April 1, 2019

Pikachu w/ Manga Edible Sculpture | Pokémon / Edible Book Day

          Today is International Edible Book Day! Started in 2000, the Edible Book Festival is often celebrated throughout March and April with various events around the world, but the official day is April 1st because Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, who studied and wrote about the relationship between culture and food, was born on April 1, 1755 (he is the originator of the phrase "Tell me what you eat, and I'll tell you who you are"), and because it's April Fool's Day and the idea of "eating your words" is a pun-y thing. :) (Here's a link to the original Edible Book Festival website, but it is no longer updated. The Facebook page is still a little active & has lots of photos.)
          Make sure to check your local library, college, art museum, community center, or other places like that to see if there is an Edible Book event near you!

          Earlier in March, my daughter's elementary school had an Edible Book event and contest to coincide with Read Across America Week and Dr. Seuss' birthday. Smalls has been loving the various Pokémon manga series, so we decided to make an edible creation centered around that! Because the contest was going to be judged by the whole student body (by voting with tokens after seeing all of the creations), we thought we'd construct a pokémon that most people would be familiar with; Pikachu, of course! So we made Pikachu reading manga. And we won Best in Show/First Place!!

          This was such a fun creation to make––it's definitely Food Art. Pikachu was sculpted from colored rice krispie treat mixture, and the manga is made from graham crackers, homemade marshmallow, & royal icing. The coloring and drawing was done with edible food color markers.
          In case any of you might be interested in how we did it, I've shared recipes for the components below. :)


Pikachu w/ Pokémon Manga Edible Sculpture

Aside from the ingredients listed below, you'll need:
Plain Graham Crackers
Edible Food Color Markers
Toothpicks & a small Skewer
Foam Board Base (I stacked & glued 4 smaller boards & edged the stack with colored tape)

Marshmallow Pages
Ingredients:
1 pkt. (1 Tbsp.) Plain Gelatin Powder
3 Tbsp. Cold Water
1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
2 Tbsp. Water
2 Tbsp. Light Corn Syrup
1/2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
Pinch of Salt

Directions:
In a small bowl, stir the cold water & gelatin powder, & then put it in the fridge for several minutes to solidify.

In a small pot on medium-low heat, combine the sugar, 2 Tbsp. water, & corn syrup &, without stirring, heat until the sugar has melted. Break up the solidified gelatin & dissolve it completely in the sugar mixture.

Pour the sugar/gelatin mixture into a large mixing bowl & add vanilla flavoring & a pinch of salt. Beat on high with the whisk attachment until white, fluffy, & doubled in size (it should also be glossy & stiff).

Line a large tray with plastic wrap & spray with non-stick spray. Pour the marshmallow mixture onto it & spread it out evenly to about 1/2” thickness. Spray another sheet of plastic wrap & then lay it spray-side-down onto the marshmallow. Make sure all of the marshmallow is covered with plastic & then let sit on the counter for a couple of hours to solidify. Use a pizza sprayed with non-stick spray to cut.

To make the books/manga: For the right size marshmallow pieces, lay half of a plain graham cracker on the marshmallow & cut around it, using the cracker as a template. Grahams come in large rectangles with 4 sections, so cut (sawing gently with a sharp serrated knife) & break several in half horizontally. This will give you the front & back to your books. For the spines, carefully cut pieces that are the same thickness as the marshmallow (about 1/2" wide, trim to fit).

Stick all of the components together with royal icing (recipe below), let dry, & then pipe & spread (with a toothpick) royal icing on the cover & spine, letting each side dry first. Draw onto the hardened icing using edible food color markers. Use black to draw the page lines directly onto the marshmallow. Secure the books onto the base of the sculpture, or stacked onto one another, using royal icing. Keep in mind, if there’s a side of the book that won’t be seen, there’s no need to ice or draw on it (like with stacking, or laying on the base.

For the open book, I sliced a section of marshmallow in half through the middle, secured it to the grahams with icing, & piped royal icing onto the open sides to create a smooth flat surface to draw on. I secured the book though the marshmallow to Pikachu’s stomach using hidden toothpicks (not royal icing), resting it on Pikachu’s arms (though they weren’t really holding any weight).


Moldable Rice Krispies
(for 1 manageable batch)
Ingredients:
2 Cups Mini Marshmallows
~2 Drops Bright Yellow Food Gel
3 Cups Rice Krispie Cereal
Crisco Shortening for handling the mixture

Directions:
Put the mini marshmallows into a large microwave-safe bowl & zap for about 40 seconds. Squeeze in 2 generous drops of yellow gel coloring & stir until completely yellow. Quickly add in the Rice Krispies & stir a bit & then get in with your hands, coated with crisco shortening, to mix thoroughly so everything is an even yellow. If it’s getting too stiff, microwave for another 15 seconds.

Shape the mixture into Pikachu’s body. Repeat the steps to make another batch & form Pikachu’s head. Make a third batch to shape the ears, arms, & feet. For the tail, flatten out the shape on a tray.

Pipe on royal icing (recipe below) for the eyes, nose, mouth, cheeks, ear tips, back stripes, & color at the base of the tail. Let the icing harden. Color with edible food color markers.

Assemble Pikachu using toothpicks, or simply the stickiness of the Krispie treat mixture. Use a small skewer to go up through the tail, & use little toothpicks through the larger top of the tail if needed to keep it from drooping. Instead of putting the tail end/bottom directly into Pikachu’s behind, I pushed it through the foam board base right behind Pikachu, for extra security. Secure Pikachu to the base using royal icing.


Royal Icing
Ingredients:
1 lrg. Egg White
3 Cups Powdered Sugar
1/2 tsp. Cream of Tartar
Water as needed

Directions:
In a large, clean (& dry) mixing bowl, sift the powdered sugar & then mix in the cream of tartar with the paddle attachment. Add the egg whites & mix until smooth with stiff peaks. Add water, 1 tsp. at a time, until it’s thinned a little, but isn’t runny; you want it pipe-able & a little but spreadable.

Sit a large piping bag into a tall cup & open it over the cup edges. Scoop the icing into the bag & then twist it closed & secure with a rubber band. Snip a small opening in the end. When piping icing onto larger surfaces, like the manga covers, use a toothpick to smooth it out before it can dry.
Repeat the steps if you need to make more icing.

* For more of my Pokémon-inspired food, click here*

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