Monday, October 22, 2012

Royal Icing Pumpkin

As a resident of Half Moon Bay (the Pumpkin Capital of California) I know there are probably countless ways to pipe pumpkins; anyway, here's how I did this one. You'll need stiff consistency royal icing in orange (or white) and brown, a flower nail, parchment paper squares, a Styrofoam block to rest the nail in, a glue stick, and a dusting pouch filled with a 50/50 mix of powdered sugar and cornstarch. You'll also need round tip #12 and quatrefoil-shaped tip #83 (the only other time I've used this tip was to pipe chili peppers): 
Start by sticking a parchment square to the flower nail with a dab from the glue stick. 
 Hold the #12 tip just above and at a 45 degree angle to the surface. Pipe this shape while rotating the nail. It's basically a #8 without the intersection. Try to make the sides symmetrical, but if they aren't, that's OK; pumpkins rarely are in real life.
 Fill in the center and tap it slightly flat with a fingertip after touching it to the dusting pouch.
 Repeat two more times, or however many times it takes until you no longer need to fill in a center because the sides are touching each other. You might end up with just enough room to pipe a single center line to finish the pumpkin off.
 Attach the #83 tip to the brown icing, hold it against the surface, and pipe a stem. I prefer long stems on pumpkins, but long, freestanding lengths of royal icing are susceptible to breakage so this stem is only a few millimeters long. When you stop pressure and pull the tip away, you may want to flatten the end of the stem with a dusted fingertip.
 When the icing is firmed up, peel away the parchment and use this pumpkin to decorate any dessert. You can make it in any size by varying the size of the round tip and substituting another round tip for a proportionate stem (I'm not aware of the quatrefoil-shaped tip being available in more than one size). You could also use a large round tip to pipe this pumpkin directly onto a cupcake with buttercream icing.