Gum paste recipes vary but typically involve gum tragacanth, making it not as sturdy as pastillage. Because of the added gum, the dough is very elastic and soft, making it able to be rolled out thinner and worked with longer than pastillage. Both will hold up fairly well in humidity, but gum paste will soften slightly, as it will if it touches buttercream (because of its fat content) or is refrigerated.
Gum Paste #1
- 1 pound confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- 2 Tablespoons Gum Tragacanth
- 1 teaspoon dextrose powder
- 1/2 teaspoon citric acid
- 2 Tablespoons glucose
- 1 egg white, or enough to make 1/4 cup liquid
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons shortening – Crisco or Sweetex (high ratio shortening
- Place egg whites, lemon juice and citric acid in a heavy duty mixer with a flat type paddle. Turn mixer to high speed to break the egg whites. Turn mixer on lowest speed and slowly add the confectioner’s sugar all but 1 cup, this will be make a soft royal icing consistency.
Mix on medium speed approximately 2 minutes to soft peak stage. Color at this stage if you require coloring the entire batch.
- With mixer at low speed add the Gum Tragacanth and dextrose powder and mix on high speed for a few seconds to thicken mixture.
- Remove from bowl onto a clean work surface sprinkled with some of the remaining confectioners’ sugar, place the shortening on your hands and knead paste, adding enough of the reserved confectioners sugar to form a soft , but not sticky dough. Pull and stretch like taffy. Check by pinching paste with your fingers, they should come away clean with no paste stuck to your hands. If too sticky you may add more sugar.
- Before using, place paste in refrigerator for 24 hours if possible to mature the paste. Before use, remove from refrigerator and allow paste to come to room temperature.
Always store past in plastic wrap inside plastic bags; keep refrigerated up to 6 months and you may freeze after the paste has matured in the refrigerator at least 24 hours.
Pastillage can be made different ways and dries hard and crisp. It is used to make bases, supports, stands and replicas. It can also be colored or painted. You have to work very quickly because pastillage dries quickly.
- 1 cup Royal Icing (made from egg whites)
- 1 teaspoon gum Tragacanth
- ½ cup confectioners’ Sugar
- ½ to ¾ cups Corn Starch
- Crisco Shortening
Stir the gum tragacanth into the royal icing; then knead in the icing sugar to make fairly stiff dough. Place about one teaspoon Crisco onto your hands and knead in as much corn starch until you get pliable roll able dough. If the mixture gets too sticky then keep adding small amounts of Crisco to your hands. Use to make structures or anything you would make with Pastillage.