Fondant is sugar syrup that is recrystallized to a creamy white paste. It is widely used in the pastry shop for glazing and decorating. If properly applied, fondant dries to a silky-smooth icing that not only enhances the appearance of a pastry, but preserves it as well by sealing it from the air. Glucose and cream of tartar are used to invert part of the sugar to achieve the proper amount of recrystallization. Without these ingredients, the cooked sugar will harden and be impossible to work with. Conversely, if too much glucose or cream of tartar is used, there will not be enough recrystallization, and the fondant will be soft and runny.
Although fondant is inexpensive and relatively easy to make (once you get the hang of it), it is almost always purchased in a professional kitchen either ready to use or as a powder to which you add water. To make your own fondant, you will need a precise sugar thermometer (test in boiling water to determine accuracy), a sugar pan or heavy saucepan, a wide spatula or bench scraper, a marble slab (2 × 2 feet/60 × 60 cm for this recipe), 4 steel or aluminum bars, and, as in all sugar work, quick reaction time when the sugar has reached the proper temperature.
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