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Three-dimensional figures can be created using a number of different techniques, including carving and molding. However, piping three-dimensional figures, though time consuming, is the best way to create figures with delicate, fragile components, such as the thin legs of an animal figure. The basic technique is the same as the technique for contour piping outlined above, but two symmetrical piped figures are built up and attached together to create one three-dimensional piece.
  1. Sketch the design to be piped onto a piece of paper, then sketch or trace a mirror image of the same design on a separate piece of paper. Place each piece of paper underneath a clear acetate sheet. For an animal figure like the deer shown here, it is easier to create the head separately and attach it later so that the head can be turned to one side or the other.
  1. Table the chocolate to be used for piping to temper it, then let rest for 10 to 15 minutes to cool and thicken. Fill a pastry bag with the tempered chocolate. Pipe the chocolate onto the first acetate sheet to outline the entire shape first. Then immediately fill in the shape before the piped outline sets.
  2. To build up the mass of the piece and create a more three-dimensional shape, pipe additional layers of chocolate over the first piped layer before it has completely set. Continue piping over the design until the desired thickness has been achieved. Repeat with the second acetate sheet to create the other half of the figure.
  3. Let sit until the chocolate is completely set, about 10 minutes, then release both halves from the acetate sheets. Flip the shapes over and place them onto the marble. Fill the pastry bag with additional tempered chocolate, and pipe onto the other side of each shape to build dimension. As with the first side, it is best to outline the shape with piped chocolate first and then fill in the center before the outline sets. Pipe over both halves until they have reached the desired thickness.
  4. When the piped chocolate has begun to set but still feels tacky, lift both pieces off the marble and connect them together. The still-tacky chocolate should help the pieces to naturally adhere together.
  5. To fill in any gaps between the pieces, pipe a small amount of tempered chocolate onto the marble. Use a paring knife to move the chocolate back and forth until it begins to thicken, then scoop up some of the thickened chocolate on the knife and spread it onto the piece to fill in the gaps. Immediately smooth out the chocolate using the paring knife, and let the piece set for about 10 minutes. During the assembly process, the warmth of your hands can cause the surface of the chocolate to begin to melt. If this occurs, the chocolate may bloom once the piece is finished. To prevent this, paper can be used to hold the piece while adhering the halves together and filling in the gaps.
  6. If creating the head for an animal figure separately, sketch and pipe over the two mirror-image halves using the same technique used to create the body. Let both piped halves set completely.
  7. To build up the head, pipe about 2 tablespoons of tempered chocolate onto the marble. Use a paring knife to spot-temper the chocolate by moving it back and forth on the marble until it thickens, becomes pasty, and just begins to set. Scoop up a small amount of the thickened chocolate on the paring knife and, working quickly, spread it onto one of the piped halves. Use the paring knife to build up and shape one half of the head. Repeat with the rest of the spot-tempered chocolate and the other piped half.
  8. Warm a spatula with a torch. Carefully touch the flat, piped sides of both pieces of chocolate to the spatula to warm them slightly, then attach the two pieces together and let set for about 10 minutes, or spray with cold spray to set immediately.
  9. Once the chocolate is set, immediately use a paring knife to shave off any excess chocolate and shape the piece as desired.
  10. To attach any part of the figure that was created separately, such as the head, use spot-tempered chocolate. Pipe a small amount of tempered chocolate onto the marble and use a paring knife to move it back and forth on the marble until the chocolate begins to thicken. Scoop up a small amount of the spot-tempered chocolate and spread it onto one of the pieces to be attached, then immediately bring the two pieces together and let set for about 10 minutes. Once the chocolate has set, use the paring knife to shave off any excess chocolate where the two pieces were joined together.
  11. Use modeling chocolate (see Chapter 12) to create any final touches needed to complete the figure. To create ears for the deer figure shown here, model a teardrop shape with your hands and press it flat on the marble, then fold it into the desired shape. Use tempered chocolate to attach the ear to the figure before the modeling chocolate hardens. To create a tail, shape another teardrop shape, flatten, and make cuts as desired to achieve a hair effect. Pick up the tail and roll it into a folded shape, then attach to the figure using tempered chocolate.
  12. Store the completed figure at room temperature until ready to use.
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