I enjoy decorating my cakes with unusual elements and using different techniques. This is a new form of sugar art that I have started using.
Pastillage is porous and dries more rigid and faster than the other edible modeling options.With pastillage, you must work very quickly but the end result is the most sturdy of the sugarcraft mediums. It dries the most rigid of all. It will also take on the least amount of humidity from surrounding features (such as buttercream.)
This "Lightweight" version is for simple things like fence post, or other things that do not have to bear any weight. The photo here shows a poinsetta done with the Lightweight Pastillage. And I am posting a cake I did using Pastillage as a fence. See the Heavy Duty Section for Structural Pastillage & follow same instructions. I have seen structures like a miniature White House built with the Heavy Duty version...No, I haven't built that yet!! LOL
Sift the confectioners' sugar & cornstarch together. (If using the Hard Version, just sift the sugar only.) Put into a mixer bowl & form a well in the center.
In a small saucepan, pour the water and add cream of tartar. Shake the pan to help the cream of tartar dissolve. Then slowly sprinkle the plain gelatin over the top. Do not shake the pan or stir - but just let the gelatin dissolve, takes about 3 or 4 minutes.
Place the saucepan on a heated burner at medium heatl. Heat until it reaches 150F degrees without stirring. The mixture will be clear at this point.
Pour the heated mixture into the well previously made with the confectioners' sugar & stir slowly with a wooden dowel (or the handle of a wooden spoon, using a regular spoon to stir can cause clumping)until all the sugar mixture has been incorporated.
Put on a paddle attachment of the mixer with low speed, mix for one or two minutes. Increase speed to medium and mix until it is lightened and very white. This takes about 3 - 4 minutes.
Remove from the bowl, form a ball and wrap tightly in plastic wrap (room temp on the counter)and let mixture rest for 30 mintues. After the resting period, the mixture can either be kneaded and rolled out for use OR frozen to later thaw overnight in the fridge. When removed from the fridge after thawing, knead and roll for your project.
TO USE: Prepare a work surface by sprinkling cornstarch over it. Rub hands and a rolling pin with cornstarch. Take the pastillage from the plastic and place on the prepared surface. If you want it colored, use gel coloring just before kneading. Knead it until it is smooth (not wet or sweaty).
Roll out to desired thickness adding cornstarch to keep the dough moving and from sticking to rolling pin. Cut with a sharp knife if using a pattern OR if using a mold, cut out a piece slightly larger than the mold, dust the mold with cornstarch and press down.
The pastillage can be sanded, drilled, etc. but you MUST allow it 24 hours to dry completely in the shape you want before you start to work with it.