Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Gelatin (Gelatine) Icing Recipe


5 tablespoons water
2 sheets (leaves) gelatine
2 teaspoons liquid glucose (you should be able to find this in the supermarket, if not try your local chemist/drugstore)
500g (1lb 2oz) icing sugar (confectioner's sugar)
2-3 tablespoons cornflour (cornstarch)


1. Place 5 tablespoons of water into a small heatproof bowl and stand inside a saucepan with about 2cm (1/2 inch) of water in the base.

2. Using scissors, cut the gelatin leaves into small pieces and place into the water in the bowl. Gently prod them to make sure all the gelatin is submerged.

3. Place the saucepan on a gentle heat and slowly heat the water. As it heats up, the gelatine should start to dissolve. Once it has dissolved completely remove the bowl from the heat.

4. Spoon two teaspoonfuls of liquid glucose into the gelatin and stir in.

5. Place the icing sugar (confectioner's sugar) into a large mixing bowl.

6. Tip the gelatin/glucose mixture into the centre and stir in.

7. When you can no longer stir, use your hand to mix the rest together. (It will seem quite lumpy at this stage.)

8. Sprinkle the cornflour over your work surface and place the gelating icing on top. Knead the icing adding more cornflour if necessary. You should end up with icing that feels quite silky and smooth.

9. Place into a plastic food bag (as it will start to harden very quickly )until you need to use it.

Gelatin icing can be used immediately and does not need to be refrigerated. If it gets difficult to handle you can try softening it by giving it a quick blast in the microwave (about 5 seconds)

Gelatin (Gelatine) Icing

Gelatin icing is a type of icing that sets hard and brittle. I use it for all sorts of things including castle turrets, flags and plaques. It is not suitable for covering cakes as it would be difficult to cut. There are similar types of icing available that perform the same type of function - pastillage is one. There are numerous recipes available online. You can also buy ready made pastillage and pastillage powders that you mix up from cake decorating equipment stores.
I opted for using gelatin icing in my books because the ingredients are easy to get hold of and should be available in your local supermarket. However the books use powdered gelatin and in the UK at least something rather peculiar has happened to powdered gelatin.

It started with a couple of e-mails from readers trying to make their own gelatin icing and has now become a regular torrent. Instead of producing a smooth stretchy icing, the powdered gelatin is producing something dry, stringy, and completely unuseable. What have you done oh Gelatin manufacturers???

So to try and save any potential castle cake makers out there from dry stringy frustration, I have spent the last two afternoons experimenting with gelatin leaves (sheets). These are thin transparent sheets of gelatin that you should be able to find in your supermarket. As I was doing this it crossed my mind that you could cut these up to make glass for windows in a gingerbread house but hey I digress...

Recipe to follow!