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By Chayala and Rivky
In our world, isomalt is used to create magnificent decorations for baked treats. Isomalt is a versatile, crystalline substance that is preferred by pastry and cake professionals for its stability and usability. It will not caramelize and darken like sugar when it is heated. Isomalt is fairly easy to use. Its clarity and the ability to color it make it ideal for crafting beautiful decorations that add amazing flair to your creations.
Isomalt can be simply melted and poured into a silicone mold or it can be kneaded to incorporate air to create a taffy-like substance for modeling and creating.
To prepare isomalt for molds, place 4 Tbs. isomalt powder into a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan or a microwave-safe measuring cup. Heat isomalt until it reaches 320°F and is melted and bubbling. If you are working with a pot, stir occasionally. If you are working with a microwave, begin by microwaving for 1 minute and stirring. Continue to microwave at 30-second intervals until isomalt is bubbling. You should have a clear liquid. Remove from heat and add a dab of gel food color.
Many pastry artists suggest using a lollipop stick to stir isomalt while melting. This keeps you from having to wash hardened isomalt off a utensil. Pour isomalt syrup into a silicone mold and use a toothpick or lollipop stick to draw the syrup to all edges of the mold; filling it in completely. This will ensure perfectly formed decorations. Allow it to cool completely.
Starting at outer edges, turn molded creations carefully out of the pan. Place on your cakes, cupcakes or mousses. You can divide your isomalt to make a variety of colors and combine them in the decorations.
When the isomalt is cool, it is usually still pliable and can be gently curved or twirled. To create bows like the one shown here, use a large leaf mold and carefully curve the finished leaves after you have removed them from the mold. The loops or curved leaves are then arranged and stuck together with additional melted isomalt.
Isomalt decorations can also be painted with luster dust that has been mixed with a bit of vodka or pure lemon extract to make paint. Other decorations like butterflies that have more than one piece will stick together with a bit of melted isomalt. Additionally, you can glue a skewer or wire onto your decoration so you can place it on a cake.
Isomalt can also be used almost as modeling clay. Heat as directed above and pour isomalt onto a silpat silicone mat. Allow to cool for a few minutes. You will need gloves to keep from burning your fingers. Cotton gloves covered by vinyl gloves will give you protection from the heat as well as keep fingerprints off your isomalt decorations.
Begin by folding the slab of isomalt over onto itself a few times. Gently stretch the piece and continue folding. The folding will incorporate air into the isomalt, making it pliable. Continue stretching and folding until the isomalt is slightly opaque and has the consistency of taffy. You can now form petals for flowers or long spirals or other creations. Use additional melted isomalt to “glue” pieces together.
Remember not to overheat the Isomalt syrup or finished pieces will be very brittle. Just be sure to keep an eye on it so it does not go above 320°F on a candy thermometer. Leftover isomalt can be reheated and used for molds. Finished isomalt decorations should be kept cool and dry in an airtight container. Moisture will make them melt or become misshapen. Do not refrigerate isomalt. Always place finished isomalt pieces on cake just before displaying.
Bottom line is, using isomalt is a beautiful and creative way to decorate cakes without much effort. Stop by today for a firsthand look at some decorations we’ve made.