A thick sugar paste, similar to gum paste, that can be molded into different shapes and forms. When dried, it is hard and brittle. Unlike gum paste, pastillage dries much quicker and stronger. Made with gelatine, water and icing sugar, it hardens quickly and can only be shaped or molded for a short while by hand. If handled too long, surface will begin to dry and crack. It can also be rolled in a variety of thicknesses and cut in to shapes to dry and join later.
After hardening, sand paper can be used to achieve very smooth and even textures. Perfect material to produce very small to very large sugar toppers or centerpieces to decorate cakes. Can be used for making structures like buildings, gazebos, carriages, boat sails etc. Yes, you can eat it, but its primarily used to make a statement rather than consuming as it dries very hard. Pastillage’s disadvantage is that you only have a short time to work with it but it’s quick firmness gives a huge advantage to cake decorators who require a quick response from materials.
For information on handling pastillage, see our article on how to handle and work with pastillage.
- Icing sugar mix has 10 percent starch. As a result, this makes it a reasonably lump free and smoother dough.
- If you use pure icing sugar you must sift and add some starch.
- Small adjustments with the amount of water makes a big difference to how hard or soft it is.
- If you use corn syrup which is more runny than glucose, recipe will need to be balanced by adding more icing sugar to the mix or reducing the amount of water.
- If you boil the water more than a few seconds, there will be a reduction in the amount of water due to evaporation, so you may need to adjust recipe.
- You can use pastillage immediately after producing it.
- If you store it, you will need to recondition it back to a workable state by heating it up in a microwave. Be careful not to heat it up too much or you will not be able to knead and work with it because it will be too soft, sticky and hot to touch. Only do 10 - 15 seconds (depending on the amount being used) at a time to make sure you do not heat it up too much.
- While making pastillage, you may also heat up the gelatine and water in a microwave (instead of on the stove) but ensure that the container being used is microwave safe and can handle hot temperatures. Also allow room for rising. Keep watch and only heat up a couple minutes at a time to make sure it doesn't overflow when reaching a boil.
For more information on handling pastillage, see our article on how to handle and work with pastillage.