Originally Posted by yogiwan
Was this the one where Martha threw the sugar into the air and it expanded into fine threads of sugar shape in a cone?
It seems to me she threw everything up in the air and had it spin around a tree shaped cone. Then when it cooled and solidified she could carefully lift it into place around the cream puffs. I only saw this once so memory may not be any good. But I remembered thinking at the time that any home cook that would try that was "nuts" Only Martha could get away with throwing sugar around the house expecting it to come down where she planned instead of all over the kitchen, dining room and any where else you could imagine.
What you do is assemble your little filled cream puffs in the shape of a pyramid, sticking them together with your caramelized sugar.
You then melt/caramelize additional sugar, & when it's at the correct temp, you use a fork or a snipped whisk (which is what I used) to lift the sugar out in long golden strands & cover/swirl the cream puff pyramid with them. There's absolutely no throwing or tossing involved. One doesn't toss mad-hot sugar around unless one wants to visit the ER - lol. Apart from hot oil, very few things are hotter than melted sugar. It is true, however, that you can spin sugar over oiled "molds" & then place them over desserts. Luckily this one doesn't require that extra step.
Anyway - it turned out absolutely gorgeous, but serving was another matter altogether. All that crispy sugar does make elegant service a bit difficult. I felt I should have offered my guests complementary dental appointments for the following day.
And another caveat? Keep the weather in mind if thinking of making this dessert. I was asked to repeat this extravaganza for a New Year's Eve party, & it was humid & rainy that night, thus making the spun sugar difficult to deal with & much less lovely.