Jelly Carving

by anna on February 27, 2012

in Anna's Blog

Tomorrow is my birthday or, as I always call it, A-Day. In Russia we say “Jam Day” (“День Варенья”). Because you are supposed to eat sweets! 🙂

I used to do food sculpture (you know, cakes looking like purses and suchlike), however, I didn’t for the past 2 years. And any skill vanishes if you don’t practice it. So, to avoid shame tomorrow, I decided to practice today :).

I won’t make the cake, I will just decorate it. I first was thinking about making fondant flowers, which are the easiest to produce, however, nobody in the family likes them. They’re really VERY sweet :). So, I thought I’d make chocolate pour filigree leaves and jelly carved flowers.

I first wanted to roll jelly worms into roses. But jelly worms appeared to make much better shells than roses 😀 – see the “After” picture.

To make chocolate filigree leaves, you can go either way.

First, on the back of deli paper draw the leaf design. Melt a piece of baking chocolate, pour into a nozzle bottle and let it sit for a minute or so. With the bottle, draw designs on the deli paper, following the outline on the other side. Quickly stick in the freezer for  20-30 minutes.

Second, pour to fill general outline of the leaf. Stick in the freezer for 30 minutes. Using a thin blade, carve filigree design you want out of set leaf.

To make carved jelly flowers – obviously roses and lilies are the easiest to make 🙂 tulips are a bit more complex. Daisies require a special concave carving tool. I use powdered sugar as my release agent. Or keep boiling water nearby and often dip your blade in there. When working with jelly, work FAST! 🙂 Or your blade will get hopelessly stuck ruining your design.

Carving roses: slice 3-4 thin pieces off the sides of a round piece of jelly without going all the way through the piece. This will leave you with square/triangle inside. With your blade, slice off corners of this nice geometric figure, rounding them up. Discard/eat the corners. Slice another 3-4 pieces, starting in the middle of each of the previous petals. Round up corners of the inside piece. Cut a wedge in the inside piece. Slice off the bottom, just as we do with polymer roses (unless you want a very tall rose :)).

Now the fun part! 🙂 Put your hands in hot water for a few seconds. Quickly re-shape the petals of your jelly rose, curling them outward. Get a stiff new brush and brush some powdered sugar around each petal. That will keep them from sticking to each other. Use a powdered food colorant to give some flair to your rose. Of course, you can just use colorant as anti-sticking agent, but it’s a rather costly thing. So, I use much cheaper powdered sugar first. The colorant will color your sugar, no worries here :).

Below are the pictures of a fun gingerbread house we made with Ken a couple years ago :).  The writing on the sugar address plate reads “The Gray Residence”

Happy carving (and eating)!

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