Spun sugar has been around for centuries. Some food historians say that spun sugar was in use in Italy as far back as the 1400’s.
It was used to garnish assorted confections and to make an earlier version of what we know as cotton candy.
Making spun sugar can be a bit tricky and time consuming, however if perfected the final results are utterly amazing.
What follows are simplified directions for creating both a spun sugar garnish and a spun sugar bird’s nest.
To make the spun sugar you will need to gather together the following items;
• 2 cups granulated sugar
• 1 cup water
• Pinch of cream of tartar
• Vegetable oil
• Wooden spoon
• Heat resistant, shatterproof bowl
• Medium sized saucepan
General Sugar Spinning Directions
Begin by bringing two cups of granulated sugar and one cup of water to a rapid boil. The mixture will need to continue boiling until it reaches a temperature of 312 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the simple sugar mixture reaches 312 degrees Fahrenheit remove it from the heat and add in just a pinch of cream of tartar.
Take a wooden spoon and liberally oil its’ stem. Hold the oiled, wooden spoon horizontally over the cooling sugar. Take out another wooden spoon and use it to scoop up and drip the cooling sugar over the oiled wooden handle of the horizontal spoon. Twirl the oiled handle while doing this. Doing so will make the sugar twirl into fine threads that can be used as a delicate and delicious sugar garnish.
Spun Sugar Bird’s Nest Directions
If you want to make a sugar bird’s nest instead of a generic garnish you will need either a heat resistant shatter proof glass or metal bowl. Turn the bowl upside down and liberally grease the outside and rim of the bowl with oil. Then using the handle of an oiled wooden spoon drizzle the sugar mixture onto the oiled bowl using a back and forth, side to side motion. Once you are satisfied with the bird’s nest pattern you created leave the sugar bowl alone and let it completely cool. Afterward, gently place the bowl into your hand and work the sugar bird’s nest free.
Then you can use the sugar bird’s nest to carefully plate your dessert dish.
Some chefs use spun sugar to adorn croquembouche, crème brulee and any other number of dessert cakes, pies and ice creams.