Proficiency in this requires much practice, a good taste for design, and expertness in boiling, taking particular care to avoid graining. The moulds may be made either of copper or tin, slightly rubbed over with butter or oil. Boil clarified syrup to "caramel," taking care to keep the sides of the pan free from sugar. The moment it is at crack, add a little acid to " grease " it. When at caramel, dip the bottom of the pan into cold water, take out, and let cool a little; then dip a tablespoon in the sugar, holding the mould in your left hand, and from the spoon run the sugar over the mould, either inside or out, with the threads which flow from it, which may be either fine or coarse, according to the state of the sugar. If required very coarse, pass the hand over them 2 or 3 times; when hot, it flows in finer strings than when cooler. Form on the mould into a sort of trellis-work; loosen from the mould carefully, and let remain until quite cold before taking off, that it may retain its shape.
When the sugar gets too cold to flow, put it beside the stove or fire.
These are best made with loaf sugar. To 10 lb. put 1/2 oz. cream of tartar with the water, and boil to crack. Pour on the stone, and work in 2 1/2oz. finely powdered tartaric acid. Instead of making into drops by hand, this is now done by a machine, called a "drop machine" The rollers are either slightly oiled before a thin sheet of the sugar is passed through them, or the sheet of sugar itself is dusted with finely powdered sugar. In large establishments, all kinds of drops, balls and sticks are made by machine.
Blanch some fine Jordan almonds, cut into thin slices, and colour in a small copper pan over the fire with prepared liquid colour. Put into pun, and pour in colour sufficient to give desired tint; rub about in the pan with your hand until quite dry; form as for a Chantilly basket, and spin sugar over, or form on an oiled marble slab, and spin sugar over on each side. Afterwards arrange in a mould, or build to any design, first having a pattern cut out in paper, and form on the stone from it.
Prepare some ratafias rather small, and near of a size; boil some sugar to "caramel," rub the inside of a mould slightly with oil, dip the edge of the ratafias in sugar, and stick them together, face towards the mould, except the last two rows on the top, which should be reversed, their faces meeting the eye when the sugar is cold; take out, and join the bottom and top together with the same sugar; make a handle of spun sugar, and place over. Sugar may be spun over the inside of the basket, to strengthen it, as directed for webs. Line the inside with pieces of Savoy or sponge cake, and fill with custard or whipped cream, or the slices of cake may be spread with raspberry jam. Half fill with boiled custard, put in a few Savoy or almond cakes soaked in wine, and cover the top with whipped cream; or fill with fancy pastry, or meringues. All sorts of fancy cakes may be made into baskets as ratafias.
Boil syrup to caramel, colouring with saffron, and form as directed for silver. It can be folded up to form bands or rings. Fasten to other decorations with caramel. If a string or thread of sugar should pass over parts where they are not required, so as to spoil the other decorations in the making of baskets or other ornaments, it may be removed with a hot knife without breaking or injuring the piece.
Similar to Chantilly. The oranges are carefully peeled and divided into small pieces, taking off the pith. Insert a small stick or whisk in the end of each, dip in caramel, and form on the inside of an oiled mould. Cherries and grapes may be used fresh, or preserved wet, and dried. Dip in caramel, and form as oranges. Each after being dipped in caramel, may be laid on an oiled marble slab separately, and served on plates in a pyramid, with fancy papers, flowers, etc. The baskets are finished as Chantilly with spun sugar.
In this, orris powder, with a little tartaric acid, is frequently used as a substitute for raspberry paste, in the same manner.
Boil 1 qt. clarified syrup to crack. Have some icing jpreviously prepared as for cakes, or mix some fine powdered loaf sugar with white of egg to a thick consistency, as for icing; take the sugar from the fire, and as soon as the boiling has gone down stir in a spoonful of this or the icing, which must be done very quickly, without stopping. Let rise once and fall; the second time it rises, pour out in a mould or paper case, and cover with the pan to prevent falling. Some pour it out the first time, and immediately cover. It may be made good both ways. If required coloured, add colouring to the syrup whilst boiling, or with the icing, adding more sugar to give the same stiffness as before. For vases or baskets, prepare some plaster moulds, as for grained sugar; soak in water before use; prepare some sugar and fill the moulds. When finished, they may be ornamented with gum-paste, piping, or gold-paper borders. Fill with flowers, meringues, fancy pastry, caramel fruits, etc. They may be made in copper or tin moulds, by oiling before they are filled.
Boil clarified syrup to crack, using the same precautions as before, giving a few boils after the acid is added; dip the bottom of the pan in water, and let the sugar cool a little; then take the handle of a spoon, or two forks tied together, dip into the sugar, and form either on the inside or outside of a mould, with very fine strings, by passing the hand quickly backwards and forwards, taking care that it does not fall in drops, which would spoil the appearance of the work. Take a fork or iron skewer, and hold in your left hand as high as you can, dip the spoon in the sugar, and with the right hand throw it over the skewer, when it will hang from it in very fine threads of considerable length.