars, so if you can handle a cookie cutter, then you can do this.
1 envelope unflavored gelatin (7g)
2.75 oz water
20 oz powdered sugar
2.5 oz cornstarch
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
Begin by placing the water in the bowl of a stand mixer. Sprinkle the gelatin over the water. This is called “blooming” the gelatin. Let the gelatin sit for about 5 minutes.
Sift together the powdered sugar, cornstarch, and cream of tartar. Set up a double boiler. Place the mixing bowl with bloomed gelatin over the double boiler. You want to heat the gelatin just enough to melt it. The gelatin will look clear when it is melted.
Add the sifted dry ingredients to the mixing bowl. Place the bowl on the mixer and mix with the paddle attachment until the dough comes together. Turn the dough out onto a work surface lightly dusted with cornstarch. Work quickly and knead the dough until it is smooth. Double wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it sit about 20 minutes.
Pastillage dries quickly, so it is best to work with a small piece of dough at a time, rather than try to roll it all out at once. Keep any unused dough tightly wrapped until ready to use. If a crust forms on the dough, cut off the crust before using.
When you are ready to cut out your stars (or any shape you desire), roll the dough out onto a work surface lightly dusted with corn starch. Roll the dough fairly thin. Use a cookie cutter to cut out the stars. Place the cut-outs on a sheet tray lined with parchment. The pastillage may require several hours to dry (depending on how hot/humid your environment is). For best results, allow the pastillage to dry over night.
Once the pastillage has dried you can decorate it with royal icing, like I did. Pastillage can also be painted with an alcohol based paint. Of course you can always just leave it undecorated because it is very beautiful in its natural state.
I’ll share flower photos and wedding stories with you next week. I will also announce the winner of the 31 bag next week. Have a great weekend!