Sugar Corn Centerpiece
- Scant 3 cups sugar (1 kilo)
- 1/4 cup vinegar (40 grams)
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons water (250 grams)
- Food color paste ? assorted colors
Before you begin this recipe, please take a class from a professional on working with sugar. This is a skill that professional pastry chefs develop after years of experience. Working with sugar will burn your fingers so know before you start that your fingers will develop burn blisters. Place the sugar, vinegar and water in a saucepan over high heat. Insert a candy thermometer and cook until the sugar reaches 320 degrees F. Use a pastry brush to keep the inside of the saucepan clean as the sugar cooks or the sugar may recrystallize. To do this, dip a clean brush in cold water and brush the inside of the pan clean. Pour the cooked sugar onto 3 or 4 silicone baking mats. If you want to color the sugar with food colors, this is the time to do so. Add a few drops of food color to the sugar. Mix with a wooden skewer. To get started, push the sugar from the sides toward the center. This process takes a little while. Try to keep the sugar divided by color. Use the mat to push the firm sugar around the edges toward the center. Use a folding motion to accomplish that task. The next step is to pick up the sugar with your hands. Place each color under the heat of the sugar lamp (you can use a space heater or work in front of an open 300 degree F oven). Pull the sugar until it becomes glossy and the color is evenly distributed. You will need to pull the colors simultaneously. Keep them under the sugar lamp but keep an eye on them. The lamp can melt the sugar so it is important keep rotating it and folding it onto itself.
You will need to repeat the following steps for each color. Try to do this somewhat simultaneously to keep the sugar from melting under the lamp. Pull the sugar to incorporate air.
Pull and cut a piece of the yellow sugar. Form into and flat oblong shape, like an ear of corn. Use a knife to score the designs of the kernels into the sugar. Form it so it has a curved shape like an ear of corn. Set aside on a silicone mat. Pull and cut a piece of the green sugar. Pull a long piece so it is quite thin at the end. Continue making the green leaves until the corn is covered. Use this process to make additional ears of corn. Make additional leaves. Make a round flat base that is about 6-inches in diameter. Pull a 12-inch tall artistic shape to which you can "glue" all of the other ears of corn and leaves. Use a blowtorch to glue ears to base.
Recipe courtesy Jacques Torres Chocolate, MrChocolate