Friday, April 20, 2012

Gum Paste Marijuana Leaf

Three months ago today, all of us in Half Moon Bay and specifically Coastal Repertory Theatre lost a dear friend, Evan Saunders, to brain cancer. It's not a secret that his quality of life when dealing with the ravages of chemo was greatly elevated by the accessibility of medical marijuana. Of course, this concept of "smoking medicine" has a certain humorous quality; last year on this day, April 20th, I dropped off a present at his house: a silicone trivet shaped like a pot leaf called a "Pot Holder." I tossed it to him and wished him "Happy 420!" I had no idea at the time it would be the only year I'd get to commemorate the 20th of April like that with him. Anyway, I had him in mind today, and wanted to take a crack at making a pot leaf out of gum paste. I made this up as I went, using whatever tools I had available. As you've probably guessed, Wilton doesn't exactly make an official "Gum Paste Marijuana Leaf Set." I started by dusting the backside of an impression mat over the groove with a dusting pouch filled with a 50/50 mix of powdered sugar and cornstarch.
 Then I made a log of gum paste; the color is about 75% Avocado and 25% Leaf Green, both by AmeriColor. Press down the log over the groove, give it a good dusting…
 …and start rolling it out with a 9” fondant roller with no rings; you want it thinner than 1/16”.
 When you peel up the gum paste, you’ll see the ridge formed by the groove. Center a large lily cutter over the groove, with about half an inch between the end of the ridge and the tip of the leaf.
 Cut the leaf and tear away the slack. Return it to the remaining gum paste, which should be kept under a plastic cup to keep it pliable.
  Dip a 4” 22-gauge florist’s wire in gum glue adhesive (a pinch of gum paste dissolved in a tablespoon of water).
Lay it on one side of the ridge…

 …and fold the ridge over. Press it down gently.
 Carefully taper the end of the leaf where it meets the wire with your thumb and forefinger.
 Move the leaf to a piece of purple shaping foam, wire side down. Run a large ball tool (part of the Wilton 10-piece Fondant and Gum Paste Tool Set) around the edges to thin them.
 Using the underside of the small end of the veining tool (also from the 10-piece set), draw a line down the center of the leaf from base to tip.
 Using the same tool, make the edges jagged using short, diagonal strokes. For the record, I’m not thrilled with how these edges turned out; I tried a few different tools: everything from individually cutting out the little saw-teeth edges with a paring knife to cutting bits away with the tapered end of a petal tip used for piping icing. For now this will have to do.
 Draw diagonal, parallel veins with the same tool on each side of the center line.
 Ultimately, I made one leaf using a large lily cutter, two leaves using small lily cutters, and hand-cutting two lily leaves down smaller with a paring knife to make the smallest leaves.
 Start wrapping the stem about half an inch below the leaf. When the tape starts to stick to itself as you’re wrapping, slide the tape up to the base of the leaf and wrap the stem all the way to the end of the wire.
Wrap all the leaves together; they’ll be more stable if you wrap each one individually to the one next to it. Start with the largest leaf in the middle, and work your way out until the smallest leaves are on the outside. You could use the final product to decorate a cake or, you know, a pan of brownies.

1 comment:

  1. I should make them for my hubby! He's a former pot-head and every year, he celebrates 4/20, though not with the actual substance.