Roll a small portion of gumpaste into a ball (gumpaste may be tinted,if desired). Cut 18 gauge white or green floral wire to desired length. Use pliers to create a dog-leg (L-shaped) hook at end of the wire. Apply a small amount of edible adhesive to hook. Pull straight end of wire all the way through gumpaste and twist hook until it is securely in the center of the paste. Press to seal paste around wire. Apply a small amount of cornstarch to cavity 9 on the Dahlia Flower Drying Tray by Martellato. Press wired gumpaste into cavity to create the dahlia center. Remove wired flower center from tray and brush off residual cornstarch. Apply decorating dust at this time (we used Blood orange petal dust and Gold Highlighter mixed with lemon extract). Make a hook at the end of the wire. Hang on flower drying stand for a minimum of 1-2 hours or preferably overnight.
Small Dahlia Petals
Roll out gumpaste thinly (#6 on PME Gumpaste Roller). Cut and emboss six dahlia petals using small cutter from the Dahlia Plunger Cutter Set by Martellato. Place each petal on a CelBoard and cut along petal dividing line to separate individual petals. Note: Do not cut all the way to center of flower, only along marked line. Place petals on a CelPad. Drag Dresden Tool along center of petal and then use your fingers to pinch the tips into a “v” shape. Note: tips do not need to stick together.
Lightly dust cavities 1, 6 and 7 on the drying tray with cornstarch and place first three petals accordingly. Use a small CelStick to make a hole through the center of each petal. Allow petals on tray to dry for five minutes so that they hold their shape but are still flexible. If you are using decorating dust to add color and sheen to your flower petals, apply it at this time (we used Blood Orange Crystal Color Dust and gilded the edges of the petals with Gold Highlighter mixed with lemon extract).
Apply edible adhesive to back of wired flower center and push wire through one of the three remaining small petals. Cup petal and gently press down on it to adhere to flower center. Hang on flower drying rack for five minutes.
Moisten center of second remaining small petal and top with third petal, pressing down gently to adhere. Be sure to stagger petals. Place double petal on top of cavity 8 in drying tray. Run wire through petals and through hole in bottom of tray and push down on center to adhere all. Drape edge of tray over counter or place bloom on drying rack for five minutes.
Large Dahlia Petals
Follow instructions in first paragraph for small dahlia petal, cutting four petals instead of six.
Lightly dust cavities 2-5 on the drying tray with cornstarch and place petals accordingly. Make a hole through the center of each petal and dust at this time, if desired. Allow petals to dry for one half hour to an hour so that they hold their shape but are still flexible.
Moisten center of petal in cavity 1 using a waterbrush. Place petal in cavity 2 on top of first petal and gently press down on center to adhere. Repeat procedure with remaining petals in cavities 2-7, moistening and adding a petal, then pressing on the center to adhere. You will see the flower begin to take shape as you add each petal. Make sure to stagger petals to achieve a full bloom.
Moisten center of petal from cavity 7. Pull wired flower center with attached small petals through stacked petals and drying tray and gently press down with Celstick to adhere. Hang edge of tray over counter and adjust petals with a Celstick to your liking. Allow to dry for a few hours on the tray, at which time you may remove to a CelPad to dry overnight.
To learn more of Chef Alan's tricks and tips for making gumpaste dahlias with the Martellato plunger cutter watch his YouTube video here.