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sugar-paste-msg – 01/9/08

 

Making sugar paste sotelties. molds. gum tragacanth sources. sugar paste sources.

 

NOTE: See also these files: Sugar-Paste-art, sugar-msg, candy-msg, desserts-msg, Sugarplums-art, Roses-a-Sugar-art, Bakng-w-Sugar-art, Sugarplat-Adv-art.

 

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NOTICE -

 

This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I  have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.

 

This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org

 

I  have done  a limited amount  of  editing. Messages having to do  with separate topics  were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the  message IDs  were removed to save space and remove clutter.

 

The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make  no claims  as  to the accuracy  of  the information  given by the individual authors.

 

Please  respect the time  and  efforts of  those who have written  these messages. The  copyright status  of these messages  is  unclear at this time. If  information  is  published  from  these  messages, please give credit to the originator(s).

 

Thank you,

    Mark S. Harris                  AKA:  THLord Stefan li Rous

                                          Stefan at florilegium.org

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From: fp458 at cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Elise A. Fleming)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Plate that you can eat

Date: 27 Nov 1994 14:28:50 GMT

Organization: Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio (USA)

 

The plate in the original query referred to "sugar plate" or

"sugar paste", mundanely called "gum paste."  It is a dough-like

substance similar to edible play dough made of finely ground sugar,

a liquid (such as rosewater), gum tragacanth ("gum dragon") and

in period, egg white.  The gum and egg white served to strengthen

the mixture which was kneaded until the proper consistency.  It's

a rather forgiving material.  If you make it too moist, you can

add more ground (powdered) sugar.  If too dry, add more liquid.

Virtually any item can be shaped from it.  Period sources (Murrell

in 1598 or thereabouts) say that you can use molds, "tin cutters",

knives, or your hands.  About two years ago my article on sugar

paste was printed in Tournaments Illuminated.  If you want more

specific information, let me know.  For novices, using modern gum

paste  is the easiest way to practice with this medium. Gum paste

can be found in most cake decorating supply stores.

 

The plates and goblets made of this material dry hard enough to hold

liquid and don't dissolve.  However, Murrell warns about keeping

them away from heat.  After the banquet (meaning the dessert course)

the Tudor and Elizabethan diners could toss their dishes and eat the

pieces.  The plates could also be colored and decorated.

 

In Italy (if not in England) sugar paste formed part of large

statues.  It is fairly easy to roll out sections of paste and lay

it over an armature so that one has, for example, a 10'tall

statue covered with sugar!  I'd love to work with someone on a

project like that.  I'm not a sculptor but I sure can do flat work.

 

Alys Katharine

(donor of sugar paste items to Outlands and Middle Kingdom Royalty and

to TFYC)

 

 

From: fp458 at cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Elise A. Fleming)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Plate that you can eat

Date: 27 Nov 1994 14:39:29 GMT

Organization: Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio (USA)

 

I was the Pennsic instructor doing the class on subtleties.  We

have an informal newsletter for the "Interkingdom Guild of Con-

fectioners" which also will tackle cooking questions, comments.

I am the editor.  Subscription fee is $10.00 for 5 issues and

back issues are sent to "catch up" the subcriber to the current

newsletter.  For interested people, checks are to be made to the

Guild and sent to Elise Fleming, 3950 Walter Rd., No. Olmsted,

OH 44070-2111.

 

Elise/Alys Katharine

 

 

From: fp458 at cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Elise A. Fleming)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Plate that you can ea

Date: 10 Dec 1994 10:02:03 GMT

Organization: Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio (USA)

 

Gum tragacanth, cheapest source, is Penn Herb.  Toll free number

is 1-800-523-9971 (presumably for orders over $15).  For orders

under $15, for information, or if you're calling from the 215

area code it's 215-925-3336.  Tragacanth gum is #630.  It comes

in powder form.  One ounce is $2.35, much cheaper than the price

from Sweet Celebrations in Minneapolis.  Four ounces is $7.25

and one pound is $27.50.  There is a shipping charge. Penn Herb

sells all other kinds of herbs and herbal items.  They say they

are "Pennsylvania's Largest Medicinal Herb House."

 

Elise/Alys Katharine

 

 

From: Elise A. Fleming (12/18/94)

To: markh at sphinx

RE>Plate that you can ea

 

Greetings, Stefan!  Did I post you where to find commercial gum

paste mix?  If not, here it is.  You can order it from Sweet

Beginnings, 1-800-328-6722.  They take major credit cards. They

charge the actual shipping cost plus $1.00.  The item is "gum

paste mix" #73318.  It is $3.00 per one-pound package.

 

While I've read that gum paste dries transluscent (even transpa-

rent) I've never found that correct.  It is like a white clay

that you can roll thickly or thinly.  The thinner it is the more

delicate but also the better it drapes.  I haven't worked much

with drapey things.  I've worked with flat objects such as tiles

and plates, as well as constructing boxes (one even contained a

real baronial coronet).  I've also made some flowers, a flower

pot, and several goblets.

 

If you want to get gum tragacanth, I'd suggest the four-ounce

size.  One ounce won't go far and you aren't sure if you want

as much as the one-pound.  Frankly, the only reason to use gum

tragacanth paste is if you want to be thoroughly "in period"

and need to document the work for a competition. Otherwise the

modern stuff is a close approximation.  I'd be glad to give you

the rationale if you need it for competition.

 

Once you practice with the pre-mixed stuff you might want to

try mixing a modern variation with a powder, your own sugar, and

glucose.  All three pastes, tragacanth, pre-mixed, and mix-your-

own feel a little different.  Mix-your-own tends to be a little

more beige.  The period stuff is white.  The pre-mixed is pretty

white.

 

Other things you can do with this are to make plain candies or

wrap almonds in it.  YOu can use molds to make walnuts with a

trinket hidden inside.  If you are a sculptor, you can make

anything that you like with it.

 

I'm talking another person through using gum paste via e-mail.

Hers has been too sticky.  It's a fairly forgiving medium. If

it's too sticky, add more powdered sugar.  If it's too dry,

add more liquid.  Oh, and you can add flavorings, too.

 

Let me know how things go!

 

Alys K./Elise

 

 

From: Elise A. Fleming (12/21/94)

To: markh at sphinx

 

Greetings!  

 

You're right.  It's Sweet Celebrations.  I was going on (increas-

ingly) faulty memory.  I'll post you back this coming Chrismas

weekend on specific period books for sugar paste.  There are at

least two that mention items to be made from it.  None tell you

how to work it.  I found it helpful to get several from the local

library (or county library loan) that gave me help on working

with the paste itself.  Making a flower in period is making a

flower modernly.

 

The gum paste doesn't "seep" around the trinket. It is a solid

and if the paste is so wet that it "seeps" then you can't get

it off your fingers!  In general, I probably wouldn't _push_

the item into the paste.  I'd use a hollow mold such as a walnut

and when the halves dry, place the trinket into the space and

glue the two halves together with egg white or "royal icing".

 

As for coloring, that's worth several postings.  I've begun

(and nearly finished) a list of period colors used in foods, plus

at least one period source that mentions it.  Some of the colors

(coloring agents) were toxic!  You can color the walnut with a

combination of ground cinnamon and nutmeg.  This gets kneaded

into the paste before the shell is made.  You can also paint some

objects.  I've put "shells" onto almonds, colored the paste with

cinnamon, and pricked "holes" into the shells just like an almond

shell.  Then I put the sugar almonds into a bowl with shelled

real almonds.  People kept asking me for the nutcracker!

 

Molds are available from Sweet Celebrations and from other cake

decorating supply stores.  Ours doesn't carry the walnut shell

but I got it from my apprentice who found it in a store in her

city.  You can make your own molds.  At least one of the period

cookbooks tells how, using plaster.  Any modern material might

work just as well

 

I'll look up the books this weekend and post you a list!

 

Alys

 

 

From: Elise A. Fleming (12/26/94)

To: Mark Harris

RE>Confections

 

Greetings!  Tried to send mail yesterday but Freenet wouldn't find

my file.  I'm guessing the whole system was down.

 

You mentioned books that told how warners and sotelties were made.

To my knowledge there are none in period.  There are certainly

descriptions of sotelties that can be found in historical accounts.

Was that what you were interested in?  I have some listings of

those.  One that I recall off the top of my head (Whew! Wondered

what was sitting up there! :) ) listed a crown that shone as if

the jewels were enamel.  I've always thought that the description

made a good case for colored sugar, boiled and cooled to a glass.

The boiled sugar syrup was done in Spain in the 13th c. and is in

Forme of Curye (I believe that's the book) as "sugar plate".  The

existence of "sugar plate" as a boiled sugar syrup poured out into

plate form is why I tend to call what I do "sugar _paste_."

 

If you go rummaging through books on historical foods and check out

subtleties, etc., you'll probably come across a number of examples.

 

You're correct that many books do concentrate on icings. You'd

want to check out "gum paste" or "marzipan."  Sweet Celebrations

carries a number of books, several from England, on the topic but

I think the prices are high.  Everyone charges a lot for these

specialty books.  (Bought one two months ago that I thought was

around $8 and it turned out to be something like $28!  And it was

more like a pamphlet!)  No, they don't do things like fake almonds

and walnuts probably because a) they haven't thought of them, or

b) they're simple and don't need directions.  You need directions

to learn how to cut and roll and shape flower petals.

 

I doubt that you could squeeze sugar paste from a cake decorating

tube.  It would need to be more liquid that it is supposed to be.

First, decorating tubes probably didn't exist within period.  There

is evidence that certain fried cakes were made by putting the

batter into a pan with a hole and removing and replacing a finger

to let the batter drip into the fat.  I haven't seen any evidence

for things like icing to be squeezed out that way.  In fact, icing

as we know it didn't exist within period.  A sugar and liquid (rose

water) icing was made and spread over the tops of some things such

as marchpanes but at least in England it wasn't specified for

cakes (which weren't like our modern cakes either).  The icing

(because it was to resemble "ice") was spread on with a feather

and set into the oven to harden and shine.  Several layers, I be-

lieve, could be added.  No, gum paste/sugar paste was a different

medium.  It is for modeling items to resemble real-life things.

 

Now, I will suggest that you try working with the paste, trinkets,

and molds the way you think it should be done.  You can prove me

wrong!  Which is what I've done to other proclamations by other

people.  If you take a ball of sugar paste, push a trinket into

the middle, and then push this into a shape or mold, I seriously

doubt that you will be able to get the trinket out.  When sugar

paste hardens, it hardens rock hard.  The thicker the paste, the

harder it is to break.  That's why one should roll it thinly.

Second, if the paste were to get in around the edges of a trinket

as it would if you pushed the trinket into a ball of paste, one

(error) once you could break it open you'd then have to carefully

soak the hardened paste from off the trinket where it would main-

tain a death grip.

 

Sugar paste will dry so hard that you can put liquid (cold, not

hot) into a goblet and drink from it.  We tried soaking a piece

of hard paste and after an hour it still hadn't dissolved. If

you want someone to use or play with the trinket, it should go

into a hollow, dried item.  (But, try it and prove me wrong!)

 

Yes, you roll the paste into a thin sheet.  How thin depends on

what you find "workable".  Press the small sheet into the mold,

trim off the edges with a sharp knife and store all the scraps

under a glass or in a plastic bag.  You can knead all the scraps

back together and re-use.

 

You can use egg white or royal icing.  Royal icing (recipes found

in many cake decorating books) is made from powdered sugar and

a liquid.  Use water rather than cream if you're worried about

spoilage.  This is where experience helps.  The resulting

icing needs to be thick, but not too thick.  It should be some-

thing like Elmer's glue.  If it's too thin, it will dribble

down the side of your mold and you'd have to clean it off. A

little would probably remain and spoil the color.  Or, worse,

you'd wipe off some of the surface of the sugar paste as it

began to dissolve.  (Sounds like I'm contradicting what I said

above, but I'm not.  Painting with liquid will dissolve the

top layer of the sugar.  Too much liquid and you have a mess on

your hands.  Too much fiddling trying to get the color just

right and your brush has been gunked up with a sticky sugar/color

mixture.)  Back to joining the stuff.  The "glue" should sit on

top of the edge.  When you press the two edges together some will

probably ooze out.  Take a knife and remove the "glue".

 

Now, as far as egg whites.  There certainly is a scare, isn't

there?  If it bothers you, get powdered egg whites.  This is

available from Sweet Celebrations and other cake decorating supply

stores.  You can mix up some of that without worry.  In fact,

I sometimes use that in making period sugar paste rather than

a fresh egg white.

 

Coloring:  I've experimented with some period colors. Saffron

makes a nice yellow.  Saunders I had problems with.  My appren-

tice Rosamund tried using ground roses which gave a dusky pink.

I use paste food colors.  (Also available from Sweet Celebrations

or any cake decorating store.)  I take a plastic lid (such as

a Cool Whip lid), sprinkle some drops of water on it. Then I

take a small amount of the paste food color and stir it into

a drop of water.  Now, here's where it would be nicer if we

were face-to-face.  You can adjust the shade by using more

color or more water.  HOWEVER!  The more water you use, the

more you will dissolve away a small part of your item. You

can't put on lots of colored water and let it sit there. It

WILL dissolve part of your item and it may not dry well. You

need to use just enough liquid to color the section and soak

in, not stand on top as excess liquid.  

 

You might try using vodka instead of water.  I haven't tried it

by Rosamund says it works well and the vodka evaporates faster

than water, she says.

 

Prior to my painting colors onto the sugar piece I usually

outline the picture/design with a non-toxic black felt marker.

Crayola has some for kids, although now that my pieces aren't

being eaten, I tend to use any medium tip black felt pen. My

personal opinion is that the black outline sets the design

out.  The black line also gives a "buffer" so that you paint

within the lines.  If you're careful, any liquid will soak

_to_ the line, not _past_ the line.  This comes with experience

and by making mistakes.  YOu can cut/scrape away errors with

an Exacto knife, for instance.  You might have to let the color

dry, however, or you could smear it an make a worse mess.

 

Paste food colors are better to work with than liquid food

colors.  You can adjust the amount of liquid in the former.

There also are powdered food colors.  I've tried some but had

little luck with them, although someone else swears they work

better.  They're also generally harder to find than paste

colors.

 

You certainly should be able to cast a cockroach.  Has anyone

in your area worked with the modeling compounds?  Craft stores

carry stuff to make molds with.  I just haven't tried any.

I was wondering if you cooked up spaghetti, laid out the cooked

strands to a certain curve and cut to length, if that might

make a realistic leg.  Spaghetti can be painted.  It dried

(error) dries hard, and would be edible.

 

Well, now!  I've been typing for 47 minutes and haven't sent

you the list of books.  I'll see what I can squeeze in. (I

get one hour per connection!)

 

A clear recipe is in _The Second Part of the Good Hus-wives

Jewell_, Thomas Dawson, 1597.  John Murrell, 1617, _A Daily

Exercise for Ladies and Gentlewomen_, gives lists of things

that can be made with sugar paste.  Other sources include:

_Martha Washington's Booke of Cookery_, transcribed by Karen

Hess, Columbia University Press, 1981.  Recipes date from

mid-1600s.  An excellent book to have, anyhow, for learning

to read Renaissance cookery terms and interpreting what to

do.

 

Gervase Markham, 1615, _The English Huswife_, ed. Michael Best,

McGills-Queens Univ. Press, 1986.

 

Robert May, _The Accomplisht Cook_, 1685

 

Sir Hugh Plat, 1609, _Delightes for Ladies_.  Cariadoc's

"Collection of Medieval and Renaissance Cookbooks" has this.

 

The Lord Ruthuen, _The Ladies Cabinet_, 1655 (Falconwood Press

did a reprint.)

 

Hilary Spurling, _Elinor Fettiplace's Receipt Book_, 1609,

Elisabeth Sifton Books, Viking, 1986

 

W.M., _A Queen's Delight_, 1671, Prospect Books reprint, 1984.

 

Wilton cake decorating books almost always contain sections

on gum paste, fondant, Mexican paste, pastillage.  These are all

similar mediums.  I've got my

five minute warning to get off the system.  What else can

I bombard you with???

 

Alys/Elise

 

 

From: Elise A. Fleming (12/26/94)

To: markh at sphinx

sugar paste

 

Greetings, again!  I have some material that I'd like to see if

I can upload to you (never having done this before by myself).

So, here goes.A partial list of items in period books that were made with

sugar paste.

dishes, trenchers, snakes, snails, frogs, roses, cherries,

strawberries, marigolds, shoes, slippers, keys, knives, gloves,

letters, knots, "jumballs", apples, walnuts, cinnamon sticks,

plates, dishes, cups, marbles, table furnishings, burrage

flowers, pigeons, skulls and bones, capital letters, clasps

and eyes, wax lights, cowslips, primroses, stock gilliflowers,

rabbits, any bird or beast

Methods of making sugar paste items (from period books)

molds carved inwards

double molds (for cherries, strawberries, etc.  Twig is insert-

  ed for stalk)

cut with tin instrument (cookie cutter, query I???)

knife

hand

pincers

tin, wood or stone molds (Murrell says that if you aren't skill-

  ed, you can use a tin mold)

reeds (to wrap candy cinnamon sticks around)

handle of a wooden spoon

A period recipe:  Thomas Dawson, _The Second Part of the Good

Hus-wives Jewell_, 1597, entitled "To make a past of Suger,  

whereof a man may make al manner of fruits, and other fine

things, with their forme, as Plates, Dishes, Cuppes and such

like thinges, wherewith you may furnish a Table."

"Take Gumme and dragant as much as you wil, and steep it in

Rosewater til it be mollified, and for foure ounces of suger

take of it the bigness of a beane, the iuyce of Lemon, a walnut

shel ful, and a little of the white of an eg.  But you must  

first take the gumme, and beat it so much with a pestell in a

brasen morter, till it be come like water, then put to it the

iuyce with the white of an egge, incorporating al these wel

together, this done take four ounces of fine white suger wel

beaten to powder, and cast it into the morter by a litle and

a litle, until they be turned into the form of paste, then

take it out of the said morter, and bray it upon the powder

of suger, as it were meale or flower, untill it be like soft

paste, to the end you may turn it, and fashion it which way

you wil, as is aforesaid, with such fine knackes as may serve

a Table taking heed there stand no hotte thing nigh it. At

the end of the Banket they may eat all, and breake the Platters

Dishes, Glasses Cuppes, and all other things, for this paste

is very delicate and saverous.  If you will make a Tarte of

Almondes stamped with suger and Rosewater of this sorte that

Marchpaines be made of, this shal you laye between two pastes

of such vessels or fruits or some other things as you thinke

good."

Alys's approximations

1 teaspoon lemon juice

2 teaspoons rosewater (or more as needed)

1/2 to one lightly beaten egg white (can use reconstituted

  dried egg white)

1 teaspoon gum tragacanth

up to a pound or so of powdered sugar (4 cups = 1 pound)

Soak the gum tragacanth in the rosewater until it softens.

Mix it thoroughly.  It should become liquidy rather than paste-

like.  Add more liquid (water, rosewater) as necessary. Mix

it with the lemon juice and egg white.  Add the powdered sugar

bit by bit, mixing well.  If it becomes too stiff and there is

a great deal of sugar left, add additional liquid or the rest

of the egg white.  Knead the dough on a board sprinkled with

powdered sugar until the dough is smooth and stretchy. Then

use it to shape what you will.  Keep the unused portions and

all scraps well covered under a glass jar, in a plastic bag,

or under a slightly damp cloth.  (If the cloth is too damp

the paste will begin to dissolve.  Add more powdered sugar

and re-knead.)

WORKING WITH AND PAINTING ON SUGAR PASTE,  A FEW HINTS

1.  Plan ahead!  Sugar paste takes several days to a week or

more to dry thoroughly.  Lay the pieces on waxed paper and turn

them from time to time to allow both sides to dry.  You can also

lay them on styrofoam pieces.   Keep them away from heat and

moisture.

2.  Use waxed paper, a light coating of vegetable oil or Pam, or

a dusting of powdered sugar or cornstarch to help the sugar

paste come out from a mold.

3.  Use non-toxic markers to outline the picture or words you

want on the dried piece.  If the marker "bleeds" you will then

know to be extra careful when applying the color so that it

doesn't bleed out of the lines.

4.  Mix your colors on, for example, a plastic lid.  Some people

prefer to use vodka instead of water.  Use only small amounts of

liquid.  The "runnier" the color is, the more likely it will run

out of the area you are painting.  Let it dry a little and use a

sharp knife to cut out the mistake or to make the edge sharper.

5.  If yours is a display piece, spray it with several coats of

acrylic laquer (available at hobby supply places) to protect

against moisture and people's fingers.  If it is edible you need

to be careful when handling it since your fingers may

accidentally transfer bits of color to other parts of the item.

The same goes for wrapping it in plastic wrap.  Use a clean

piece each time you wrap it up.

6.  Work can be done by freehand or by transferring the pattern.  

Methods of transfer can range from carbon paper (be careful!),

using soft pencil and tracing over that, overhead projector to

project the image in varying sizes, etc.

7.  "Glue" pieces together with egg white or royal icing (egg

white, powdered sugar, liquid).  Smooth over wrinkles and lines

with a small amount of moisture and your finger or other tool.

You can also sand out imperfections or cut them off with a sharp

knife when the piece is dry.

8.  Within reason, the thinner the sugar paste the prettier and

better it looks.  If the item is a bowl, for example, and is

very thin, it may lose its shape if it is exposed to moisture in

the air.  Pennsic nights will damage pieces that have been dried

for years.

Well!  It worked!  (Couldn't find the file, at first). This is

part of my handout on sugar paste and I thought that it might

add to what I sent earlier this morning.  Hope you can plow

through it all!

 

Alys K.

 

 

From: Elise A. Fleming (1/5/95)

To: Mark Harris

RE>sugar paste

 

Greetingss!  The other side of town got its first big snow.  The

news reports were full of closed highways, a 30+ car accident, etc.

I looked out my window, less than 25 miles away from the furor, and

saw grass.  We have an odd weather pattern in this area!

 

Ok.  A "jumball", in all its odd spellings is a "knot."  I would

recommend to you the book _'Banquetting Stuffe'_ edited by C. Anne

Wilson.  It's around $25 and WELL WORTH IT!!  Those of us into

desserts find all sorts of answers.  I found some knot patterns

there.  One sort of knot looks like a pretzel.  There are many

recipes for iumbals (another spelling) in late period or rather

1625-1660 books.

 

As to marbles, I assume it's what one plays with.  I haven't

found any other reference.  But imagine, going to a banquet and

being served an edible hockey puck, or baseball, etc.

 

I doubt, from the way it is worded, that it refers to things made

of marble.  Statues were made of sugar and I have just come across

the proceedings of the Oxford Symposium where some of these are

described in detail.  I hope to include it in an upcoming Confec-

tion newsletter.

 

Period dice?  What about being carved of ivory?  Again, I don't

know.  One of the students made dice out of sugar paste, though,

and had fun playing with them when they dried.

 

Twisting around a reed:  Yup, my guess is as yours.  A reed is

straight and of uniform thickness, and is readily available in

streams.  Twigs are twisty and usually short, with odd projec-

tions.  Reeds were in demand for making calligraphy writing

tools.  Tried making my own once under the tutelage of a Laurel

who makes his own reed pens.  Ri-i-i-ght!

 

Rosewater isn't that hard to find up here.  I go to Middle East

grocery or food stores.  (Biased note:  Finding a _clean_ one

is hard!)  I've been in two, after the one I usually used

closed, and the  shelves were dirty, dusty, and there was some-

thing floating in the rosewater.  So I left.  Might try an

Indian (from India) store also.  Actually, I've grown to like

rosewater.  Generally I use it watered down so it doesn't

strike one as "perfume".  (Got my five minute disconnect warn-

ing again!)

 

Crayola markers say "non toxic" on the box. They only give

you one black per box however.  So, I began using black felt

tip pens because NO ONE WAS GOING TO EAT THAT PARTICULAR

PIECE!  If it is made to be edible, I use the Crayola. There

isn't any flavor that I am aware of.  hardly any black is used

since it is just for outlining.

 

As to the intricate painting:  In period it would have been

the banquetting dishes.  The cover of _'Banquetting Stuffe'_

has one.  These are dishes used for the sweets.  However, my

stuff is SCA stuff, frequently given by royalty to royalty.

So, I do a plate with the kingdom arms, or a period design

with items pertaining to the royalty.  I make plates to look

like the Italian or Spanish Renaissance pottery.  

 

There are some period potteries that will give ideas.  One minute

 

Bye!

Alys

 

 

From: Elise A. Fleming (1/5/95)

To: Mark Harris

sugar things

 

Hello, again.  I just haven't gotten into the mindset that I

should type all this out first and then have the program "auto-

type" it.  Got caught again by that darn one-hour restriction.

 

This will be short.  I just wanted to finish the previous post.

 

Regarding painted objects:  I mentioned that in Tudor and Stuart

times there were wooden (I don't think they were ceramic) plates

with complicated designs.  A picture is on the cover of the book

I mentioned.  Some had verses or other items on the reverse side

and at the end of the banquet the diner had to recite or sing what

was on the reverse side.

 

Most of my painted work is done for display within the SCA rather

than in a medieval context.  I have some postcards from a Pennsic

vendor of the period-style pottery he/she makes.  My plates look

much like them.  There are pattern books for some of the designs.

Dover has one on Renaissance designs and one book shows the

decorated pottery piece.  Other designs I take from manuscripts.

The borders are easily transferable to the border of a plate, a

tile, or a bowl.

 

I had started out trying to make a modern cake look like a

medieval book (made several that had turnable, edible pages) and

made a few cakes that tried to look like manuscripts.

 

Late in period the Italians had a pottery manufacturing business

where they pre-made and decorated the dishes but left the center

blank so they could insert the arms of the the purchaser. I

don't know that the English ever got into this.  The Spanish

and Portuguese also had decorated pottery.  The implication is

that the English didn't, even in Elizabethan times, since it

seemed to be a novelty that they could throw these edible plates

and watch them break.

 

I'v also made a book, the covers of which were sugar paste with

designs pressed into them and "jewels" added. Painted decora-

tions were also used, especially inside the two covers. These

were flat sections with holes put in the sides so that it could

be bound with cord (hand-made lucet cord).  The inside pages

were of wafer (rice) paper and were painted with food colors and

a liquid gold that wasn't edible.  The writing was done with

a fiber tip pen.  I'm not a calligrapher (not much of one, any-

how) so I didn't want to try using calligraphy ink, etc.

Except for the secions where the gold was it _could_ have been

edible.

 

In the SCA we also seem to "split time" -- the real, medieval

world and re-creating things that would have been accepted

there, and the SCA world where no one questions painted plates

and tiles.  I've tried both.  I guess, however, I have more

experience with the latter.

 

I said this would be short and I keep going on.  Time to end.

 

Alys

 

 

Date: Mon, 15 Sep 1997 11:19:57 -0600 (MDT)

From: Mary Morman <memorman at oldcolo.com>

Subject: SC - Gum Tragacanth

 

I was pleased to find gum tragacanth being sold by the very reputable

Dragonmarsh at Worldcon over Labor Day.  You can contact them at:

 

      DragonMarsh

      3737 6th Street

      Riverside, CA  92501

 

      909-276-1116

 

Elaina

 

 

Date: Mon, 15 Sep 1997 16:26:10 -0500 (CDT)

From: alysk at ix.netcom.com (Elise Fleming )

Subject: SC - Gums Arabic and Tragacanth

 

Greetings!  (Drat digest format where it's harder to quote from posts!)

Someone mentioned getting gum arabic and thought other names for it

were gum tragacanth, gum dragon, etc.  No, and no.  Gum arabic isn't

gum tragacanth.  While both are used in cookery, gum tragacanth's

primary use in period seems to have been in making sugar paste (modern

day gum paste).  You can't substitute gum arabic for gum tragacanth.  I

would hypothesize that the reverse would also be true, that one

shouldn't substitute gum tragacanth for gum arabic.  One of

tragacanth's uses is as a strengthener.  Arabic has been used to mix

with colorants so that one can paint them onto foods or confections.

 

When using one or the other, see what the recipe says, then use that

one.  I've been in the presence of sugar paste made with gum arabic.  

'Tain't the same thing!

 

Alys Katharine

 

 

Date: Mon, 15 Sep 1997 16:34:45 -0500 (CDT)

From: alysk at ix.netcom.com (Elise Fleming )

Subject: SC - 13th-Century Andalusian Sugar Candy

 

Greetings!  Here's the recipe (my translation) from the 13th-century

Anonymous Manuscript.  Charles Perry holds the copyright for what is in

Cariadoc's _Collection_ but a bunch of us did the initial translations

from Spanish to English.

 

"Figures dressed in sugar"

 

Cast to the sugar a similar amount of water or rose water and cook

until its height is good.  Tip it over into the mould and make of it

whatever shape is in the mould, in the hidden places and those visible

and whatever it seems on the dish that you want, because it comes out

of the mould in the best way.  Then decorate it with gilt and whatever

you want of it.  If you want to make a tree or a figure of a castle,

cut it piece by piece.  Then decorate it room by room (section by

section) and stick it together with mastic until you complete the

figure you want, if God wills.

 

From this I would assume that moulds of some sort are used.  In England

at a later date moulds would be made of wood or plaster. Wooden ones

would be soaked for up to a day and moulds would come in at least two,

if not three, parts.  Hollow figures were made in England by twirling

the mould overhead or in one's hands.

 

From this recipe one can deduce that models of castles were made, that

trees, furniture, figures were cast or made in some fashion, and that

gilding the figures was done.  There isn't any mention here of coloring

the figures as there is in _Curye on Inglysch_.

 

Alys Katharine

 

 

Date: Fri, 12 Sep 1997 17:52:41 -0500 (CDT)

From: alysk at ix.netcom.com (Elise Fleming )

Subject: SC - A Mixed Bag (So to Speak)

 

Our upcoming Middle Kingdom Coronation will be ably cooked by Master

Basilicus who is attempting a period Italian feast, including as much

period-style decorating of the room as possible.  I am contributing

plates made of sugar (20, if they all dry) based on period Italian

ceramic plates with a central portrait and an outer section of various

designs.  I found a nice book on ceramics with photographs of period

pieces, so I have copied the motifs and used colors from some of the

color photos.  Then I became carried away and added gold. The plates

will be sprayed with acrylic laquer to protect them from moisture and

to allow them to be taken home as souvenirs. Unfortunately, the last

seven are reluctant to dry since we've been having several days of high

humidity (and I'm too cheap to turn on the furnace so early in the

"fall").

 

Alys Katharine

 

 

Date: Tue, 28 Apr 1998 00:13:48 -0400

From: Ceridwen <ceridwen at commnections.com>

Subject: Re: SC - Sugar plate and moulds

 

> Ok, this is a question for everyone out there about sugar PLATE (not

> PASTE) and similar things

> My question is this -- does anyone have any idea what they would

> have used for moulds?  My husband's suggestion is to carve the item

> out of soapstone, then pour a metal mould, but this is a VERY

> non-trivial task.  If this is "THE way it was done" I am willing to

> go to the effort (the joy of marrying a carver!), but I'd rather have

> an intelligent clue first.  If anyone can even point me in the right

> direction I'd appreciate it.

 

Claricia,    Hope this helps, although it is later in period than  your

source. In Delights for Ladies, (1609) Sir Hugh Plat mentions molds of

carved wood, stone or plaster (molded from life) for "printing" of

various stuffs, marchpane paste, sugar paste (made with isinglass or gum

tragacanth. He instructs one to oil wooden molds with sweet almond oil,

and those of stone or plaster with barrows grease.

    I have, I believe the recipe you are working from..."to make sugar

plate" and "to make ymages in sugar" (curye V, 13 & 15 ). However, it is

a photocopy froma class handout, without dates for each source. What is

the date of these recipes, if you have it?

 

Ceridwen

 

> Claricia Nyetgale

>  so many projects, so little time

> <Erin.Kenny at sofkin.ca>

 

 

Date: Tue, 28 Apr 1998 06:41:59 -0500

From: Philip & Susan Troy <troy at asan.com>

Subject: Re: SC - Sugar plate and moulds

 

> From: Erin Kenny <Erin.Kenny at sofkin.ca>

 

> My question is this -- does anyone have any idea what they would

> have used for moulds?  My husband's suggestion is to carve the item

> out of soapstone, then pour a metal mould, but this is a VERY

> non-trivial task.  If this is "THE way it was done" I am willing to

> go to the effort (the joy of marrying a carver!), but I'd rather have

> an intelligent clue first.  If anyone can even point me in the right

> direction I'd appreciate it.

 

I _believe_ (bearing in mind I haven't yet had my dish of tay) that a

sugar plate recipe occurs in Sir Hugh Plat's Delightes for Ladies, and

he suggests making molds from some prepared calcium salt that is

essentially commercial Plaster of Paris. Of course, the sugar plate in

his recipe is uncooked, and so involves less heat than the kind of sugar

work we're doing. But it might be worth trying, if it was sufficiently

dry and oiled.

 

Adamantius

 

 

Date: Tue, 28 Apr 1998 18:55:17 -0500 (CDT)

From: alysk at ix.netcom.com (Elise Fleming)

Subject: SC - Re: Sugar Plate and Moulds

 

Greetings!  A number of the moulds for sugar work were wooden. If using

melted sugar they would be soaked to prevent sticking. Directions vary

on how long they should be soaked in cold water - from two hours (I

think) up to a day.  A number of the moulds were in two or three parts,

tied with string once the melted sugar was added and twirled in the

hands to coat the inside of the mould, leaving the center hollow.  The

making of "sugar plate" in Forme of Curye would seem to imply that the

melted sugar was poured out, possibly within a tin/metal form to make

it form a (square?) plate.  As mentioned, molds  could also be made of

plaster.  I keep looking for the reference that instructs the cook to

press down the lemon/fruit into wet sand, pour in the plaster, and thus

make the mold to cast the sugar in.  I've read it, but I can't find it!

 

Sugar paste could be "printed" in molds, possibly wood or plaster.  One

could also cut shapes out of sugar paste by using a knife or a tin

cutter, which I assume to be like the small tin cookie cutters one can

currently buy in cake decorating supply shops.

 

The Manuscrito Anonimo mentions making a castle of sugar as well as all

its furnishings.  I assume a mold would need to be made. Carving a

wooden mold would seem to be easier than soapstone, would it not??

 

Alys Katharine

 

 

Date: Fri, 1 May 1998 10:08:53 +0000

From: Erin Kenny <Erin.Kenny at sofkin.ca>

Subject: SC - Ymages in suger (with original recipe)

 

>From Curye on Inglische, Part V:  Goud Kokery.

Recipe #15:  Ymages in suger  MS Source: Harl. 2378

 

To make ymages in suger.  And if 3e will make any ymages or any o[th]er

[th]ing in suger [th]at is casten in moldys, sethe [th]em in [th]e same manere

[th]at [th]e plate is, and poure it into [th]e moldes in [th]e same

manere [th]at [th]e plate is pouryde, but loketh 3oure mold be

anoyntyd before wyth a litell oyle of almaundes.  Whan [th]ei are

oute of [th] moylde 3e mow gylde [th]em or colour [th]em as 3e will.

3if 3e will gilde [th]em or siluer [th]em, noynte [th]em wyth gleyre

of an egge and gilde [th]em or siluer [th]em, and if 3e will make

[th]em rede take a litell gum araby, and [th]an anoynt it all abowte

and make it rede.  And 3if 3e will make it grene, take ynde wawdeas

ii penywey3te, | ii penyweyte of saffron, [th]e water of [th]e gleyr

of ii egges, and stampe all wele togeder and anoynte it wyth all.

And if 3e will make it lightly grene, put more saffron [th]erto.  And

in [th]is maner mow 3e caste alle manere froytes also, and colour it

wyth [th]e same colour as diuerse as 3e will, and [th]er [th]at [th]e

blossom of [th]at per of apel schull stand put [th]erto a clowe &

[th]er [th]e stalke schall stand makes [th]at of kanell.

 

The [th] character is the funky character that looks sort of like a

wierd p.  The 3 looks a lot like a 3 in my book.

 

Thank you for all of your suggestions.  I think we are going to try

both wooden and plaster molds.  I guess the first thing I'll do is

try recipe 13 (To make sugar plate), because this recipe builds on

it. (It's going to take my hubby a little while to carve me a mold

anyhow.)

 

Claricia Nyetgale

 

 

Date: Sat, 2 May 1998 06:44:22 -0500 (CDT)

From: alysk at ix.netcom.com (Elise Fleming)

Subject: SC - Clarifying Sugar

 

Greetings.  Claricia wrote:

>Has anyone out there done sugar plate?  I don't mean the paste kind

>of stuff.  I can post the original if it would help, but I have no

>idea how to "clarify" sugar.

 

I will confess that I haven't myself boiled up a sugar syrup and poured

it out to try making plates.  It should be similar to making "stained

glass" for candy windows.  Regarding clarifying sugar, there are

"recipes" in late-period books that say to use the white of an egg.

However, my understanding is that _we_ modern folk don't need to

clarify sugar since the impurities that were in the period sugar are

not there in the modern sugar.  If I recall correctly, there are more

detailed instructions for clarifying sugar in turn-of-the-century

cookbooks.  If someone is wanting to try it, let me know and I will

look in a couple of the early 20th-c. cookbooks that I have.

 

Alys Katharine

 

 

Date: Sat, 27 Jun 1998 01:12:20 +0800

From: Margritte <margritt at mindspring.com>

Subject: SC - Sugar Questions

 

Below are two recipes I used as a basis for a sugar-paste confection

entered in a recent A&S competition. One of the judges made the comment

that "... powdered sugar is not period." My question is, if a late period

recipe calls for "refined sugar" ground in a mortar, why isn't powdered

sugar period? What should I have used instead? This same judge made a

comment on another entry of mine, saying "Brown sugar is not period- the

raw sugar would be great." I'd like opinions from the list.

 

- -Margritte

 

To make Paste of flowers of the colour of Marble, tasting of natural flowers.

Take every sort of pleasing Flowers, as Violets, Cowslips, Gilly-flowers,

Roses or Marigolds, and beat them in a Mortar, each flower by itself with

sugar, till the sugar become the colour of the flower, then put a little

Gum Dragon steept in water into it, and beat it to a perfect paste; and

when you have half a dozen colours, every flower will take of his nature,

then rowl the paste therein, and lay one piece upon another, in mingling

sort, so rowl your paste in small rowls, as big and as long as your finger,

then cut it off the bigness of a small Nut, overthwart, and so rowl them

thin, that you may see a knife through them, so dry them before the fire

till they be dry.

A Queen's Delight or The Art of Preserving, Conserving and Candying,

printed for Nathaniel Brook, 1654.

 

To make Paste Royall-white.

Take a pound of refined sugar beaten and searced and put into an Alabaster

Mortar, with an ounce of Gum dragagant, steeped in Rose water: and if you

see your Paste be too weake, put in more sugar; if too dry, more Gumme,

with a drop or two of oyle of Cinnamon, so that you never deceive your

self, to stand upon quantities: beat it into perfect paste, and then you

may print it with your molds: and when it is dry, gild it, and so keep them.

A Closet for Ladies and Gentlewomen or The Art of preserving, conserving

and candying, printed for Arthur Johnson, 1608.

 

 

Date: Sat, 27 Jun 1998 23:29:16 +0800

From: Margritte <margritt at mindspring.com>

Subject: Re: SC - Competitions?

 

>>3. I can "specialize" to some extent. Right now, I'm on a candy-making

>>kick. It's kinda hard to turn that into a complete feast.

>

>   Course you can.  Advertise it as a medieval candy-fest and I can

>guartunee that there would be a few bookings.  It might not have the

>attendance of Pensic, but it would be - interesting- to see.

>-Sianan

>

>Marina Denton

>sianan at geocities.com

 

Well, let's see here... Looking through some of my recipes I find:

 

To make Collops like Bacon of Marchpane.

Take some of your Marchpane Paste, and work it in red Saunders till it be

red, then rowl a broad sheet of white Paste, and a sheet of red Paste,

three of the white, and four of the red, and so one upon another in mingled

sorts, every red between, then cut them overthwart, till it look like

Collops of Bacon, then dry it.

A Queen's Delight or The Art of Preserving, Conserving and Candying,

printed for Nathaniel Brook, 1654.

 

and...

 

A most delicate & stiffe sugar paste whereof to cast Rabbets, Pigeons, or

any other little birde or beast, either from the life or carued molds.

First dissolue Isinglasse in faire water or with some Rosewater in the

latter ende, then beate blanched almonds as you woulde for marchpane

stuffe, and drawe the same with creame, and Rosewater (milke will serue,

but creame is more delicate) then put therein some powderéd sugar, into

which you may dissolue your Isinglasse beeing first made into gellie, in

faire warme water (note, the more Isinnglasse you put therein, the stiffer

your worke will prooue) the hauing your rabbets, woodcocke, &c. molded

either i plaister from life, or else carued in wood (first annointing your

wooden moldes with oyle of sweete almonds, and your plaister or stone

moldes with barrowes grease) poure your sugar-paste thereon. A quarte of

creame, a quarterne of almonds, 2. ounces of Isinglasse, and 4 or 6. ounces

of sugar, is a reasonable good proportion for this stuffe. You may dredge

ouer your foule with crums of bread, cinnamon and sugar boiled together,

and so they will seeme as if they were rosted and breaded, Leach & gelly

may be cast in this manner. This paste you may also driue with a fine

rowling pin, as smooth & as thin as you please; it lasteth not long, &

therefore it must be eaten within a fewe daies after the making thereof. By

this meanes a banquet may bee presented in the forme of a supper, being a

verie rare and strange deuise.

Delightes for Ladies, by Sir Hugh Plat, 1609.

 

I'm sure there are others as well, so maybe a "complete" feast _could_ be

made out of candies. But I won't be the one to try it  :-)

 

BTW- if any of the characters come out looking strange on your screen, they

are probably long esses.

 

Enjoy!

 

- -Margritte

 

 

Date: Mon, 6 Jul 1998 07:50:05 -0500 (CDT)

From: alysk at ix.netcom.com (Elise Fleming)

Subject: SC - Re: Sugar

 

Adamantius wrote:

 

>Oh, another little snippet. Some sugar paste recipes call for the

>paste to be kneaded and rolled out with some rice flour to keep it

>from sticking to the marble, don't they? I have no idea about

>comparative percentages, but the final product would contains some

>starch, just as it would if using modern confectioners' sugar.

 

Off the top of my head, I can't recall any of the _period_ ones that

say that.  It might be that a) it was assumed you'd do so to prevent

sticking; b) no one thought of it and didn't do so because they made

the paste relatively non-sticky; c) this was a later addition OOP; d)

they used more powdered sugar (see below) e) Alys can't remember well.

 

Now, I _should_ hop up from the computer and flip through some of my

books but... I'm in the middle of double-checking the Pennsic schedule,

so I will postpone it.  Rice flour would be a logical addition but what

_I_ do is sprinkle additional powdered sugar on the board when it gets

sticky.  Without looking at my cookery books, I would hazard that this

might have been done during period rather than using rice flour.  In

fact, I seem to recall (now that the brain cells are activating) that

someone mentioned _not_ to use starch because that ruined it.  Which,

then, would imply that some people _did_ use starch.  I gotta go look

this stuff up!

 

Alys Katharine

 

 

Date: Mon, 06 Jul 1998 13:52:03 -0400

From: Philip & Susan Troy <troy at asan.com>

Subject: Re: SC - Re: Sugar

 

Elise Fleming wrote:

>

> Adamantius wrote:

>

> >Oh, another little snippet. Some sugar paste recipes call for the

> >paste to be kneaded and rolled out with some rice flour to keep it

> >from sticking to the marble, don't they? I have no idea about

> >comparative percentages, but the final product would contains some

> >starch, just as it would if using modern confectioners' sugar.

>

> Off the top of my head, I can't recall any of the _period_ ones that

> say that.  It might be that a) it was assumed you'd do so to prevent

> sticking; b) no one thought of it and didn't do so because they made

> the paste relatively non-sticky; c) this was a later addition OOP; d)

> they used more powdered sugar (see below) e) Alys can't remember well.

 

One example I have on hand is Harl. 2378 (see Goud Kokery, all you

manuscriptally challenged), which has  a _cooked_ sugar plate recipe,

calling for a dusting of rice flour from a bag like the rosin bag used

by a baseball pitcher. Used the same way, like a powder puff, shooting

out a fine spray of flour on impact. It may or may not have been used in

the later, uncooked versions, but it wouldn't be unreasonable if it

were. Of course, not being shocked if something occurred is not the same

as saying it occurred, but it's s start.

 

> Rice flour would be a logical addition but what

> _I_ do is sprinkle additional powdered sugar on the board when it gets

> sticky.

 

Even granulated sugar is used this way by modern confectioners,

especially for puff pastry. How old the technique is, I couldn't say.

Just about anything that will coat the surface of the putatively sticky

stuff without itself becoming sticky ought to work. I've done this with

sugar, grated cheese, cocoa, paprika, salt, etc. Ultrafine sugar,

unmixed with starch, doesn't seem to work as well, though, so it is an

interesting question as to whether the technique of using modern,

adulterated confectioners' sugar is derived from using starch or sugar.

I did find it interesting to see that it was rice flour, but not

amydoun, a more easily available starch, being used. Possibly a more

neutral flavor?

 

> Without looking at my cookery books, I would hazard that this

> might have been done during period rather than using rice flour.  In

> fact, I seem to recall (now that the brain cells are activating) that

> someone mentioned _not_ to use starch because that ruined it.  Which,

> then, would imply that some people _did_ use starch. I gotta go look

> this stuff up!

 

Ye Olde Exceptionne Thatte Proveth Ye Rule...;  )

 

Adamantius

 

 

Date: Thu, 10 Sep 1998 19:19:41 -0500 (CDT)

From: alysk at ix.netcom.com (Elise Fleming)

Subject: SC - Re: OOP?  Candy Bubbles

 

Greetings!  The original poster included a line from the "expert" to

the effect of "Don't try this at home".  I suspect it was because the

process is a bit more complicated than it seems, plus the possible

danger of working with melted sugar.  I found, purely by accident at a

Borders outlet store, _Sugar Work_ (Blown- and Pulled-Sugar Techniques)

by Peter Boyle.  He shows the equipment needed and the processes used

for making a variety of things from blown (and pulled) sugar, including

stemmed glassware, fruits, large and small vases, etc. The book is

fascinating and gives one a bit of respect for such fanciful work.

 

As to "period"?  I _think_ there is evidence for pulled sugar, at

least, in late period (Italy).  Don't know if blown sugar might have

been done.  The molten sugar syrup was known (Curye on Inglysch, plus

the 13th c. Anonymous Andalusian cookbook), and glass blowers existed.

Did they put the two together?  One would have to do a bit more delving

into the descriptions of feasts and banquets in Italy.

 

Alys Katharine

 

 

Date: Fri, 11 Sep 1998 10:21:16 +1000 (EST)

From: The Cheshire Cat <sianan at geocities.com>

Subject: Re: SC - OOP(?)Candy Bubbles

 

I don't remember anything about glycerin involved, and, other than the

>dangers involved in dealing with hot sugar syrups, it didn't appear all that

>difficult. Could be fun to try! At a guess, a couple of feet of brass tubing

>would probably work fairly well..........

>

>            Ldy Diana

 

  The glycerine supposedly gives the mixture a small amount of elacticity

(I think that's how you spell it).  It's also used in cake decorating in

Royal icing to help it keep it's shape better.  I think that adding it to

the sugar would make the sugar easier to 'blow'.

  As for the technique, I had the opportunity to do it once.  I wasn't very

good at it. It's a lot like blowing glass.  I've seen a glassblower make a

wren out of melted sugar.  It looked so pretty.  It's fun, but beware of

the hot sugar. I had blisters galore after this small experiment.  Also,

Sugar cools a lot quicker than what glass does, so you have to work very

quickly.  If you don't, the sugar will set and of you work too quickly, the

blown figure will explode showering a quite amazing distance with shards of

sugar of varying temperatures.

 

Just and educated guess about the glycerine and what I've seen of this

technique.  As I said I've only done it one, and badly, so I'm in no way

and expert.  I get better techniques with royal icing.

 

- -Sianan

**************************************************************************

Marina Denton

sianan at geocities.com

 

 

Date: Thu, 10 Sep 1998 22:12:44 -0400

From: Phil & Susan Troy <troy at asan.com>

Subject: Re: SC - OOP(?)Candy Bubbles

 

The approved material for the tube is either pyrex or wood, based on what I've

seen, and they are available at better restaurant supply houses. I suspect the

metal tube motif was introduced as something that would be easily available,

if not exactly ideal for the job. The pyrex or glass ones are really

odd-looking, with various bulges and constrictions... like you should be

playing music on them.

 

Adamantius

 

 

Date: Thu, 10 Sep 1998 22:06:36 -0400

From: "Alma Johnson" <chickengoddess at mindspring.com>

Subject: Re: SC - Candy Bubbles - rambling

 

OK, the article, which appears in the wedding issue of MSL, cake section,

shows a hand pump(rather pipette like) and refers to the hand pumping of air

into the sugar mass in order to form the bubble.  No lips seem to be

involved, but that wasn't a foolish concern, Brenna.  It mentions glycerine

as an ingredient and says nothing about why, although the elasticity thing

is pretty much what I figured would be the reason for its addition.  The

article definitely mentions the use of a torch, although where in the

process is not mentioned.  Mistress Aethelwyn, our resident candy maker and

myself decided to approach Mistress Christiana in hopes of enlightenment

because she is a clasically trained chef.  She figured that the torch would

be used to maintain the sugar mass at a working (elastic) temperature, as

"blowing" would cool it down and harden it. Many thanks to Alys Katherine

for mentioning her find - I've already got Borders online doing an out of

print search for it.  Any other info, leads, etc. are most welcome.  We will

also be trying to document the technique, but I'm afraid that the concept of

glass blowing meets confectionary probably won't hold.  I am a glazier, and

at least at my end of things, there's no crossover from windows to cooking,

at least not directly.

 

Thanks for all the input on this topic so far, and thanks to Mistress

Christiana for wasting no time getting this out to the list. Gosh, I don't

suppose I could use a jewelers torch on sugar, whaddaya think Cariadoc?

 

Rhiannon Cathaoir-mor

on way too much benadryl thanks to thousand year old eggs

 

 

Date: Fri, 11 Sep 1998 09:19:25 -0400

From: Phil & Susan Troy <troy at asan.com>

Subject: Re: SC - Candy Bubbles - rambling

 

DianaFiona at aol.com wrote:

> chickengoddess at mindspring.com writes:

> << Gosh, I don't

>  suppose I could use a jewelers torch on sugar, whaddaya think Cariadoc?

>

>    Why not? It's fairly common practice to use a small torch in professional

> kitchens to carmelize the sugar on creme brulee--I've even done it myself. And

> I'd think that a stationary torch, such as the one you use for lampworking,

> would be ideal. I'd want to have both hands free to use on the blowpipe,

> myself...... ;-)

 

One thing to be careful of, though, is that a torch produces a somewhat

pressurized flame, and while it's pretty easy to compensate for that, I

believe the most common tool I've seen used for the job is an alcohol lamp.

There's a little ni-chrome wire gadget, like the inside of your toaster, they

use for cutting the pieces.

 

Adamantius

 

 

Date: Sat, 12 Sep 1998 00:13:03 -0500

From: allilyn at juno.com (LYN M PARKINSON)

Subject: Re: SC - OOP(?)Candy Bubbles

 

>>Of course, as Adamatius and others mentioned, another material would be

better, but for an easy-to-find material to experiment with, a metal pipe

should do.<<

 

One of my Dad's antique purchases in Japan or Korea was a brass pipe.  It

had a fairly short stem, and the mouthpiece was cork, fitted over the

brass end.  Could you hollow out a wine cork, slip it over your candy

tube, and be safer in the kitchen?

 

Allison

 

 

Date: Thu, 17 Sep 1998 16:09:43 -0500 (CDT)

From: alysk at ix.netcom.com (Elise Fleming)

Subject: SC - Re: Elizabethan Buffet

 

Sir Gunthar wrote:

>I'm doing a buffet for a friend who is sitting vigil for his Laurel.

>Since he is VERY Elizabethan I decided to try to make his buffet as

>much in keeping with his personna as possible.

 

Don't know why I didn't think of this earlier... A sugar paste plate

decorated with his arms and a laurel wreath with perhaps his name and

date of elevation around the rim.  Other Elizabethan designs, motifs,

can be painted on.  The effect is to make something like one of the

decorated dessert plates that are illustrated on the front of

"Banquetting Stuffe".  These were used at the Elizabethan "banquets"

(dessert courses) and frequently had a poem or song on the back side

that the recipient had to sing/recite, etc.  For a keepsake, spray it

with acrylic laquer or varnish.  How far into the future is this

vigiling?  Is it at least a month away?  Could you e-mail me privately,

O Glorious Baron-ic Knight??

 

Alys Katharine

 

 

Date: Sat, 19 Sep 1998 08:14:29 -0500 (CDT)

From: alysk at ix.netcom.com (Elise Fleming)

Subject: SC - Re:Elizabethan Buffet:  Sugar Paste Roundels

 

Gunther and I wrote:

>> Could you e-mail me privately, O Glorious Baron-ic Knight??

 

>I could email this privately but I'm sure you'll get a lot of "Hey! No

>fair! You told HIM how to do it!" messages and I wouldn't want to do

>that to you.

 

Well... Actually, if the vigil had been, say, two-three weeks from now

I was going to volunteer to make one for you if you'd send me his arms.

:-)  The plates ship okay... I sent 12 out to the SCA 25th Anniversary

a few years ago and they arrived okay.  For hints and some

instructions, check out my letters to Stefan which he has posted in his

Florilegium.  If it is next week, you should make the plate _now_, if

you want to do one.  It will take 3-4 days (or more) to dry, depending

on how thick or thinly you roll the paste.  I just found a reference to

square plates (round) approx. 12-14 cm.  I usually make my square

plates 5" but it wouldn't be too difficult to make something larger, if

desired.

 

The painting can be done with regular illuminator's colors, or cake

decorating paste colors with a dab of water.  If you make the plate,

and your Lady wants to use paste colors, check the Florilegium or post

me and I'll give some hints.

 

Anyone else want to dabble with sugar paste??  We need more in the

world!

 

Alys Katharine

 

 

Date: Wed, 23 Sep 1998 21:39:12 -0400

From: Phil & Susan Troy <troy at asan.com>

Subject: SC - Ave Maria runtime and sugar - long

 

Cindy Renfrow wrote:

> 13 To make suger plate. Take a lb. of fayr clarefyde suger and put it in a

> panne and sette it on a furneys, & gar it sethe. And asay [th]i suger

> betwene [th]i fingers and [th]i thombe, and if it parte fro [th]i finger

> and [th]i thombe [th]an it is inow sothen, if it be potte suger. And if it

> be finer suger, it will haue a litell lower decoccioun. And sete it [th]an

> fro the fyr on a stole, & [th]an stere it euermore with a spature till it

> tourne owte of hys browne colour into a [3]elow colour, and [th]an sette it

> on [th]e fyre ageyn [th]e mountynance of a Aue Maria, whill euermore

> steryng wyth [th]e spatur, and sette it of ageyne, but lat it noght wax

> ouer styfe for cause of powrynge. And loke [th]ou haue redy beforne a fair

> litel marbill stone and a litell flour of ryse in a bagge, shakyn ouer

> [th]e marbill stone till it be ouerhilled, and [th]an powre [th]i suger

> [th]ereon as [th]in as it may be renne, for [th]e [th]inner [th]e platen

> [th]e fairer it is. If [th]ou willt, put [th]erin any diuerse flours,

> [th]at is to say roses leues, violet leues, gilofre leues, or any o[th]er

> flour leues, kut [th]em small and put [th]em in whan [th]e suger comes

> first fro [th]e fyre. And if [th]ou wilt mak fyne suger plate, put [th]erto

> att [th]e first sethying ii unces of rose water, and if [3]e will make rede

> plate, put [th]erto I unce of fyne tournesole clene waschen at [th]e fyrst

> sethying."

 

I think I see what's happening here. We are treating this recipe like a modern

candy recipe, most of which tend to involve making a syrup of sugar and water,

and cooking it to a certain stage/temperature. I don't believe that's what's

happening here. I ran across this same problem when experimenting with anise

in confit, from, incidentally, the same manuscript source as this appears to

come from.

 

What this recipe tells us to do is not to make a syrup, which might well take

20-30 minutes or more to cook to the hard crack stage, or whatever the

original cook/author has in mind. It tells us to melt the sugar, which could

admittedly take a long time over very low heat if we want to avoid burning or

even excessive caramelization. I gather pot sugar has more water and

impurities in it than finer grades, which might mean fine sugar needs to be

cooked a little less, hence the reference to the lower decoction.

 

We are then to remove the candy pot from the fire, allowing it to cool a bit,

stirring it, probably, so a) it cools evenly, b) so air bubbles can get in it

and make it a bit on the opaque side, and c) so tiny crystals will form in it,

finishing the job of making the syrup an opaque yellow goo instead of a clear

colorless or amber syrup.

 

By this time we have a pretty stiff, taffy-like goo. Not something we can

easily pour into molds or on a slab. What do we do? We put it back on the

fire. If the rather similar instructions in the confit recipe are anything to

go on (they also fail to mention adding any water, and apparently call for a

rather brief cooking time), we only need to heat our goo until it is

semi-runny again. As in, maybe half a minute or less. We stir it constantly to

detach solid bits from the pan and keep it from burning.

 

This brings us back to the Ave Maria, which takes, coincidentally, half a

minute or less to recite. (I've been unable to find a Catholic, including a

local parish priest, aware of a Marian ritual or anything else that might

require 25 or 30 minutes to run through.)

 

By this time the syrup, which is still quite hot after all, if not at its

original 225 degrees or above, Fahrenheit, will most likely be pourable.

 

Now, this recipe does mention the addition of some water, but it is an

optional step, and what it would affect is the time for cooking our goo in the

initial stages, which is determined, more or less, by the test of whether it

will spin a cleanly snapping thread from the fingers. This test is something

I've seen before in candy recipes. (BTW: you are supposed to dampen your

fingers before doing this, unless you want a serious burn!) By the time we get

to our Ave Maria stage, our cooked sugar mass is pretty close to being

anhydrous, so I can't imagine why cooking it for 30 minutes more would have

any desired effect.

 

Adamantius

 

 

Date: Wed, 17 Feb 1999 16:41:50 -0600 (CST)

From: alysk at ix.netcom.com (Elise Fleming)

Subject: SC - Re: Recipe from Murrell

 

Lucretzia wrote:

>By Gum-dragon I would say they mean Dragonsblood, which is  today and

>has been since ancient times, an East Indian shrub known as Dracoena

>draco, and the pigment is the dried resin sap of the plant.

 

I disagree.  Gum-dragon is gum tragacanth in modern life, and is used

in sugar paste recipes as part of the ingredients.  It is identified as

"a gum obtained from various Asian or Easst European leguminous plants

(genus Astragalus, esp. A. gummifer) that swells in water and is used

in the arts and in pharmacy."  It is not a pigment and has no coloring

of its own.  In modern gum paste, substitutions for gum tragacanth are

used such as gum karaya, which is cheaper, but has a slight pinkish

cast.

 

Alys Katharine

 

 

Date: Sat, 01 May 1999 12:35:10 -0400

From: Philip & Susan Troy <troy at asan.com>

Subject: Re: SC - Sugar Plate sculptures

 

"Amanda B. Humphrey" wrote:

> I am entering sugar plate sculpture as well and

> am working with it as I type.  Does anyone have any suggestions on how to

> mold the sugar without it sticking to my hands?  I am using the cold mix

> recipe from the Good Hus-Wives Jewell and molding it has become a thorn in

> my side for which I can find no relief.  I am simply trying to create a

> setting for a table:  A large plate, a small plate, a bowl, a finger bowl,

> and a goblet.

 

Period solutions to this problem (which can be avoided to a great extent

by having just the right amount of sugar and other ingredients to water)

include light dustings of rice flour (just as you might now use flour or

starch in pastry work) or a light coat of almond oil on hands and work

surfaces. The latter would be simply oil pressed from almonds, not an

essential flavoring oil.

 

Some recipes recommend using a muslin bag, such as baseball pitchers use

for rosin, to apply the rice flour. You just tap it on your work surface

and it leaves a light, even coating.

 

Adamantius

 

 

Date: Sat, 01 May 1999 20:18:03 -0400

From: Diana Haven <tantra at optonline.net>

Subject: Re: SC - Sugar Plate sculptures

 

"Amanda B. Humphrey" wrote:

>   I am entering sugar plate sculpture as well and

> am working with it as I type.  Does anyone have any suggestions on how to

> mold the sugar without it sticking to my hands?  I am using the cold mix

> recipe from the Good Hus-Wives Jewell and molding it has become a thorn in

> my side for which I can find no relief.  I am simply trying to create a

> setting for a table:  A large plate, a small plate, a bowl, a finger bowl,

> and a goblet.

 

I have found that if I keep a small bowl of cold water and ice near at hand, it

works well.  After each 'moulding' move, I dip a few fingers into the frigid

water and wet my hands.  This has worked well even making pignoli cookies.

 

Diana

 

 

Date: Sun, 2 May 1999 11:06:24 -0500 (CDT)

From: alysk at ix.netcom.com (Elise Fleming)

Subject: SC - Re: Sugar Plate Sculptures

 

Greetings! Amanda wrote:

>I have yet another question.  I am entering sugar plate sculpture as

>well and am working with it as I type.  Does anyone have any

>suggestions on how to mold the sugar without it sticking to my hands?

>I am using the cold mix recipe from the Good Hus-Wives Jewell and

>molding it has become a thorn in my side for which I can find no

>relief.  I am simply trying to create a setting for a table:  A large

>plate, a small plate, a bowl, a finger bowl, and a goblet.

 

First, try looking in Stefan's Florilegium.  He posted a number of my

pieces of correspondence with him on how to work with sugar paste.

Second, your paste must be too wet if it is sticking to your hands.

 

Questions:  Did you find gum tragacanth which the recipe calls for?

Gum arabic is not a substitute.  Can you roll out the paste without it

sticking to your surface and rolling pin?  If not, it's too wet and

needs more sugar.

 

Comments:  I've made the items above and some of them were the very

dickens to work with.  I found that if I used waxed paper to line the

"mold", I could then remove the paste with little problem.  Hint:  For

round items, like a bowl or plate, you will need to cut diagonal lines

in towards the center so the paper folds into a round shape rather than

wrinkling into one.  This is also how I moulded the goblet "bowl".  For

the stem, I used a dowel rod as an armature and wrapped the paste

around it.  When the cup part and stem part were dry, I attached them

using egg white and  more sugar paste.  I covered the join with a snake

of paste, poked a pretty design into it, and then let that dry.

 

More comments:  You may need to experiment to find the ideal thickness

(thinness) of the paste.  One of my apprentices made a paper-thin bowl

which I was to take and show off.  Unfortunately, being so thin, it

easily absorbed moisture from the air and began to sag after a number

of days, losing its bowl shape.  However, if the paste is too thick it

will look clumsy.

 

For a plate:  I rolled out the paste to the desired thinness and laid a

template on top.  Then I cut around the template.  Be careful... A

sawing motion will stretch the paste and make the end result lopsided.

I laid the paste onto the waxed paper on my plate-mold and fiddled with

the edges to give the shape I wanted.  You will find that cutting the

paste will probably result in some roughness on the edge. You will

need to decide how you want to cover up (or smooth out) that roughness.

After the paste has begun to dry well enough, and will keep its shape,

I remove it and let it finish airdrying.  After a day or two, I take

off the waxed paper, turn it upside down, and let that part finish

drying.  Problems:  If the plate or bowl is fairly curvy, you will need

to be sure that the weight of the paste doesn't slowly flatten it out

as it finishes drying.  Laying it upside down over another bowl can

help.

 

Does this give you any ideas?  Again, if it's sticking to you, it's too

wet.

 

Alys Katharine

 

 

Date: Tue, 4 May 1999 18:07:13 +0100

From: Christina Nevin <cnevin at caci.co.uk>

Subject: SC - Re: Sugar Plate Sculptures

 

Lady Bebhinn said:

>Thank you very much.  It was indeed too wet.  and I made another error

>(Please don't laugh) I was using regular granular sugar.  I didn't realize

>that it was powdered until I had already made quite a mess.

 

>Thank you for the other suggestions.  They are a great deal of help for a

>project that I will NEVER attempt again!  :>

 

Oh no, don't be discouraged! I made exactly the same mistake the first time

I tried sugar plate - and I must admit to having been greatly disappointed

when the next batch came out like fine porcelain rather than clear glass

(no, science is not my strong point!). It's one of those things that just

'click' and you think "why was I fretting, it's not so bad after all."

Honestly, it gets easier, and there are just so many things you can do with

it. I'm currently constructing sugar paste crowns for a presentation at

Drachenwald's Coronation in June. I made them in three pieces, and am going

to paint them with saffron and attach glace fruits etc to them. The centres

will be filled with sugar paste dragon's teeth, gingerbrede and biscuit fir

trees, laurel leaves and dragons scales (for the Drachenwald device) and

oakleaves (for TRH Matthew and Anna Blackleaf's devices).

 

Lucretzia

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Lady Lucrezia-Isabella di Freccia   |  mka Tina Nevin

Thamesreach Shire, The Isles, Drachenwald | London, UK

 

 

Date: Fri, 11 Jun 1999 03:07:04 EDT

From: LordVoldai at aol.com

Subject: Re: SC - Re: sugar paste

 

you should be able to get gumtex (comercial name) from a michaels or MJ

designs or any other hobby store that carries cake decorating supplies.

wilton's has it in their stock of regular stuff at hobby stores. saves on

shipping costs and time.  ok ok ok so i'm jewish!!!

 

voldai

 

 

Date: Fri, 11 Jun 1999 14:07:45 -0500 (CDT)

From: alysk at ix.netcom.com (Elise Fleming)

Subject: SC - Re: Sugar Paste

 

Greetings!  Someone mentioned using gumtex for sugar paste and I wanted

to clarify matters for folk who haven't worked with the stuff.  Gumtex

is a brandname for the strengthening gum used in modern gum paste

(sugar paste).  It's the modern equivalent of gum tragacanth.  It is of

a slightly pinker cast than gum tragacanth, and is usually gum karaya.

It's much cheaper than tragacanth, but for taste, the period recipe

with tragacanth is nicer, and is also much whiter.  The packaged stuff

to which one just adds water for "instant" gum paste is not Gumtex.

Gumtex is one of several ingredients (powdered sugar, glucose, egg

white) that make up a modern gum paste mixture.  You buy the Gumtex and

the glucose separately and mix everything together. Recipe is on the

Gumtex container.

 

The package I use (and seems to be the cheapest) is called "gum paste

mix" and is made by CK Productus, Fort Wayne, IN 46825.  The number on

the package is 77-201.  The ingredients are confectioners' sugar, egg

albumen, dry corn syrup solids, cornstarch, and vegetable gums.  There

is a recipe on the package (which I generally ignore since I make up

the whole package at one time).  My cake decorating store sells the one

pound package for $2.29.  Hope this clarifies!

 

Alys Katharine, home two hours on summer break and I've already taken a

one hour nap!

 

 

Date: Tue, 15 Jun 1999 17:44:14 -0500 (CDT)

From: alysk at ix.netcom.com (Elise Fleming)

Subject: SC - Re: Sugar Paste

 

Greetings.  A forwarded post from Jeannette read:

 

>So Christy, is this sugar paste something one uses to make sugar

>plates and bowls?  (snip)  Can they be painted and can they

>actually be eaten?  I still want to try the blown bubbles of sugar but

>I think that is a different compound .

 

One of the problems is that two different items were called sugar

plate, historically.  Sugar paste is modernly known as gum paste.  In

the Tudor/Elizabethan/Stuart cookery books it is also called sugar

plate (as well as several other names).  Form of Cury (from the 1400s)

has a recipe for sugar plate.  This was not the same as the sugar/gum

paste of the Elizabethan times.  The sugar plate was a melted sugar

syrup that was poured out to form a plate and then colored.  There is

at least one recipe in the 13th Century Anonymous Andalusian cookery

book in Cariadoc's collection that is also similar to the sugar plate

of Form of Cury.  The instructions (from my memory) are to pour the

boiled sugar syrup into molds so that one can form a castle and all its

furnishings.

 

This boiled sugar syrup continued to co-exist with what we know of as

sugar/gum paste.  There are Elizabethan recipes to make hollow fruits,

etc., with wooden or plaster molds and then colored.  Some of the

colors were painted on.  Some were incorporated into the original

mixture.

 

There are numerous books today on working with gum paste. Books that

deal with pastillage or Mexican gum paste are similar.  I found a

delightful book entitled _Sugar Work_ (Blown- and Pulled-Sugar

Techniques), by Peter T. Boyle, Van Nostrand Reinhold, NY, 1992; ISBN

0-442-01350-7 for the paperback version.  It was also printed by

Chapman and Hall (London), Thomas Nelson Australia and Nelson Canada.

The "blown bubbles of sugar" that Jeannette refers to are probably this

stuff.  The cover of the book has two blue stem goblets that I thought

were glass for quite a while!

 

Jeannette queries about eating the stuff.  Sugar/gum paste can be eaten

but the modern product does not have quite as nice a flavor as the

period product made from rosewater and tragacanth. Edibility is also

dependent on how thick the piece is and what coloring agents might have

been used on it.  Period sugar plate had some toxic colors used on it

which sometimes were recognized as toxic and sometimes not.   In

general, the colors used by the period (Elizabethan) limners were

painted onto the plates.

 

All types of items were made from the sugar paste.  These are some of

the items listed in period cookery books:  dishes, shoes, walnuts,

skulls and bones, trenchers, slippers, cinnamon sticks, capital

letters, snakes, keys, plates, clasps and eyes, snails, knives, wax

lights,frogs,gloves, cups, cowslips, roses, marbles, primroses,

cherries, knots, table furnishings, "burrage" flowers, strawberries,

"jumballs", pigeons, stock gilliflowers, marigolds, apples, rabbits,

any bird or beast.

 

Alys Katharine

 

 

Date: Wed, 16 Jun 1999 10:55:49 -0500 (CDT)

From: alysk at ix.netcom.com (Elise Fleming)

Subject: SC - Re:Sugar Paste

 

Lord Voldai asked if the Form of Cury stuff was "a hard crack clear

sugar candy".  I would guess that it was.  Here's the recipe from the

Andalusian cookery book ("Cast Figures of Sugar"):

 

"Throw on the sugar a like amount of water or rosewater and cook until

its consistency is good.  Empty it into the mould and make of it

whatever shape is in the mold, in the places of the "eyebrow" and the

"eye" and what resembles the dish you want, because it comes out of the

mould in the best way.  Then decorate it with gilding and whatever you

want of it.  If you want to make a tree or a figure of a castle, cut it

piece by piece.  Then decorate it section by section and stick it

together with mastic until you complete the figure you want, if God

wills."

 

I have modernized some of the spelling, but here is the recipe from

Curye on Inglysch:  #13, Goud Kokery, "To make sugar plate.  Take a lb,

of fayr clarefyde suger and put it in a panne and sette it on a furneys

& gar it sethe.  And asay thi suger between thi fyngers and thi thombe,

and if it parte from thi fynger and thi thombe than it is inow sothen,

if it be potte suger.  And if it be fyner suger, it will have a litell

lower decoccioun.  And sete it than fro the fyr on a stole, & than

stere it evermore with a spature till it tourne owte of hys browne

colour into a yelow colour, and than sette it on the fyre ageyn the

mountynance of a Ave Maria, whill evermore sterying wyth the spatur,

and sette it of ageyne, but lat it noght wax over styfe for cause of

powrynge.  And loke thou have redy beforne a fair litel marbill stone

and a litell flour of ryse in a bagge, shakying over the marbill stone

till it be overhilled, and than powre thi suger theron as thin as it

may renne, for the thinner the palten the fairer it is. If thou willt,

put therin any diverse lfours, that is to say roses leves, iolet leves,

gilofre leves, or any other flour leves, kut them small and put them in

whan the suger comes first fro the fyre.  And if thou wilt make fyne

suger plate, put therto att the first sethying ii unces of rose water,

and if ye will make rede plate, put therto i unce of fyne tournesole

clene waschen at the fyrst sethyinge."

 

The hint as to the proper temperature of the sugar is to draw it

between the thumb and finger.  Since this is fairly long, I will send a

subsequent post with some information I've compiled on the different

stages/temperatures of sugar.

 

Alys Katharine

 

 

Date: Mon, 28 Jun 1999 13:41:52 -0500

From: Mike  Young <uther at lcc.net>

Subject: SC - strengthening sugar sculpture

 

I've been to the florigium and can't find the answer to this question so I

would appreciate any advice.  I have made(and broken)2 sugar trays(using

granulated sugar, water and egg whites).  How do I make them stonger?   I

need to be able to transport them to an event without breaking.

Thicker?(these have been about 1/8 to a 1/4 in. thick) Thinner? Different

recipe? Something I'm just not getting? I'm pretty desperate...I think I

have sugar in places it shouldn't be...<g>

gwyneth

 

 

Date: Mon, 28 Jun 1999 15:31:12 EDT

From: LordVoldai at aol.com

Subject: Re: SC - strengthening sugar sculpture

 

From the recipies i have seen, you should use confectioners (i.e. powdered )

sugar for this application, it will dissolve better in the eggwhites and give

you a stronger bond.  Also try using some sort of gum resin to help

strengthen it.  period product was gum tragacanth but it is expensive now. I

use gum tex which you can obtain at any store selling cake decorating

supplies (michaels) or thru mail order from wiltons.

 

voldai

 

 

Date: Mon, 28 Jun 1999 20:08:52 -0400

From: Philip & Susan Troy <troy at asan.com>

Subject: Re: SC - strengthening sugar sculpture

 

Mike Young wrote:

> I've been to the florigium and can't find the answer to this question so I

> would appreciate any advice.  I have made(and broken)2 sugar trays(using

> granulated sugar, water and egg whites).  How do I make them stonger?   I

> need to be able to transport them to an event without breaking.

> Thicker?(these have been about 1/8 to a 1/4 in. thick) Thinner? Different

> recipe? Something I'm just not getting? I'm pretty desperate...I think I

> have sugar in places it shouldn't be...<g>

 

I haven't worked with the materials you mention, but I suspect you might

try a different recipe, only because  what seems to have been used most

often in period is either a cooked sugar syrup (essentially hard candy),

or, somewhat later, a paste made from either gum tragacanth or gum

benzoin. I know both of these items can be made reasonably strong and

will withstand at least some reasonable impact. Of course the materials

they are intended to imitate are themselves delicate, so period sugar

workers probably didn't expect _too_ much strength out of what they made.

 

I think the problem with using granulated sugar is that you might end up

with a sort of concretion of granules (possibly semi-melted) held

together with some of the paste you are trying to make, instead of a

smooth, homogeneos paste. At the very least you should probably try a

finer sugar, possibly confectioners' sugar, and I highly recommend

getting hold of some gum tragacanth or some other muculaginous binder to

use instead of egg white. Otherwise what you're getting is basically

Royal Icing, not sugar plate.

 

Adamantius

 

 

Date: Mon, 28 Jun 1999 20:27:32 -0500 (CDT)

From: alysk at ix.netcom.com (Elise Fleming)

Subject: SC - Re: Strengthening Sugar Sculptures

 

Voldai wrote:

>from the recipies i have seen, you should use confectioners (i.e.

>powdered ) sugar for this application, it will dissolve better in the

>eggwhites and give you a stronger bond.  also try using some sort of

>gum resin to help strengthen it.  period product was gum tragacanth

>but it is expensive now. i use gum tex which you can obtain at any

>store selling cake decorating supplies (michaels) or thru mail order

>from wiltons.

 

What he said!  You also might be aware of the texture of your paste.

When you knead it, you knead it until it can stretch between your

hands, rather like taffy.  If you try to stretch it and it snaps or

breaks off, you should knead it more.  And, the gum tragacanth or its

modern substitute (GumTex) is a must.

 

Alys Katharine

 

 

Date: Tue, 13 Jul 1999 08:14:40 -0500 (CDT)

From: alysk at ix.netcom.com (Elise Fleming)

Subject: SC - Icings and Pastes:  Was: Last Minute Details

 

Mirhaxa wrote:

>The royal icing I'm familiar with has the texture of frosting to start

>and dries rock hard.

 

That's what I was referring to in my description of how to test to see

if it is of the proper consistency.  However, your question caused me

to digress from my morning activities and here is the result...

 

Okay...So someone asked what the difference was between royal icing and

sugar plate.  I responded too quickly, using my quick-and-dirty version

of royal icing, which is just sugar and liquid, usually rosewater, and

no egg white. (Robert May uses only rosewater and sugar as does the

1656 _Book of Fruits and Flowers_.)  However, Murrell (1621), Digby

(1669) and many others do use egg white in their icing, although it

isn’t called “royal icing.”  If you are looking for it, look for

recipes for marchpanes.  What we call “royal icing” seems to have

appeared first as a coating for them to make them glisten like “ice”,

hence (I assume) the name “icing”.  I haven’t seen any name for this

coating, so I assume the term “royal icing” is post-period.  Nowadays

(in the US) we use it as elements of cake decoration and only

occasionally as the complete covering of a cake, although I believe the

British (and Australians?) use it more frequently, especially on a cake

under-covered with marzipan.  (I recall the cake-cutting problems of

one of Lyndon Johnson’s daughters when her wedding cake was covered

with the stuff and no one told them it would be nearly impossible to

cut through with their ceremonial sword.  Dates me, doesn’t it!)

 

I mentioned the modern “drip” test to see if one’s royal icing was at

the proper consistency:  a drop of the icing should be re-incorporated

into the mixture at about the count of 10.  One can pipe figures of

royal icing, but you can’t knead the stuff or, to my knowledge, make

“prints” of it (using molds) as one can do for sugar/gum paste.

 

Period sugar/gum paste was made of sugar ground finely, gum tragacanth,

a liquid which was usually rosewater, and egg white. Dawson (1597)

adds lemon juice.  It is my current belief that sugar paste/sugar plate

was also known as “paste royall”, especially the white version.  W.I.

Gent (1653), _A True Gentlewoman’s Delight_, has a recipe titled “To

make paste Royall white that you may make Court Bouls, or Caps, or

Gloves, Shooes, or any prettie thing Printed in Moulds.” It includes

sugar, gum tragacanth, rosewater, musk which is made into a paste,

rolled out with a “rouling pin” and printed “with your moulders”.  Many

of the later 17th-century cookery books will have recipes for “paste

royall” but not for sugar paste or sugar plate.  This is why I think

looking at the ingredients and what is to be done with the item is more

important than the name of the thing.  And, why I think some of this

confusion/similarity has carried over into today’s cake decorating

world.  Look at the following...

 

The Wilton cake decorating book gives as gum paste ingredients:

Gum-tex or tragacanth gum, glucose, water, sugar.  Mexican gum paste

(pastillage) contains similar ingredients.  One Wilton recipe adds

gelatin in place of glucose and has no gum tragacanth or Gum-tex.  All

of these get worked to a “very stiff dough”.  (Royal icing is not made

that thick.  It is more liquid.)

 

Another modern sugarcraft book has these ingredients for “sugarpaste”:

sugar, glucose, gelatin, glycerine, water.  Their recipe for “modelling

paste” is sugar, gum tragacanth, glucose, water.  They want the mixture

to be a “soft dough”.  A British cake decorating book has for

“sugarpaste icing” egg white, glucose, sugar.  Their royal icing is egg

white, sugar, glycerine, lemon juice.  Still another one gives

ingredients for fondant icing: glucose, sugar, gelating, water, white

vegetable fat.  For royal icing they include egg white, sugar, lemon

juice or acetic acid.  Their “modelling paste” has two versions:  1)

“plastic icing” which includes sugar, glucose, water, gelatin, white

vegetable fat; then add gum tragacanth to make the modelling paste; 2)

white margerine or vegetable fat, sugar, gum tragacanth, gelatin, cold

water, boiling water, egg white.  Their pastillage is royal icing plus

gum traganth and more sugar.  Wilton’s “rolled fondant” recipe includes

gelatin, water, glucose, glycerine, solid vegetable shortening, sugar.

There is also a cooked fondant version used pastries. Confusing??

 

Now, after all this “mess”, you can see that the ingredients are pretty

much the same, but the amounts would vary, depending on whether you

wanted a liquidy mix (royal icing) or a more solid dough (rolled

fondant, gum/sugar paste, pastillage).

 

It’s sort of interesting to note that the first cake “icings” seem to

be the royal icing prototype put on marchpanes.  By Digby’s time, at

least, this icing topping was put onto cakes.  From what I read of his

recipe “To make a cake”, you kept beating the sugar, egg whites, and

rosewater for the entire time the cake is baking (2 hours) before you

remove the cake, spread the icing on top, and set it back again to

harden.  Other recipes don’t suggest such a long beating time!

 

 

Date: Sat, 25 Mar 2000 14:17:06 +1100

From: Lorix <lorix at trump.net.au>

Subject: Re: SC - Violet Sugar Plate Was Saxon Violets

 

david friedman wrote:

> 'Lainie asked about violet recipes a while back. Here is what looks

> rather like a violet pudding?

>

> Vyolette

> Two Fifteenth Century Cookery Books p. 29

 

I have just found another recipe for violets for the use in making 'marbled'

sugar plate in a book that I have been devouring (well not literally ;-)

Sugar Plums & Sherbet - The Prehistory of Sweets, by Laura Mason

ISBN: 0907325 831

 

For those interested in the book, it would make a nice addition to the library.

Author goes thru the history of sweets & reprints 'period' recipes from various

sources & then offers a redaction for some of them. It is extensively footnoted

& sources quoted.  It is also a good book for those learning how to make candy

has it gives lots of technique info.

 

I have given some extra info included in the book about the making & use of

sugar plate in general for those interested & have copied the period & redacted

recipe at the end.  I would note that the period recipe calls for a number of

different edible flowers.  However, given the profusion of colours in violets,

if all you needed was differing colours for the marbled effect, you could just

use violets ;-)

 

In her chapter on sugar paste she states that "One of the earliest known

detailed sugar paste recipes in English is for making: "plate of sugar, whereof

a man maye make all manner of fruites, and other fyne things with theyr forme,

as platters, dishes, glasses, cuppes, and such thinges, wherewith you may

furnishe at table; and when you have doen, eate them up. A pleasant thing for

them that sit at table." (William Warde, 1562, translator, 'The Secretes of the

Reverende Maister Alexis of Piedmont')

"This recipe, given in the translation of the alchemist Alexis of Piedmont in

1562, required 'gum dragant', a pice the size of a bean, steeped in rosewater, a

walnut shell full of lemon juice & some egg white mixed with sugar in a mortar,

which was kneaded with more powdered fine sugar to make a paste.  This was

rolled out & moulded into tableware"

 

Later, she goes on to say that "the basic recipe stayed essentially the

unchanged, but the details were refined.  Sir Hugh Plat, in his instructions for

"the making of Sugarplate, and casting thereof in carved moulds,' demanded the

whitest refined sugar and a small proportion of the best starch, mixed with gum

dragant.  This, he said, 'must first bee well picked, leaving out the drosse,'

before it was steeped in rosewater and strained through canvas.  All ingredients

were mixed up with some egg white and then rolled out and shaped into wooden

moulds dusted with powdered sugar.  For making 'sawcers, dishes, boawls, &c' the

sheet of paste were pressed into the required vessels, trimmed and allowed to

dry partially, then unmoulded and the edges gilded with gold leaf stuck down

with white of egg". (Platt 1609 p.25)

 

NOW FOR THE BIT OF INTEREST FOR LAINIE:

Sugar plate could be coloured and scented with flowers. By using the results

judiciously, it could be made to resemble fine marble as in the following recipe

by 'W.M' (1655)  'A Queens Delight', Facsimile 1984, Prospect Books, London.

 

"To make paste of flowers the colour of marble, tasting of the natural flowers:

Take every sort of pleasing Flowers, as Violets, Cowslips, Gily-flowers, Roses,

or Marigolds, and beat them in a Mortar, each flower by itself with sugar, till

the sugar become the colour of the flower, then put in a little Gum Dragon

steept in water into it, and beat into a perfect paste; and when you have half a

dozen colours, every flower will take of his nature, then rowl the paste

therein, and lay one piece upon another, in mingling sort, so rowl your Paste in

small rowls, as big and as long as your finger, then cut it off the bigness of a

small Nut, overthwart, and so rowl them thin, that you may see a knife through

them, so dry them before the fire till they be dry".

 

Nb: the author alos adds that in respect to the making of sugar plate or paste no boiling of syrup is involved:  it is a simple mixture of powdered sugar kneaded with soaked gum arabic or gum tragacanth (often mispelt as dragant or corrupted to dragon)

 

Mason's Redaction of Sugar Plate:

- - 500g icing sugar

- - 15g powdered gum arabic or tragacanth

- - flavours & colours as desired

1.  Mix the icing sugar & gum together roughly & then seive into a large bowl so

that the two are well amalgamated.  Divide the dry mix into portions (keeping a

little back for working) depending on how many colours/flavours you want.

 

2.  Make each portion into a paste by adding a drop of colour & the desired

flavouring.  (To achieve the intended flavour or colour, you can experiment with

kneading the petals of edible flowers into the mixture, if the are available &

pesticide free, otherwise use rose water, flower water or oils from

lemon/orange/or lime peel.)  If you are using one of the flower waters, add this

in teaspoonfuls, mixing & kneading until you hve a pliable paste.  If using an

essence or oil, add a drop or two, and then make up the paste with tap water.

 

3.  Knead each portion until it is smooth and coherent, adding a little more

icing sugar/gum mixture or water as necessary to achieve a good consistency.

Wrap each batch in plastic film until you need it.

 

4.  Make up into little rolls, putting two or more flavours together in layers

as desired, and cut down into little nuggets.  Dust a board and rolling pin with

icing sugar, roll out the paste, cut into any shape desired & leave to dry.

 

Lorix

 

 

From: "Elise Fleming" <alysk at ix.netcom.com>

To: <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

Date: Wed, 27 Jun 2001 08:50:00 -0500

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Re: Early Pastries

 

I commented and Stefan quoted and wrote:

>Alys Katharine commented:

>>  The Manuscrito Anonimo from the 13th c. lists

>> a castle (and its furnishings) made of poured sugar.

 

>In the *13th* century? Just how big was this castle. And who was

>it made for (ie: who paid for it) and where was it made?

>My understanding is that sugar was pretty expensive in that time

>period. That must have been one real expensive trinket.

 

This is from Charles Perry's translation, and appears on p. A-71 of

Cariadoc's _Collection of Medieval and Renaissance Cookbooks_, Vol

II, Sixth Edition, 1993.  The cookery book is _An Anonymous

Andalusian Cookbook of the 13th Century_

 

"Cast Figures of Sugar"

"Throw on the sugar a like amount of water and rosewater and cook

until its consistencey is good.  Empty it into the mould and make of

it whatever shape is in the mold, the places of the 'eyebrow' and

the 'eye' and what resembles the dish you want, because it comes out

of the mould in the best way.  Then decorate it with gilding and

whatever you want of it.  If you want to make a tree or a figure of

a castle, cut it piece by piece.  Then decorate it section by

section and stick it together with mastic until you complete the

figure you want, if God wills."

 

As far as expense of sugar, yes, sugar could be expensive, but keep

in mind that Spain was occupied by the Moors, and it was in the

Arabic world that sugar refining began.  It might not have been the

expense that it would have been in France or England.  The shipping

would be "just" across the Mediterranean, not overland through

Europe. As to size... I may be old, but I'm not _quite_ that old to

have seen a construction in the 13th century.  I suspect it might

have varied in size, but if they are talking about rooms, and

furnishings, then it wouldn't have been tiny.

 

Alys Katharine

 

Perry noted that "eyebrow" and "eye" might be technical terms for

parts of the mould.

 

 

From: "Elise Fleming" <alysk at ix.netcom.com>

To: <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

Date: Thu, 28 Jun 2001 11:59:07 -0500

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Gum Tragacanth Sources

 

Greetings. If my old memory works right, it seems there was a

discussion that gum tragacanth wasn't "findable" in the US anymore.

Master Aiden, from my local group, found two sources for me right

away and here they are for you.

 

http://www.bakingshop.com/sugarcraft/gum.htm

http://beryls.safeshopper.com/142/cat142.htm?772

 

He noted: "I've also discovered that it's also used for

leatherworking, incense, bookbinding, and making pastels,

curious..."

 

The "Beryl's" site has a pound of gum dragon for $30, plus shipping

and handling.  This corresponds well to the price some 10 years ago

of $30 which included $5 shipping/handling from Penn Herb, which

apparantly no longer carries gum tragacanth.  If you want to make

period sugarpaste, you need this stuff.  They also sell it in

smaller quantities.

 

Alys Katharine

 

 

Date: Sat, 17 Nov 2001 09:52:30 -0500

From: johnna holloway <johnna at sitka.engin.umich.edu>

To: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Re:Sotelties// Sugarpaste

 

Sugarpaste was Italian prior to its introduction

in England. The earliest printed source in English that I

have (and actually own in facsimile) is 1558.

The earliest printed work that I have

reference to would be 1555 in Venice. It might be

earlier yet. Certainly it would be in the various

manuscripts or notebooks that made up the material

for the printed volume. I am still looking for additional

material before publishing something about this.

 

Johnnae llyn Lewis  Johnna Holloway

 

 

Date: Wed, 09 Jan 2002 21:51:25 -0500

From: johnna holloway <johnna at sitka.engin.umich.edu>

To: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Re: Sugar Plate/Paste; Stained Glass Sugar

 

I think that Her Highness Alys Katharine would

agree that you ought to see about borrowing or

buying (after seeing it) a copy of Peter

Brears All the King's Cooks. The Tudor

Kitchens of King Henry VIII at Hampton Court

Palace. 1999. There is a paperback available.

It has recipes, sources, illustrations, and photos of

recreated sugar-plates based on wooden molds that

are colored. It's just great. Ivan Day's Eat, Drink

and Be Merry. The British at Table 1600-2000 is

another that has photos of sugarworks and

sweetmeats that have been recreated and photographed.

 

Johnnae llyn Lewis  Johnna Holloway

 

 

From: "Elise Fleming" <alysk at ix.netcom.com>

To: <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

Date: Sat, 18 May 2002 05:20:25 -0500

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Re: Sugar Paste

 

Isabelot wrote:

>I did successfully make some plates, bowls, and a platter. Still haven't

>succeeded with the goblets/glasses but plan to keep on trying.

 

I, too, found those to be the most difficult.  For me, I was more

successful when I molded on the _outside_ of a form rather than on

the inside.  And, I've used waxed paper to tape onto the object

first before I laid on the sugar paste to form it.  For one goblet,

I used a Dannon's yogurt container.  I laid on the waxed paper,

properly cut so there were minimal wrinkles.  Then I laid on a round

of sugar paste.  When I folded it down the sides there was,

obviously, a big pleat which I cut out with a sharp knife. Then I

smoothed the edges together to hide the external join.

 

I used a dowel (actually, a wedding pillar) covered with sugar paste

to make the stem of the goblet which I attached after everything was

dried.  I rolled a small snake of paste to hide the join of the

goblet and the stem and put some decorative marks or jewels on it.

I made a separate base/foot into which I inserted the stem.  (Like a

true medieval recipe, I put the steps out of order.  Make goblet.

Make stem.  Let dry.  Make base and insert stem.  Let dry. Affix

goblet.)

 

I'd love to hear how anyone else made goblets.  I saw two gorgeous

fluted ones made for the historical food display in England.  My

guess is that they were made in two halves of a mold. However,

period sources seem to indicate putting the paste inside the cup and

I haven't had much success with that.  The paste sticks and I can't

get it out easily.

 

Alys Katharine

 

 

From: "Olwen the Odd" <olwentheodd at hotmail.com>

To: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Re: Sugar Paste

Date: Mon, 20 May 2002 19:56:45 +0000

 

>I'd love to hear how anyone else made goblets.  I saw two gorgeous

>fluted ones made for the historical food display in England.  My

>guess is that they were made in two halves of a mold. However,

>period sources seem to indicate putting the paste inside the cup and

>I haven't had much success with that.  The paste sticks and I can't

>get it out easily.

>

>Alys Katharine

 

We dust the inside of the bowls and cups with cornflour. Most of the time

they pop right out.  I like to cheat and use white chocolate to glue the

pieces together.  Anyway, it gives me a reason to blow through some of the

30 or so pounds I have of white chocolate.  The stick is a good idea that I

haven't tried.  I just make the stems out of sugarplate with the base as one

piece.  Ya know, I have used balloons as a mold for piped and dipped

chocolate cups.  I just rub a lite coat of butter on it then pop it to

remove.  May work with sugarplate as well.  Well, not the butter part.

 

Olwen

 

 

Date: Wed, 21 May 2003 15:18:00 -0400

From: johnna holloway <johnna at sitka.engin.umich.edu>

To: "sca-cooks at ansteorra.org" <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Recipe for Olwen and Countess Alys

 

I came across the following recipe in April, but I forgot to

post it to the list then. When reading it I was reminded that

Olwen was looking for recipes that combined sugarpaste

and marzipan. This one combines those ingredients and

produces something that can be shaped. The question

would be --can we find one that leaves out the baking?

 

To make several pretty fancies.

 

Take sweet Almonds blanched and beaten

with Rosewater; mix them with fine sugar,

the whites of Eggs, and Gum dragon

steeped in Rosewater, and so make them into

what shape you please, and bake them. page 94.

 

The Cook's Guide: or, Rare receipts for cookery by

Hannah Wolley or Woolley. 1664.

Wing number W3276

 

Johnnae llyn Lewis  Johnna Holloway

 

 

From: "Elise Fleming" <alysk at ix.netcom.com>

To: <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

Date: Tue, 17 Jun 2003 07:50:23 -0500

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Miscellaneous Sugar Stuff

 

Greetings.  Comfits should keep quite well if put into (for example)

a Tupperware container.  Or, even better, into a Ziploc bag inside a

tightly sealed plastic container.  I've kept the dreaded moisture

away from sugar paste by having it in a plastic bag inside a large

plastic tote, and sugar paste is more hygroscopic (correct word??)

than comfits are.

 

Stefan's comment about drinking from a sugar paste goblet before it

disintegrates brings up an experiment on the dissolvablility of

sugar paste.  I dropped a piece of well-dried, broken sugar paste

(about 1/8 inch thick) into a glass of water.  Hours later it was

still there, inviolate.  I might hypothesize that if the sugar paste

were very thin and not terribly dry, it might dissolve with a hot

liquid, but cold liquids can probably be used with impunity.  If

it's dry enough to hold its shape, you could use it during a banquet

and not have to hasten your drinking.  Period sources warn to keep

hot things away from the sugar paste.

 

Alys Katharine

 

 

Date: Tue, 17 Jun 2003 13:49:43 -0400

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Miscellaneous Sugar Stuff

From: Daniel Myers <doc at medievalcookery.com>

To: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org

 

On Tuesday, June 17, 2003, at 08:50 AM, Elise Fleming wrote:

> Stefan's comment about drinking from a sugar paste goblet before it

> disintegrates brings up an experiment on the dissolvablility of

> sugar paste.  I dropped a piece of well-dried, broken sugar paste

> (about 1/8 inch thick) into a glass of water.  Hours later it was

> still there, inviolate.  I might hypothesize that if the sugar paste

> were very thin and not terribly dry, it might dissolve with a hot

> liquid, but cold liquids can probably be used with impunity.  If

> it's dry enough to hold its shape, you could use it during a banquet

> and not have to hasten your drinking.  Period sources warn to keep

> hot things away from the sugar paste.

 

I've tried making a sotelty consisting of sugar paste shells filled

with almond-milk based pudding.  While they looked great, the shells

went all soft and melty overnight and the result was inedibly messy.

The shells had been dry when they were filled, but the pudding was

still slightly warm.  I may try again later and see if cooling the

pudding in a mold ahead of time (and maybe cooking it longer) will help

things hold together longer.

 

I've put a picture (220kb) of a couple of them (just before completely

melting) online:

      http://www.medievalcookery.com/images/eggs.jpg

 

- Doc

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

   Edouard Halidai  (Daniel Myers)

   http://www.medievalcookery.com/

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

 

 

From: "Olwen the Odd" <olwentheodd at hotmail.com>

To: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Miscellaneous Sugar Stuff

Date: Tue, 17 Jun 2003 18:26:49 +0000

 

> I've tried making a sotelty consisting of sugar paste shells filled

> with almond-milk based pudding.  While they looked great, the shells

> went all soft and melty overnight and the result was inedibly messy.

> The shells had been dry when they were filled, but the pudding was

> still slightly warm.  I may try again later and see if cooling the

> pudding in a mold ahead of time (and maybe cooking it longer) will help

> things hold together longer.

>

> I've put a picture (220kb) of a couple of them (just before completely

> melting) online:

>     http://www.medievalcookery.com/images/eggs.jpg

>

> - Doc

 

Doc, these are fabulous!!  Where on earth did you come up with the idea?

And recipes??  Reading your description is so much less exciting than seeing

the picture.  I would have never guessed they were eggs. The yellow part is

the almond milk pudding part?  What is the clear part? The thinness of the

shell may have come into play too.  And leaving it in that long. Overnight?

   Any recipe or discussion I have read about sugarplate allows that you can

put liquid or foodstuffs on/in it for fairly short lengths of time.  I have

had success at a dinner party with dessert bowls and plates and cordial

glasses.

 

Olwen

 

 

Date: Tue, 17 Jun 2003 15:34:38 -0400

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Miscellaneous Sugar Stuff

From: Daniel Myers <doc at medievalcookery.com>

To: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org

 

On Tuesday, June 17, 2003, at 02:26 PM, Olwen the Odd wrote:

> Doc, these are fabulous!!  Where on earth did you come up with the idea?

> And recipes??  Reading your description is so much less exciting than seeing

> the picture.  I would have never guessed they were eggs.  The yellow part is

> the almond milk pudding part?  What is the clear part?  The thinness of the

> shell may have come into play too.  And leaving it in that long. Overnight?

 

The idea came from several places:  1. a reference I came across quite

a while back about mock eggs for lent made out of fish, 2. a sugar

paste workshop given by Mistress Rosamund,  and 3. testing out the

recipe for "Lenten Slices" [http://www.medievalcookery.com/recipes/lenten.html ].

 

To answer your (and Kerri's) question, both the "whites" and the

"yolks" are almond milk pudding (see the Lenten Slices recipe) - with

the yolks being colored with ground saffron.  I also sprinkled a pinch

of sandalwood over the top to look like paprika, but it doesn't show in

the picture.  I wanted the shells to be as close to real eggshells as

possible, hence the thinness.  I'll do some more experimenting with it

some time in the future and see what I can work out - it's just too

good a sotelty to let go.

 

- Doc

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

   Edouard Halidai  (Daniel Myers)

   http://www.medievalcookery.com/

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

 

 

Date: Thu, 29 Apr 2004 14:40:59 -0400

From: "M. Traber" <mtraber251 at earthlink.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] "Edible" Cinnamon Sticks

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

 

Phil Troy / G. Tacitus Adamantius wrote:

> I have not (I wanted to get that caveat out of the way first). However,

> it occurs to me that if you wanted to waterproof cups, the thing to do

> might be to be sure to use sugar pounded as finely as humanly possible,

> with a view to getting as smooth a surface as possible to the worked

> piece, and then, when dry, lightly oiling the inner surface with

> something that's not likely to send your intended recipient into

> anaphylactic shock. Whatever that may be.

 

My idea for waterproofing a bowl once was decoratively gold leaving with

   several sheets of overlapping edible gold leafing sheets, and they

were stuck into the bowls using egg white with a smidge of honey added.

Didnt ooze the strawberry juices at all, and noticed no structural

problems. Bit expensive to do for anything but a laurel vigil though...

--  

Aruvqan, Cleric of 56 seasons

Avengers Federation, Solusek Ro

http://www.geocities.com/aruvqann/index.html

 

 

Date: Mon, 03 May 2004 22:59:57 -0400

From: kattratt <kattratt at charter.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Re:sugar plate gelatin

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

 

Devra at aol.com wrote:

> Is this a recipe that you can give us, or is it something that ne  buys in

> the store?  I have this wonderful cake book, that calls for fondant  

> mixed with tragacanth... hm...

>     Devra

>

> Devra Langsam

> www.poisonpenpress.com

 

Uhm if you are talking to me then sure here it is...

Very Base recipe....

 

4 Cups Powdered Sugar... Ok this is shaky because we got to the point of

just saying to heck with it and pouring te sugar in... but for

arguments sake we'll say

4 Cups Powdered Sugar in a bowl and make a dent in the center... (Much

like you do when making pasta.)

 

Mix 4 ounces of boiling water with

4 Teaspoons of Gelatin (Mix well)

 

Pour the water gelatin mix into the dent in the powdered sugar.  (Why? I

dunno just do it.)

Mix that all together

Add More sugar keep mixing...

Keep Adding Sugar and Mixing it in until you can coat your hands with

sugar, and pick up the paste that has formed without it sticking to your

hans, too much.  Keep adding sugar and knead it in.  Add whatever color

you want and flavorings.   Keep kneading and adding sugar until you

reach playdoh consistency.

At that point your Sugar Paste is ready to mold into whatever you so

desire.    Although I d recommed molds.

 

Sorry that is my version of the recipe... I can go and check out the

book again from the library but that is the general gist of the recipe.

 

Nichola

 

 

Date: Wed, 05 May 2004 23:02:56 -0400

From: kattratt <kattratt at charter.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Price of Sugar paste (was "Edible" Cinnamon

      Sticks)

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

 

Sorry it took so long,

I said that a pound of the paste would make about 2 cups. (Actually

since then we have found the number to be about 4.)  Yes the little cups

we are making are about the size of muffin tins.  We ended up making

batches in about 4 pound batches.  We got 14 cups each time. Our cups

are probably a little thicker than was needed but I doubt that you could

convince me of that with the cracking we were having.  All in all the

cups turned out well.  I will report how well they worked after next

weekend.  The gum tragastuff was way too expensive to use for this though.

For our recipe I think that we ended up using about 2lbs of

Confectioners sugar for each batch.  (That number could be wrong but I

think it was 2 lb bags. ) They made about 4 lbs of paste each time.  I

can tell you that when these things dried they weigh about like china

cups do.

 

Nichola

 

 

Irmgart H wrote:

> how large are your little cups? I haven't actually *made* sugar paste, just

> played with it... I'd think you'd get a heck of a lot more than 1 cup out of

> a pound of sugar!  Since 1 oz of sugar=110 calories, 1 lb of suga would be

> 1760 calories. Now, I don't know about you, but I'd have to swear off even

> *looking* at sugar paste if that were the case (yes, I'm one of the crazies

> who eats it)! I'm imagining that your "little cups" are around the size of

> muffin tin cups? I'd guess you'd get more like 10(or more) out of a pound of

> paste, which is more like 200 cups from the pound of gum tragastuff...

>

> Again, I've never actually *made* the stuff, just used it, so I could  

> be *way* off base as far as how much it will stretch.

>

> -Irmgart

 

 

Date: Sat, 25 Sep 2004 13:25:05 -0500

From: Robert Downie <rdownie at mb.sympatico.ca>

Sbject: Re: [Sca-cooks] sugarpaste recipe was:Period or no? - Long

      analysis     *G*

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

 

drakey2 at iinet.net.au wrote:

 

>pps.. Need to make sugar plate (for an edible decorated plate) and the lovely

> person I knew who had a good recipe has buggered off to geneva with her

> cookbooks...  Does anyone have a good one that involves making the 'gloop'

> (usually from Gu Trag or Gelatin) where you take a pea sized bit of it and

> slowing working the confectioners sugar in?

 

Peter Brears' recipe in Banquetting Stuffe :

 

To make the paste, take:

half tsp. (2.5 ml) gelatine

1 tsp. (5 ml) lemon juice

2 tsp. (10 ml) rosewater

half egg white, lightly beaten

12-16 oz (250-450 g) icing sugar (my note: modern icing sugar contains cornstarch filler, however this seems to add in the stabilization of the structure)

a few drops of food coloring if required

 

‘Stir the gelatin into the lemon juice and rosewater in a basin and place over a

bowl of hot water until melted.  Stir in the egg white, add food coloring and work in the icing sugar, little by little, until a dough is formed.  It can then be turned out on a board dusted with icing sugar, kneaded until completely  

smooth, rolled out, and used as required.’

 

Faerisa

 

 

Date: Wed, 05 Jan 2005 20:23:24 -0600

From: Robert Downie <rdownie at mb.sympatico.ca>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Gum paste

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

 

Patrick Levesque wrote:

> According to the information on the Florilegium, gum paste, once dried,

> becomes rock-hard and remains that way for quite a long time.

>

> I was wondering, however, how long it safely will remain edible in that

> state?

>

> Petru

 

Once it's completely dried it should stay edible almost indefinitely

(pretty much like any hard candies/mints), provided it's been stored in

a clean dry place where it won't pick up any odors from other items.

Just be careful not to chip any teeth when the time comes to eat it.

Break it into small pieces and don't bite down hard on it.

 

Faerisa

 

 

Date: Thu, 06 Jan 2005 20:47:44 -0500

From: kattratt <kattratt at charter.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Gum paste

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

 

Patrick Levesque wrote:

> According to the information on the Florilegium, gum paste, once dried,

> becomes rock-hard and remains that way for quite a long time.

>

> I was wondering, however, how long it safely will remain edible in that

> state?

>

> Petru

 

Depends upon where you store it.  I will warn you however when it says

rock hard it means it!!!!  It could almost break your teeth and IS water

proof at least for cold water.  Rather tasty if flavored however.  We

kept some in the freezer for about 2-3 months before serving.  It makes

great dishes.  Damn and sitting here I just figured out how to do plates

out of the stuff.   Arrrrggg where was that brain wave a year ago!!!!

  Nichola

 

Who made cups last year out of gum/sugar paste but avoided plates so

that we wouldn't have to break plates... It never occurred to me to use

styrofoam plates [as molds - Stefan] !!!!! DUH!!!!!!

 

 

Date: Sun, 09 Jan 2005 21:18:56 -0500

From: kattratt <kattratt at charter.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Gum paste

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

 

Lonnie D. Harvel wrote:

> How did you make the cups?

 

I got lucky and found some old jello cups at an antiques store.  After

that I simply made the paste and pushed about 1/4 inch of paste into

each well greased cup.   Set them up on a shelf and let them dry out on

the exposed part and pulled them out. (about a day)  We filled them with

candied peaches. (Manual de Mujeres).

 

Nichola

 

 

Date: Sun, 09 Jan 2005 21:28:04 -0500

From: kattratt <kattratt at charter.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Re: Gum Paste

To: alysk at ix.netcom.com, Cooks within the SCA

      <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

 

Elise Fleming wrote:

> kattrat wrote:

>> We kept some in the freezer for about 2-3 months before serving.

> Question: Did you wrap it in something?  You didn't have any problems with

> moisture?  And, why did you put it in the freezer rather than just letting

> it sit out, covered from dust and animals?  Gum paste won't spoil in that

> time.

>

> Alys Katharine

 

Well now the funny thing is that you sort of answered that one in your

question...

 

First off we didn't wrap them we just stuck them in a box and popped

them into the freezer.  (This is a chest style freezer not an upright.) Nope no problems with moisture as they were really dried out.  As far

as spoiling well honestly I had no clue as to the shelf life of gum

paste and wanted to preserve the taste as much as possible.  (They were

lemon flavored)  And finally I stored them in the freezer because at the

time that was the place that was dust free and animal free.

We are wanting to move very soon to fix that problem... animals, not the

dust... ;)

 

Nichola

 

 

Date: Sun, 20 Mar 2005 18:05:57 +0000

From: "Olwen the Odd" <olwentheodd at hotmail.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] "sturdy" marzipan recipe

To: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org

 

As for a sturdier marzipan, I have found noted in a few places (I can dig

them up if you like, I think Brears book has one and To the -----'s Taste

has also, can’t recall which, and somewhere else too) that if you want your

marzipan a little stiffer then you can add some gum tragicanth (sp?) and

some icing sugar with some rosewater.  Basically, it amounts to adding

sugarplate.  When I do this, it ends up being referred to (around here) as

marzi-plate.  Works great!  The working time of the sugarplate is very small

window, when some is mixed with marzipan it really extends the working time

and ends up drying very stiff.  I must warn though, if you mix the

sugarplate up and add it to the marzipan or even if you start with just

adding the raw ingredients then the mix to a thorough inclusion takes

forever!

 

> Kathleen A Roberts wrote:

>> a lady in our kingdom is looking for a 'sturdy marzipan recipe' for her

>> sculpture class.  she wants something that 'will last'.  and she

>> wants to have fun with the project.

>>

>> cailte

 

 

Date: Sun, 29 May 2005 18:58:00 -0500

From: Robert Downie <rdownie at mb.sympatico.ca>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Sugar Plate - gelatin vs Gum Trag...

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

 

drakey2 at iinet.net.au wrote:

> With Sugar Plate, what are the advantages/disadvantages between using

> Gelatin and Gum Traganth and are there any other agents that can be used and

> the relative merits of them...

 

I've found the major advantage to using gelatin is lower cost.

Gelatin is available in my grocery store for very little money, whereas

would have to mail order gum tragacanth for more money :-)

 

I can't speak for the workability of gum trag, since I haven't had a

chance to use it yet (but I do want to do a comparison between the

available products, gelatine, gum tragacanth, tylose(?) at some point in

my copious spare time...) but I seem to have to work relatively quickly

with the gelatine version when hand building to avoid drying and surface

cracking.  It doesn't seem to matter as much when using wood or plaster

molds.  I also want to experiment adding  glucose to the mixture to see

if it extends the workability without compromising stability.

 

I fooled quite a few people with the sugar paste napkins this weekend,

they thought they were fabric until they tried to pick them up, heh,

heh.

 

Faerisa

 

 

Date: Tue, 08 Nov 2005 20:42:55 -0600

From: Robert Downie <rdownie at mts.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] sugar-paste and other sugar craft info

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

 

Heather M wrote:

> Dame Alys (waves) takes up period sugarplate. I had never heard of this

> before, being a n00b in the ways of Real Period Cooking, and thought it

> sounded Spiff and Nifty To Try. I'd been thinking of playing with

> sugarplate for 12th Night.

 

I don't know if you want to go to this much trouble for a possibly one

time only project, but there is a wealth of information regarding

people's adventures with sugarpaste available in the archived  (and

searcheable) messages and files section of the SCA Subtleties group:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SCA_Subtleties/

 

If you think it may help you with your project, you could always change

your settings to no mail and just mine the messages, files and links for

information at your convenience.

 

Faerisa

 

 

Date: Fri, 9 Dec 2005 11:15:58 -0500 (GMT-05:00)

From: Christiane <christianetrue at earthlink.net>

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Sugar plate sotelties and Santoku knives

To: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org

 

Last night my husband and I went to Pennsbury Manor's Holly Night.  

The manor is the recreated 17th century country estate of William  

Penn, founder of Pennsylvania. We wandered the grounds, the paths of  

which were lit by candle lumieres, threw sprigs of holly into the  

bonfire for good luck, and toured the manor house, the first floor of  

which was decorated with holly and other greenery for a winter party  

(the Quakers really didn't celebrate Christmas). Everything was lit  

by candles. It was very pretty.

 

When we walked into the dining room, I was very pleased to see the  

sotelties on the table. There was a sugar-plate reproduction of the  

manor house in miniature, with sugar gravel and grass (all colored  

with natural dyes such as spinach and saffron), marzipan peacocks  

(peacocks wander the grounds during the clement months), William and  

Hannah Penn's initials done in sugar rope, and even more charming,  

plates and goblets made of sugar.

 

In the kitchen, a very enthusiastic gentleman talked about how the  

sugar plate was produced, and how it was used. There were other  

things on his table; comfits of candied angelica and caraway seeds,  

and sugar-glazed crabapples.

 

All I could think of was, "Hmm. I know a few folks who would have  

been avidly asking questions." So I tried to ask some.

 

The sugar plate was produced with sugar, gum tragacanth, and  

rosewater. In Penn's day (the late 1690s), all of these ingredients  

had to be imported. Although there was a well-laid-out series of  

gardens in his day, he would have not had enough roses to distill his  

own rosewater. This would have made all of this sugar plate a very  

expensive display of wealth. Guests would have been given a sugar  

plate and a sugar goblet for the party. They'd have a wine-flavored  

sugar goblet to eat there, or later on. The sugar plate would have  

been produced months in advance, and packed away for when needed.

 

Gianotta

 

 

Date: Fri, 9 Dec 2005 14:50:50 -0500

From: "Elise Fleming" <alysk at ix.netcom.com>

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Re: Sugar plate sotelties...

To: "sca-cooks at ansteorra.org" <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

 

Gianotta wrote:

> Last night my husband and I went to Pennsbury Manor's Holly Night.  

> (snip)

> There was a sugar-plate reproduction of the manor house in miniature,

> with sugar gravel and grass (all colored with natural dyes such as spinach and

> saffron), marzipan peacocks (peacocks wander the grounds during the

> clement months), William and Hannah Penn's initials done in sugar rope, and

> even more charming, plates and goblets made of sugar. (snip)

> So, how far back does the use of sugar-plate eating and drinking utensils go?

> Was this a practice in period?

 

In a brief answer, yes, it was a period practice.  Italian sources record

earlier dates of sugar plate utensils than in England, but both are within

the SCA time frame.  I wonder who made the items??  Susan McClellan

Plaisted is the Director of Foodways at Pennsbury Manor. She was in Ivan

Day's sugarwork class last May that I attended where we worked on sugar

paste and comfits in particular.  (She's one of the group going to the

Leeds Food History Symposium and Ivan Day's Tudor and early Stuart cookery

class.  Her web site is at http://www.hearttohearthcookery.com/)

 

In one of the articles on sugar that I wrote (on my web site) I have a

listing of all the items made of sugar paste that I could find in period

English texts.  It includes such things as shoes, gloves, lights...

 

Alys Katharine

 

Elise Fleming

alysk at ix.netcom.com

http://home.netcom.com/~alysk/

 

 

Date: Mon, 07 Aug 2006 19:10:46 -0400

From: Johnna Holloway <johnna at sitka.engin.umich.edu>

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Master Bogdan on confectioner's sugar from 2003

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

 

Before we dismiss powdered sugar with starch,

Here is a message from Master Bogdan (Jeffrey Heilveil) regarding

starch in sugarpaste and starch in modern confectioner's sugars.

 

It first appeared on the MK Cooks List among other lists.

(And yes I know that there is a difference between wheat starch

and corn (maize) starch and as to what would have been used prior

to 1600.)

 

Johnnae

-----------------------

 

[mk-cooks] confectioner's sugar is (sort of) OK for A&S

9/11/2003 9:16 AM

 

Gak.  Don't believe I typed that out loud.  Of course, if nothing else it

got your attention, right?

 

So the problem we all have with confectioner's sugar is the 3% cornstarch.

The problem with making our own is carpel-tunnel (for some of us) and time

(for all of us, I hope).  Cornstarch is still wrong.... but starch  

isn't.

 

I was doing some background research for an interview I'm doing on mead

making and came across the following:

Hugh Plat _Delightes for Ladies_.

In "the art of preserving":

13. the making of sugar-paste, and casting thereof in carved molds.

 

"Take one pound of the whitest refined or double refined sugar, if you can

gette it: put thereto three ounces (some comfit-makers put sixe ounces for

more gaine) of the best starch you can buy; and if you dry the sugar after

it is powdered, it will the sooner paste thorough your lawne searce..."

 

Let's see at 12oz/# that should be 20% starch then.... not 3%....

Wallpaper paste is wheat starch...

It would make for a VERY different sugarpaste than most of the other

recipes I've seen.

 

Have fun.  Get sugar everywhere.  Remember, it'll dissolve with water

eventually...

 

Bogdan

 

 

Date: Mon, 7 Aug 2006 21:29:28 -0400

From: Daniel Myers <eduard at medievalcookery.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] powdered sugar question

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

 

On Aug 7, 2006, at 1:15 PM, Terry Decker wrote:

> If you are asking is powdered sugar period, the answer is yes.  It was

> produced by crushing regular sugar.  Modern powdered sugar has

> cornstarch to keep it from clumping, which is the primary difference.

 

Then there's this from Hugh Plat's "Delights for Ladies":

 

"The making of sugar-paste, and casting thereof in carved moulds.

Take one pound of the whitest refined or double refined sugar, if you

can gette it: put thereto three ounces (some comfit-makers put six

ounces for more gaine) of the best starch you can buy; and if you dry

the Sugar after it is powdered, it wll the sooner paste thorough your

Lawne Searce. Then searce it, and lay the same on a heap in the midst

of a sheet of clean paper: ..."

 

- Doc

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

   Edouard Halidai  (Daniel Myers)

 

<the end>



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