Sugarworks or Sugar Sculpture is really where you get your creativity juices flowing. One really needs to get the techniques right first though - cast sugar, pulled sugar, straw sugar and blown sugar. Rock Sugar, Pressed Sugar, Spun Sugar and Pastillage are also in the list. It really takes time and lots of patience to do this...trust me on this as I cursed a few times under my breath in my sugarwork classes. If you have watched Kings of Pastry, you will know that it gets really emotional too. My heart broke when I watch the beautiful sugar piece broke and shattered and I really salute the Chef who continued finishing his art piece....yes siree!!!
Cast Sugar is the easiest as you just need to pour the sugar into mold or you can even do free hand. You use this as a base. Here's a piece which was made from cast sugar only.
In the 2nd week, we made Pulled Sugar in class. Once the sugar is cooked, we had to pour it onto the silpat mat and we had to fold, twist and pull. This traps air and gives it a fantastic shine. Mind you, its really hot and we had to rest our hands on the bench after 2-3 twists and pulls. We can make ribbons, flowers, leaves, etc with pulled sugar. Here's a piece which was made from Cast Sugar (base) and Pulled Sugar.
In the 3rd & 4th week, we learnt Straw Sugar and Blown Sugar. We made Straw Sugar from the Pulled Sugar. As the name stated, its sugar that looks like straw. You can even use it as a straw and drink from it...tried it and it worked..ha!ha! As for blown sugar, you have to take a piece of Pulled Sugar and place it onto the tip of the bronze pipe which is attached to a hand pump. You really have to pump it slowly or it will burst and slowly shape it into anything you want. Here's two photos of Straw Sugar and Blown Sugar.
So...here's the few basic techniques and once you have mastered these techniques, you can create a wonderful sugar sculpture. It seems that sugar sculptures are becoming more and more popular and maybe, just maybe I will find it on a wedding cake one of these days.