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Sunday, July 1, 2012

Royal Icing Lumina Pumpkins

For those of you who might be thinking "Isn't it a little early to start thinking about Halloween?" the answer is, "I never stopped!" I love those half-pumpkins made out of the same slurry as candy corn, and thought I'd try piping an approximation of them in white; Lumina pumpkins are so elegant! You'll need a flower nail, a Styrofoam block to rest the nail in, a glue stick, parchment paper squares, stiff consistency royal icing in white, brown and green, a dusting pouch filled with a 50/50 mix of cornstarch and powdered sugar, round tips #12 and #3, oval tip #57, and leaf tip #65.
Start by piping a ball with the #12 tip. Hold the tip just above and perpendicular to the surface of a parchment square, and pipe until the icing is about the size of a nickel. Continue to squeeze and pull up…
 …until you have a shape similar to a Hershey's Kiss.
 Touch a fingertip to the dusting pouch and tap down the peak. Pipe one base for each pumpkin.
 When the bases have firmed up, stick one gently by the paper to the nail with a dab from the glue stick.
 Switch to the oval #57 tip, and pipe a line from the outer edge to the center. Stop pressure and pull the tip away. If a peak remains, touch a fingertip to the dusting pouch and tap it down.
 Repeat on the opposite side…
 …and continue piping neighboring lines until the base is covered.
Be sure the base is really firm to start with, or it will flatten out like this: 
 Allow the pumpkins to firm up a bit, then pipe a brown stem with the #3 tip. Hold the tip against the surface in the center, squeeze, and pull up, stopping pressure almost immediately and pulling the tip away. Coax a curve into the stem by nudging it with a fingertip.
 You can pipe the tip #65 leaves directly on the pumpkins when the stems have firmed up, or you can pipe them on a parchment square.
 Attach them to the pumpkins with a dot of white icing; the #3 tip should do.
Of course, since royal icing keeps pretty much indefinitely once it's hardened, the idea of piping Halloween decorations now isn't that absurd! Plan ahead! 

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