I know its April already but I got a bit behind with the blogging, what with changing continents and all…but I simply have to put up these pictures before I get on to the next posts! Back home, the last end of March is characterised by March lilies that pop out of the dry, rock-hard soil without any sign that their bulbs lay dormant there for about a year. We recently had a huge bush fire, but it looks like all it did for the lilies was accentuate the show. The one above is also called a Blood Brush, but the actual name of the lily I do not know (if you do – please drop me a line and fill me in!) They evoke wonderfull childhood memories, along with the variety below, wich spreads out to look not unlike a flaming chandelier..
Point of the post? I associate the colour red with March for some reason, and as I was hanging out at home wasting my time waiting for a visa, I got inspired by a Patisserie book of mine to make fondant, something about as time consuming and out there as you’d find in a pastry book. I’d only done it once before, back in chef school, and by the end of the excercise, could see why its now readily available from specialty bake suppliers in SA ( although I saw it in Sainsbury’s in the UK). Obviously it was going to be coloured red!
Don’t start this at home if you don’t have a marble top. Cook a sugar syrup to soft ball stage (test this in icewater – its important) and slowly pour the syrup onto the marble, keeping it from spreading out too much with scrapers. Now agitate it with the metal scrapers in a figure-of-8 motion. This changes the sugar crystal structure as the mixture cools down. Carry on until the syrup becomes thick and slightly crumbly – about 10 minutes of agitating the syrup on the marble.
When the mixture becomes too stiff to work with the scrapers, knead it until it becomes a ball with a silky feel. Place in a bowl and cover, leave overnight in a cool place to ‘ripen’ for at least 24hrs.
The next day: Bake a flat genoise sponge, cool down and sandwich with whichever icing/filling you fancy – I simply used blackberry jam. Cut into bite-sized cubes or triangles and glaze with and apicot-jam glaze. Re-heat the fondant ball gently, with some plain thin sugar syrup to thin it out and get the melting process going. If you want to colour your fondant, do it now, with cocoa; liquid or fine food colouring.
Cover the cakes with the warm fondant as evenly as you can – you need to work quite quickly! I wasn’t very good at this, and my cakes looked like I had dripped red wax all over them! Finish off with a chocolate drizzle if you wish, and get ready for a serious sugar hit. Not for the faint-hearted!