I received a shipment of goodies today, among them Isomalt. Isomalt is an alcohol sugar made from beets. It is half as sweet as sucrose, table sugar. It also has some neat properties, one of which I played with tonight after dinner.
I took 1 cup and melted it in a sauce pan. I formed a ring with some metal wire I had laying around and decided to make some "glass".
This photo is of a bit of cranberry left over from making the cranberry stock for "Cranberry Frozen & Chewy" encapsulated in a thin membrane of melted isomalt. Like blowing bubbles with a ring, what I did was melt the isomalt to 240 F or so, and then dip the ring in the liquid sugar. I dropped some of the cranberry through the center of the ring. When the isomalt cools, it becomes brittle, like glass. You can pop it in your mouth and get a fun texture with the flavoring you use.
This is an extremely difficult technique. The fine cooks at El Bulli manage to do this perfectly. They have better equipment that keeps the isomalt at the perfect temperature, and with a better method of creating the shell.