To make fondant, sugar, corn syrup, and water are cooked to the soft-ball stage, partially cooled, and then beaten into a thick opaque mass. The next step is to let the fondant rest or “cure” for at least 24 hours to let the sugar soften before it is ready to use. At this stage fondant can be made, placed in air-tight containers or bags, and stashed in the refrigerator for several weeks until you’re ready to use it.
The traditional way to make fondant is to pour the cooked mixture onto a marble slab and then proceed to work it with a spatula until the mixture becomes a thick white crumbly mass, then knead for several minutes until the fondant becomes thick and smooth. Fortunately, in this modern age, we have the option of using a food processor which eliminates the labor intensive steps.
Fondant, using a food processor especially, is extremely easy to make, has a wonderful creamy and sweet flavor, and once you make it the first time you’ll be hooked.
This recipe makes about 1¼ pounds of fondant. The directions below provide both the traditional method and food processor method of making fondant.
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- 2½ cups granulated sugar
- ½ cup water
- ¼ cup light corn syrup
- In a medium size heavy saucepan, preferably non-stick, combine sugar, water, and corn syrup. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, until the sugar is completely dissolved. Stir gently to avoid splashing the mixture onto the sides of the pan. Tip: The sugar must be completely dissolved. If any sugar is left undissolved it will later cause crystallization of the entire batch of syrup.
- When the syrup looks clear, wash down the sides of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in cold water. Increase the heat to medium high and bring almost to a boil, then cover the pan with a tight fitting lid and remove from the heat. Let sit for 5 minutes to create steam which will further wash away any sugar crystals clinging to the sides of the pan.
- Remove the lid and clip a candy thermometer to the inside of the pan. Return the pan to medium high heat and bring the syrup to a boil, without stirring, until the syrup reaches a temperature of 238 degrees F, a soft-ball stage. While the syrup is cooking, wash away any sugar crystals that form on the sides of the pan by wiping upwards with a damp pastry brush so the sugar crystals don’t fall back into the syrup. Remove pan from the heat and remove the candy thermometer.
- Continue making the fondant with either the traditional method or food processor method.
- Sprinkle a large marble board, large baking sheet, or large shallow platter with cold water.
- Once the syrup reaches 238 degrees, remove the pan from the heat and let stand for a few seconds to allow the bubbling to subside. Immediately pour the syrup onto the marble slab, baking sheet, or platter. The syrup should not be more than 1 inch thick. Do not scrape the saucepan as this may scrape any errant sugar crystals into the syrup. Let mixture sit to cool slightly, undisturbed, for a few minutes.
- Using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, begin lifting and folding the edges of the syrup into the center to begin cooling the mixture. Continue lifting and folding until the syrup becomes glossy and has a faint yellow color. Then begin to stir the syrup briskly, working the entire mixture, until it becomes white and begins to stiffen and become crumbly. This will take between 5 to 15 minutes.
- Gather the entire mixture up with your hands or dough scraper into a ball and begin kneading until the mixture becomes smooth and pliable, 5 to 8 minutes. If the fondant begins to feel sticky dust a little cornstarch on your hands as you are kneading.
- Shape the fondant into a thick disk and wrap the fondant disc tightly in plastic wrap and then place in a resealable plastic bag or airtight container and store at room temperature to rest and cure for at least 24 hours to let the sugar soften. At this stage the fondant can be placed in an air-tight container or bag, and stored in the refrigerator for several weeks until you’re ready to use it.
- Have a food processor fitted with a steel blade ready. Place a quart size resealable plastic freezer bag in a heat proof container, such as a 2-cup glass measuring cup; set aside until ready to use.
- Once the syrup reaches 238 degrees, remove the pan from the heat and let stand for a few seconds to allow the bubbling to subside. Immediately pour the syrup into the food processor bowl fitted with the steel blade. Do not scrape the saucepan as this may scrape any errant sugar crystals into the syrup.
- Wash the candy thermometer before reusing, or use an instant read thermometer and place into the syrup to monitor the temperature. Let mixture sit to cool, uncovered and undisturbed, until it reaches exactly 140 degrees.
- When the syrup reaches exactly 140 degrees, turn the processor on and process for 2 to 3 minutes or until the fondant becomes a creamy white opaque mass.
- Immediately pour the finished fondant into the freezer bag. Close the bag without sealing. When the fondant is completely cool, remove the bag from the heat proof container, squeeze the air out of the bag and seal it. Let the fondant rest and cure at room temperature for at least 24 hours to let the sugar soften. At this stage the fondant can be placed in an air-tight container or bag, and stored in the refrigerator for several weeks until you’re ready to use it.
Peck, Paula, The Art of Fine Baking, Simon and Schuster, New York, 1961
Teubner, Christian, Cakes & Pastries, Hearst Books, New York, 1983
Walden, Hilary, The Complete Home Confectioner, Chartwell Books, New Jersey, 1986