Sugar Artistry: Sugar Skull Pastillage Showpiece

Pastillage is awesome. I truly mean that. What is it? Just a basic sugar dough. But, say you want to make something cool without going through the struggle that is sugar work, use pastillage. You can roll it, cut it, mold it, shape it, airbrush it, and glue it. To me, the best part about pastillage in comparison to sugar is that it's way less sensitive to moisture than sugar, meaning it doesn't crystallize after a day of display. I took my piece home, and  I'm projecting that I will keep it for as long as I spend here in Rhode Island. 

Even if Halloween and Day of the Dead/Halloween were not approaching, I probably would have still designed and made this showpiece. 

Pulled Sugar Flower
Pastillage Formula 
Source: JWU Sugar Artistry Booklet

330g water
50g glucose
25g gelatin
2100g powdered sugar
10g cream of tartar
300g corn starch

Method of Prep:
1. Combine glucose and very cold water. Bloom gelatin in 1/2 of the water
2. Sift the powdered sugar, cream of tartar, and corn starch either onto a clean table or in a large bowl. Make a well.
3. Heat the water/glucose/gelatin mixture in a microwave to 130 degrees.
4. Add the remaining half of the water/glucose mixture and bring down to 110 degrees.
5. Pour the water mixture into the well of dry ingredients and slowly incorporate the dry into the wet using your hand until a slightly tacky, but not sticky (and not dry) dough forms.
6. Adjust the consistency. If the dough is too sticky=add more powdered sugar. If the dough is too dry=add more water
7. Store air-tight in doubled plastic bags.

Helpful Hints for Using Pastillage:
*use small amounts at once, the dough dries fast!
*knead (only slightly) before using.
*sift corn starch over a clean surface before rollling out.
*texture after rolling and before cutting.
*an xacto knife is your best friend.
*so are hardware stores (for cutting tools, textures, and airbrushes)
*allow pieces to dry for a few days on styrofoam (good air circulation), or wood. Flip after 24 hours to prevent warping.
*glue pieces together with royal icing or melted pastillage.
*sand edges down with sandpaper to smooth uneven cuts.
*pastillage is meant to stay white, only airbrush small decorations and edges.
*pastillage is delicate, be gentle when handling dried pieces!

And a couple little home halloween decorations to go along with my showpiece:

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Maira Gall