Susan Notter, CEPC, is an award-winning sugar artist and instructor. At the most recent Deep South RBA workshop, she offered tips and tricks for creating exquisite and detailed pulled and blown sugar creations.
During this demonstration, Notter worked with isomalt. While isomalt can be more expensive than sugar, there is less waste with it, and it can be much safer to work with. It's also a great medium to color. On the other hand, it's less sweet—in fact, it's not very tasty at all. So if you're looking to create a sugar piece that is also tasty, isomalt is not the way to go. But if you are strictly creating a showpiece, isomalt might be your best bet.
Notter created a piece that was from a scene from the Alice in Wonderland movie, starring Johnny Depp. When creating the rabbit character, Notter made sure to create the jacket around the body first, and then the arms. When creating a character piece, it's important to create an element of movement. And with the arms, Notter says to be careful to avoid the tendency to make them too short, and remember to create a joint for the movement effect. She suggests using a person as a model, and positioning him or her exactly how the character will be to get a realistic idea of how elements like the hands would be positioned.
Notter considers pieces like this to be "showpiece engineering" — a test of skill and attention to detail as much as anything. "You combine the art of food and the art of what you do," she says.
Keep an eye for Notter on Food Network this fall!