Appears in
Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

  • About

pastillage is a malleable sweet dough made of powdered sugar, water, binding agents such as gum tragacanth or gelatin, and acid (vinegar or cream of tartar) that is used in making edible decorations.

In recipes and illustrations dating back to the seventeenth century, pastillage is presented as part of the confectioner’s arsenal to impress the British and French nobility. Only the very rich could afford the expense of processed and pulverized white sugar and the artisanal expertise of dedicated pastry chefs.