Spun Sugar

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

spun sugar sugar boiled to caramel (160 °C/320 °F), and then ‘spun’ by flicking it in a fine stream off the end of two forks tied together. The thin trail of sugar sets instantly into a hair-like filament. In the classic method for spinning sugar, the filaments are caught over a wooden bar (such as a broom handle), and removed in a bundle at the end of the process. It must be used soon after it is made, as it rapidly softens and becomes sticky, especially in humid weather. Spun sugar was much used in haute cuisine for decorating desserts and fruit. In the 18th and 19th centuries, it was made into elaborate table decorations, spun into moulds shaped as vases, baskets, temples etc. This practice, largely discontinued, was revived towards the end of the 20th century, e.g. by trailing thin streams of caramel over an inverted mould to form a ‘net’ which can be used to cover ice creams, etc.