Student Diary: Advanced Pastry Arts, Day 10

My first ever sugar showpiece!
Sea sugar showpiece, Advanced Pastry Arts
Yes, how do you like my free-formed "oyster" shell?

Putting the project together was a lot of fun, especially once my one of my class pals figured out that wearing regular dish gloves reduced the heat transferred from the 310-degree sugar to our hands was reduced to almost zero. Want to try making your own? All you need is a sturdy pot, a candy thermometer, 5 pounds of sugar, 1 quart of water, and 1 pound of corn syrup. Combine the sugar and water in the pot and bring it to a boil, washing down the sides of the pot. Pour in the corn syrup, but don't sitr. When the mixture reaches 240 degrees, add whatever water-based coloring you like. Be careful not to overcook your sugar--if you do, it will take on an amber or brown color no matter what colors you added, although we did have a couple of happy accidents ... Anyway. When the sugar reaches 310, remove the pot from heat and shock it in cold water--NOT ice water. Watch out for steam! Then you can pour, pull, or blow as desired. We also used a lot of isomalt, which isn't as finicky about temperature, but is really spendy and not very tasty.

Sea sugar showpiece, Advanced Pastry Arts

The base, starfish, oyster shell, pearl, and seaweed are examples of poured sugar. The base and starfish were poured into sugar shaped into the forms we wanted our sculptures to keep. The shell was poured into silicon muffin top sheets and then hand-formed. The pearl was poured into a spherical mold. The seaweed was poured into a pastry bag and piped into the shapes. I had some pulled kelp shapes, but they didn't survive the trip home. You can see a short nubbin of it to the far right. The coral was formed by pouring the sugar mixture into a 200 hotel pan (similar to a bread loaf pan) filled with ice cubes.


Mike Marsh said…
That is several kinds of awesome!
Elaine said…
Oh Julie - SO GorGEOUS!!
Julie said…
Thanks, Mike and Elaine! I had fun making it!
Marvin said…
Holy cow that's awesome! How long does something like that last for? does it eventually melt or soften if the room temp is warm?
Anna said…
This is very beautiful and very creative. I came across your blog and I like it.
I also have a recipes site at

Would you be interested in exchanging links?

I have gone ahead and added your link at

The name of my site is Low Calorie and Vegetarian Recipes. Thanks!
Julius said…
Wow, gorgeous!!!

I am so envious that you're pursuing advanced pastry arts.

Julie said…
Marvin, thanks! It gets up to 80 in my condo during the day, but it's doing okay. Heat isn't as bad as humidity, and that's what's making it look a bit wilty. If I were to keep it in a case, it would probably keep longer. Plust, you can't really dust it ... too sticky!

Julius--it's a class at the local community college. The best I can get is an associate's degree. Perhaps there's a college near you where you can take similar classes? I have a friend who lives in Quebec, and just that made him eligible to attend culinary school for free. I wonder if Vancouver offers a similar program?

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