Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Another Royal Icing Violet

Back in January I piped one version of a violet (the one from Wilton's Course 2: Flowers and Cake Design). I recently learned another while reading The Art of Royal Icing by Eddie Spence. I'm not sure if it's better, but it is slightly different (and possibly more botanically accurate). You'll need a flower nail, a parchment paper square for each violet, a non-toxic glue stick, a Styrofoam brick, a dusting pouch filled with a 50/50 mix of powdered sugar and cornstarch, yellow royal icing in a bag fitted with a #1 or #2 round tip, and purple royal icing in a bag fitted with an Ateco #59 tip (or any curved petal tip designed for piping violets; bear in mind there are tips available that curve in the opposite direction if you happen to be left-handed).
 Start by attaching a parchment paper square to the flower nail with a dab from the glue stick.
 I try to follow everything in the Eddie Spence book to the letter, but I find I have better success if I pipe the large bottom petal first (he starts from the top and works his way down; you should try it both ways to see which works best for you). Hold the wide end of the curved-teardrop-shaped tip in the center, and turn the nail as you pipe; you'll form this cupped petal that's more or less a semicircle:
 Pipe two smaller petals above it, again with the wide end of the petal at the center. It's looking a bit like Mickey Mouse, isn't it?
 Then, pipe a small narrow petal on either side of the two small petals for a grand total of 5 petals.
 You can touch a finger to the dusting pouch, then lightly nudge any petals that are standing in unattractive ways, or smooth out any rough edges. You might want to allow the petals to firm up for a few minutes before piping the yellow stamen, which is done by holding the small round #1 or #2 tip just above and at a perpendicular angle to the center, then piping a small bead, stopping pressure, then pulling the tip toward the bottom of the largest petal; the stamen should resemble an upside-down teardrop.
These look especially charming on top of tiny desserts like petits fours and bite-sized cupcakes. Perfect for tea parties! 

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