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One thing that I really envy about the “cooked” pastry world is all the neat things that they can sculpt and create. Most of those adorable decorations are made from a product called fondant which is made by boiling sugar and water then adding cream of tartar for stability. Once the mixture has been cooked and cooled slightly, it is very pliable and can be kneaded, rolled and molded into all kinds of shapes.
I have no desire to ever make or use fondant but fiddle-faddle (!), they can really make some creative decorations with it. So when it comes to decorating raw sweet treats, my mind is always racing to find new ways to make creative artful pieces that are adorable, healthy and taste good.
I now realize that whenever I see those cakes and desserts that are covered in fondant… I no longer look at them as food, instead I just admire them as a piece of art. No different from when I look at a painting in a museum.
Once I made that separation, I can now look at them for inspiration rather than with envy. I have accepted that if I want to really sculpt something, I will turn to clay and hunker down in my art studio. But that doesn’t mean I won’t stop trying to create masterpieces in the kitchen. :) I just have to get creative with the raw ingredients that are available to me.
So here I gave it an attempt with these little pears. At least I hope they resemble pears. hehe I made a raw marzipan dough which works pretty good for creating shapes that will hold up. The key is to make sure that the almond flour is as fine as possible or it will be lumpy. In order to get the white/cream color you will need to remove the skins from the almonds. That may sound time-consuming if you haven’t done it before, but it goes rather quickly once you start.
Bob was actually my inspiration for this dessert. He told me that I should make a pear frosting. So, I made a pear frosting… now what? lol I then created the cake batter, then I got the idea for the marzipan pears. I sort of worked backwards on this one. For us ladies, it is kind of like buying a pair of shoes first and then finding the outfit to match. :)
I snuck in a special spice/herb that is dear to my
heart digestion. While doing research about digestion I learned about the benefits of anise. So I felt it was fine time to use it in a recipe. I had a problem remembering how to pronounce the name of this spice. I can count on both hands the times I asked someone if they like…. (ooh please don’t make me say it, you know what I was calling instead don’t you? lol) anus… yes! I know!!!! I know!! But for those of you who know me well, I have embarrassed myself with words many many times.
Like the time I wanted to purchase an anemone for my dad’s salt water aquarium…. except when I went to the fish store I told the sales person that I needed an enema for my dads fish tank. (sinks head in hands). Oy-vey. But let’s get back to anise before I really start blushing… It is known to treat a variety of gastrointestinal disturbances. Symptoms such as indigestion, heartburn, and bloating may be relieved by drinking a tea made with this herb. Nausea and excess flatulence may also be treated with anise. Instead of drinking a tea, some people may prefer to sprinkle a few anise seeds over a salad or other dish to aid in the digestive process. For this recipe, I took the whole anise flower and ground it to a powder. It is always best to grind spices from their natural whole form if possible. If you can’t, ground anise will be just fine.
Cake: 3 cups = 1 tart cake took 3/4 cup batter and holds 3 pears or you can make 7 cupcakes with 1/4 cup batter each
Hazel nut pears: yields 20 pears
Above, I just wanted to share the textures of the “flours” I created.
Here I am piping out tiny pear stems.
For another fun option… you can press the cake batter into small punch mugs,
decorate and serve. So beautiful!
Look at how lush and moist it is… yum
Another option (don’t you just love options!) press some of the batter in mini
tart pans and then decorate.
Since I was talking about sculpturing up above, I thought I would share with you
my first sculpture that I ever made. Bob and I took a three day work shop with
a dear friend of our who is an amazing artist, Curt Brill.