Can Isomalt be pulled to create the same satin effect as a pulled sugar? This question came to us and It was honestly not something I had attempted. I love that I work with these ingredients every single day and still there are new ways I haven’t thought to use them. The technique of pulling sugar is to take a hot sugar that has just begun to cool. While it is still malleable you pull the sugar, twist one half of it 180 degrees and then fold. You repeat this process over and over to create a nice shine. But as is commonly the case, once I find the answer I want to know “why”. So if Isomalt can be pulled just the same way as sugar can, why is it able to do so? And if it can be pulled like sugar, which one is better to use for a pulled sugar display piece?
“Can Isomalt be pulled like sugar?”
Keeping it Together Through Thick and Thin
If you are just looking for the answer, yes Isomalt can be pulled like sugar. Isomalt has a similar enough structure to sugar that it will react in the same ways during the pulling process. As the pulling of the sugar or Isomalt it will create layers and aerate just enough to change the color of the final piece. The reason why the sugar or isomalt changes color is because the thin layers of sugar and air refract the light attempting to pass through. This gives the pulled sugar a beautiful shine and satin like finish. Isomalt works in the same way. Now that we know isomalt can be pulled, which one is better: sugar, isomalt, or a combination? Isomalt has a few important benefits, the first one being its resistance to humidity. Isomalt is much better at keeping the humidity from making the exterior tacky. This is great for display pieces. Another benefit that is great for display pieces is that it is much less likely to crystalize than granulated sugar. The last benefit we will cover is that it cools much slower than sugar so you get a longer window of time to work with Isomalt as it is cooling. Generally with molten sugar you will need to go back and forth between working and either a microwave or heat lamp to keep it malleable, isomalt requires less of that. Isomalt is less sweet than sugar. It is about 60% as sweet as granulated sugar. For candy making sugar is still going to be the best for flavor. But, It can be blended with sugar to get the best of both worlds if you feel you need to prevent crystallization and humidity. Next time you are making a large pulled sugar display or even a small batch of candy consider adding isomalt to get all of its benefits.
Looking for inspiration? Check out this Cranberry Teardrops ecipe!