Forcing-bags are the first thing necessary. These can be bought ready made in stout calico, waterproof, and various other materials, from any ironmonger's or stores, the prices varying from about 7d. to is., according to the quality of material and size of the bag.
Fig. 2. Paper cornet folded ready for filling. End cut off for pipe.
If the bags are bought separately, a screw nozzle into which to fit the pipes (see Fig. ib) is also needed; the former costs 2 1/2d., and the latter, if made of nickel, about 2 1/2d. each. Some people prefer to buy a complete set, consisting of a case with bag, screw, and six or twelve pipes, costing from 2s. to 3s. 6d. Many experts, however, prefer to make their own forcing-bags of tough but thin waterproof paper sold for the purpose, or any strong, smooth-faced paper will serve. The bags are made in cornet shape (see Fig. 2), just as a grocer twists up a bag for sugar.
When the bag is firmly folded, the end is cut off to the desired size, either to allow the passing out of the end of a pipe dropped down into the bag, or just a neat serted, bag filled, and the
Fig. 3. Paper cornet in top folded over hole, through which to force the icing and other mixtures.
Fig. 4. Icing tubes for ornamentation
Next, the mixture is placed in the bag to about three-quarters fill it, and the top securely folded in and down on it. (See Fig. 3.) This fold is kept in place by the pressure of the operator's thumb.
The Forcing-pipes. These can be bought in an immense variety of patterns, with which to form every description of design (see Fig. 4). Some of the best known and most useful are the "Rose" pipe, in sizes
Fig. 5. Pneumatic icing syringe suitable for tiny cakes, to large ones with which to force potato or spinach, etc., round entrees; the "Ribbon" pipe and "Plain" pipe, the latter being required for writing,
Fig. 6. Icing syringe for icing tubes lattice-work, plain coils, etc.
Besides the bags just described, patent pneumatic icing syringes (Fig. 5) are used, costing about
3s. 6d., or icing syringes
(Fig. 6), from is. to
3s. 3d. These prices are without the pipes. As usual with these mechanical contrivances, they have both staunch admirers and detractors.
Fig. 7. Meringue pipes or forcers
Fig. 8. Using the forcing-bag and pipe
Cake decorated with a "Hose" pipe
To force or pipe icing or other mixtures successfully, considerable practice is necessary (Fig. 8). The best plan is at first to simply make patterns on a plate or flat tin. In this way the hand becomes accustomed to using the bag, and acquires the even, continued pressure needful to produce steady, unbroken lines.
The Mixtures to be Forced or Piped: Great care must be taken on this point, no matter whether sugar icing, mashed potato, or any other variety is being used.
1. If too stiff it will force badly, and need so much pressure that the design is sure to be shaky.
2. If too thin and soft, it will not force easily, and the pattern will blur and lose all sharp and clear outline.
3. Unless perfectly smooth, the pattern cut on the top of the forcing-pipe will be blocked by a bit of grit in the.sugar, lump in the potato, etc., and work is hopeless, the bag having to be emptied, the pipe cleaned, and operations started over again. Therefore, always rub icing sugar through a hair sieve, and potatoes, etc., through a fine wire one. Mixtures must also be thoroughly beaten.
Care of Bags and Pipes. Scores of these become useless through neglect and bad usage. After use, unscrew or push out the pipe, lay all that have been used in clean water, and leave them there until there is time to clean them.
Turn the bag inside-out after squeezing out all the mixture possible, then soak it in hot water, with a scrap of soda added if the mixture used has been greasy.
To Wash the Pipes. Gently push out with the tip of the little finger all the mixture, and well rinse the pipe in hot water. If really necessary, a very soft brush can be inserted, but never anything hard, such as a pin, stiff brush, etc., for when once the points of the pipes get displaced the pattern is spoilt and the pipe useless.
Cake decorated With various pipes, "Ribbon," "Plain," etc.
Rinse the pipes in clean, cold water, and leave them in a warm place until they are quite dry. Never push a cloth into them, or allow them to be dropped or knocked.
The Care of the Bag. Wash and rinse the bag well (but use no soap) until quite clean. Special care is needed if cream or butter has been used in it, as it soon becomes sour and rancid, and would impart an unpleasant flavour when next used. Hang the bag in a dry place until it is perfectly dry. Never shut it up in a drawer if it is in the least damp, or it will become musty.
Cake decorated with the "Ribbon" pipe