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The Big Things, Architectural Pastry

Today's blog will return to a look at advanced Pastry Arts applications. Although far from being something a novice pastry cook can jump into, it offers some more examples of what you can strive for. We will begin with a look at the history, then a number of mediums and a few examples of simpler applications you can try at your leisure.

Marie Antoine (Antonin) Carême (French: [maʁi ɑ̃twan kaʁɛm]; 8 June 1784 – 12 January 1833) was a French chef and an early practitioner and exponent of the elaborate style of cooking known as grande cuisine, the "high art" of French cooking: a grandiose style of cookery favored by both international royalty and by the nouveau riche ("newly rich") of Paris. Carême is often considered one of the first internationally renowned celebrity chefs. Click the following link for a brief introduction to the architect of pastry, Careme.

  • Pastillage

  • Chocolate decor

  • Sugar work

  • Ice carving

  • Wedding cakes

  • Gingerbread

  • Bread modeling

  • Fat sculpture

  • Marzipan

Above is a list of more common examples of architectural pastry applications. Within this list, are an extensive list of sub categories. Many baker's and pastry chefs only gain mastery in a few of these. One of the Masters of pastillage, a Canadian pier of mine, Steve Evetts took this skill to a "lifesize" level, by creating works to scale. This can take years, just to complete one single piece. Incredibly fragile and difficult to work with, pastillage is similar to royal icing, except that it remains maliable while working with it.

Another pier and educator I had the opportunity to learn from, Walter Schreyer Culinary Institute of America CMPC worked with architectural gingerbread. Again he would spend months and years planning and building showpieces to scale. Betty Vannostrand, similarly made wedding cakes in this manner. I took a course with her at the CIA learning advanced wedding cake techniques. Not one of my favorite skills, but I felt it was important to have some competence in this area.

Conclusion If you look back at a few of my previous blogs, you will find some examples of simpler projects in chocolate, marzipan and sugar work. Additionally, if you would like to participate in my online program in advanced Culinary and Pastry Arts, feel free to contact me at any time. Until the end of May, I am offering access to my 2 year program for $149. After this time the subscription price will be $449 per year. I'd love to see you there! Cheers, and have a great weekend!

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