Sunday, April 19, 2015

Subtleties&Stuffe Jarrin on Gum and Other Pastes


Jarrin's section on Gum Pastes from The Italian Confectioner [1820] begins with these words:


No. 464.-- Of Gum Paste.

The making of articles in gum paste is one of the most interesting branches of the confectioner's art. This mode of decoration and embellishment was once in great vogue, and the most magnificent and costly ornaments have been made of gum paste; but it has fallen comparatively into disuse, and what is worse for the confectioner, the fragments of the art have been transferred to pastry cooks, and cooks who have at once disfigured, if not destroyed, the most beautiful flower in the banquet of the confectioner. To make gum paste properly, great care and dexterity, much patience, some knowledge of mythology, of history, and of the arts of modelling and design, are requisite - qualifications seldom possessed by the mere pastrycook.” [p 215]

Jarrin’s Fine Gum Paste is a mixture prepared gum dragon and “fine and white powder sugar.” One uses a perfectly clean mortar to mix the two. “When the paste breaks in pulling, it is done; keep it in a pot covered with a wet cloth; this paste is to be used in every thing which is intended to be eaten.” That’s it. [pp 216-217]

Some of his other paste recipes are even more interesting.

No. 466.--Common Gum Paste

Is made like the fine, except that to the sugar you pound it with, is added some starch powdered very fine, half sugar, half starch; it may be made still more common by adding one quarter of sugar only.

No. 467.-- Rice Gum Paste.

Instead of starch use rice flour.” [p 217]

And then there is this professional recipe for an inedible paste which is still created by the confectioner:

No. 468.-- Plaster Gum Paste

Moisten some fine plaster of Paris with water and let it set; dry it perfectly in the stove, reduce it again to powder; wet, dry, and pound it again to take out the remaining heat; sift it through a silk sieve, and use it to fill the gum dragon instead of sugar. Marble gum paste is made in the same manner, using marble dust instead of sugar, of which there is to be none in either of these pastes; harden both with a little powdered starch; it must be used half dry to fix it, as it is apt to shrink very much. These pastes are only used for ornament.” [p 217]

Jarrin also includes recipes for an oil paste and an alabaster paste. Chapters follow on the art and techniques of modeling flowers, animals, and figures and coloring the pastes.

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