Traditionally, poured fondant was made by making a dense sugar syrup, then stirring it over a period of about half an hour until it turned into fondant. Fortunately, the modern age brought us the food processor, which made things much easier. The new standard poured fondant recipe goes like this: 2 1/2 cups (17.5 ounces) sugar, 1/2 cup (4 ounces) water and 1/4 cup (3 ounces) corn syrup. Combine that in a small sauce pan and heat it to 238 degrees.
As soon as the syrup hits 238, pour it into the bowl of your food processor and immediately…wait.
…for about half an hour until the temperature of the syrup drops to 140.
At that point turn on your processor and leave it on. The syrup will at first turn a slightly translucent yellow…
…before finally turning white. This will take only about two minutes.
Promptly pour the fondant into a quart-sized Ziploc bag, conveniently stretched over the mouth of a glass measure.
Let it sit until it’s cooled. At which point all you do is squeeze the air out of the top of the bag and seal it.
And voilà, a batch of poured fondant. Doesn’t look very “pourable” does it? In fact it’s hard as a rock (well, almost). That’s because you have to warm it and dilute it with a 2-1 sugar-water syrup before you can use it (but more on that soon). You can use it immediately or keep it (ideally in the fridge or even freezer) for up to a year.
Applying Ze Poured Fondant
So what do you do with this sugar putty once you’ve made it? Great question. To use it you need to melt it but since it hardens rather quickly as it cools it’s not easy to work with in its unadulterated state. That’s why we’ll need to dilute it. Slightly.
The easiest way to gently melt poured fondant is in a double boiler. This is a full batch, about 20 ounces.
To make it spreadable and to keep it loose enough so we can make a design in it — for Napoleons or Esterházy torte — we’ll add very, very little water. The reason: because just a little water can make quite a lot of syrup. I find that 3 1/2 teaspoons is about perfect for 1 batch (20 ounces) of poured fondant.
After the water has been added to the melted fondant, stir it while it cools down, since you don’t want a skin to form. You want it to come down more or less to room temperature. Why? Because very often there’s layer of jam under poured fondant and we don’t want it to melt when we apply the fondant, because that’s a mess.
So, when the fondant feels almost completely non-warm it’s time to apply it. Here I’ll do a design for Esterházy torte. I pour on about a cup of the diluted fondant.
The I spread it around with an icing spatula. At this point it seems like the fondant is too thick since I can see ridges after I spread it. But if I wait ten seconds or so the fondant will slowly settle to a smooth layer with rounded edges, at which point it’s ready for the melted chocolate or ganache.
I make some concentric circles…
…then drag a toothpick outward…
…outward and so on…
…all the way around.
I should note that it generally helps to avoid spreading poured fondant all the way out to the edge of what you’re coating since you’ll get very slow spread for the next minute or so. If you can avoid letting the firming fondant flow over the edge of your pastry it’s desirable since the falling icing with stretch out whatever shape you just created. It will be fully set up after about 15 minutes.