Pastillage (pronounced "pahss-tee-yahzh")

Ever wondered what these are made of?

Oh man, some day...

For now... these are my examples. They're a far cry from ones in the internet but hey, trying is something. A mixture of cocoa powder and vodka makes for a great medium to paint on pastillage. The border around the plate and the frame around the bamboo painting is modeling chocolate. My next post will be on modeling chocolate, so don't worry, you'll have all the information to start creating. The dragon painting was done by my niece, Christine. She's an amazing artist and at the time, which was several years ago, it was a first for her in using a paint brush.

Back to pastillage...

Pastillage is a sugar paste that is used for modeling decorative items. Unlike marzipan and other modeling pastes, it is rarely, if ever, intended to be eaten. Although it is made entirely of edible items, pastillage is as hard and brittle as plaster of Paris when it dries, and nearly as tasteless. It is used primarily for making display pieces, such as centerpieces for dessert buffet tables, or small baskets or boxes to hold petits fours and candies. Pastillage is normally left pure white, although it may be colored in pastel shades. - Le Cordon Bleu Professional Baking 4th Edition by Wayne Gisslen.

This is once again a recipe from the same book.

Makes 3 lbs


  • 0.5 oz gelatin
  • 5.5 oz water, cold
  • 2 lb 8 oz confectioners' sugar
  • 5 oz cornstarch
  • 0.04 oz (1/2 tsp) cream of tartar


  1. Stir the gelatin into the water. Let stand 5 minutes, then heat until the gelatin is dissolved.
  2. Sift together the sugar, starch, and cream of tartar.
  3. Place the gelatin mixture in a stainless-steel mixer bowl. Fit the mixing machine with the dough hook.
  4. With the machine running at low speed, add the sugar mixture just as fast as it is absorbed. Mix to a smooth, pliable paste.
  5. Keep the paste covered at all times.

Must Read!

  • Keep pastillage covered at all times. Use plastic film and double wrap.
  • Keep unused portions in a bowl covered with a damp cloth when you're working with it
  • Work quickly and without pausing until whatever you're working on is formed and ready for drying
  • Use cornstarch to dust your work surface, but only enough to keep the paste from sticking - too much cornstarch will cause it to crust over quickly then crack
  • Roll to a thickness of about 1/8 in./3 mm
  • Have your paper patterns ready before rolling; and as soon as the pastillage is rolled out, use a sharp knife to assure clean cuts
  • If using a mold - make sure the mold is clean, dry, and finely dusted with constarch
  • Drying - your piece must be turned over several times to ensure that it dries evenly and completely; pastillage tends to curl or lose its shape when it is not evenly dried
  • Use extra-fine sandpaper to smooth out the edges or the entire piece
  • Assemble pieces using royal icing