made out of bean paste? Is there such a
thing? If you’ve never heard about bean
paste flowers, or just would like to know more about it, here’s a bit of an introduction
on this new trend that is spreading in the cake world.
First time I heard about the bean paste flowers was thru Instagram; I was intrigued when I saw someone was squeezing a sugar flower, it appeared soft and flexible, like how a real flower would be and I was like - “Whoa! What was that?!”
As you know, sugar flowers made out of gum paste/flower paste are hard and you can’t really do that. And so the fascination began.
I learned that those kinds of squishable flowers are made out of bean paste.
Now, not to confuse with bean paste that is PIPED into flowers like buttercream (that is another story), this bean paste is more like a dough similar to fondant or gum paste. It can be rolled, shaped and manipulate into different shapes and forms like fondant and gum paste. They are also known as bean paste craft, bean flower paste or bean paste for flower modeling.
This trend started in Asia, where beans are popular and commonly used in desserts. People asked me how the bean paste tastes like, and I say if you are familiar with bean based dessert like mochi or wagashi, that is what it pretty much tastes like. I guess, it is sort of an acquired taste, if you grew up eating bean base desserts (like I did), it would taste very familiar to you.
As the name implies the main ingredient of this paste are beans, white beans to be exact. Compared to gumpaste which is almost 100 percent sugar, this recipe has a lot less sugar which could be as low as 30%. The body of the paste is created by the beans and the sugar is just mainly there for taste. You can adjust if you want it sweeter or less sweet.
This bean paste is made out of natural ingredients that you can easily find at the grocery store and using very basic equipment that you may already have. Beans are quite cheap, so this paste is very affordable to make. It is a good vegan alternative as there are no dairy or animal products used in this recipe.
As for the moment, there is no commercially available ready-made bean paste for making flowers that I know of, so it has to be made from scratch.
Okay, I have to be honest here, making bean paste is a process and takes time. The process is simple, it just takes a bit of time and some elbow grease but the end product for me is worth it. I will be sharing the recipe and some time saving tips on my online class coming very soon.
UPDATE: Class is now available here.
For me, the best quality about bean paste is the texture and transparency of the medium. As you can see on the picture below, I made petals out of bean paste and gumpaste, made the same way, about the same thickness and you can see that the bean paste on the left side has more light showing thru than the gumpaste on the right side.
And another quality that I love about the bean paste is how the colours tend to blend together; the subtle gradation of colours that you can achieve makes the flowers look more natural. You don’t have to use petal dusts to achieve this. And it doesn’t make elephant skin like fondant and gum paste do.
bean paste stays supple a bit longer than gumpaste so one advantage of that is
that when arranging the flowers as a bouquet, you can make tighter bouquets
that won’t need much filler flowers. Longer
drying time also means you can play with the petals a bit longer too. When still supple, the bean paste petals
feels like real petals of flowers and that is why it is so enjoyable to squish
it (as seen on video below, I can't help it lol). You will understand
once you get to touch it too :)
There is a bit of difference in handling the bean paste than gum paste so I feel like knowing just the recipe is not enough and that is why I am putting together an online class all about the bean paste flowers, from making the bean paste recipe, colouring it and to making a few classic flowers. My next post will be about it, so keep an eye out :)
UPDATE: Class is now available here.
Til next time,