The dragees consist of a core coated with a layer of sugar, regular, compact, hard, smooth. The superficial part of the coating layer may be colored or not.
The core consists of various products, almonds, hazelnuts, or interiors composed of nougatine, chocolate, liqueur, almond paste, fruit paste, etc ...
The manufacture of dragees has been done by hand for centuries in so-called rocky basins. These basins had the shape of a flared spherical cap and were provided with two handles fixed at the opposite ends of the diameter of the basin which allowed to hang the basin on the ceiling of the workshop. The craftsman impressed upon the rickety movements of rotation and back and forth necessary to roll the dragees.
These rickety parts were replaced by Dragee turbines rotating on an inclined axis. These are large copper containers, spherical in shape with a wide opening allowing the artisan to pour on the cores successive syrups while stirring Dragees that follow the rotation printed on the turbine.
The equipment of a turbine comprises the heating (which is carried out by a steam coil glued to the outer body of the turbine) an adjustable pulsating air inlet, a suction of dust.
The process is as follows: the turbines being loaded with previously prepared cores are set in motion, the syrup maintained in temperature, is distributed on the surface of the nuclei using a ladle by the Dragiste. The quantity will vary according to the manufacturing criteria.
Once this operation is complete, the individual wind tunnel for each turbine is started and controlled in time, flow and temperature. Evaporation being done, the blower will be stopped and a new cycle will begin again.
These traditional operations of manufacturing require great qualities of care and skill of the dragistes so that the layer of sugar is at once crisp and tender, not very thick, regularly distributed and perfectly smooth.
For the manufacture of dragees, many operations are carried out successively :
- Exfoliation of interiors,
- Smoothing and coloring.
The sorted almonds are put to dry in a ventilated oven.
They are then placed in the dragee turbines. A scrub syrup composed of gum arabic and sugar is prepared and used to wet the almonds by distributing it so that their surface is perfectly covered with a film of syrup.
The almonds are dried with a syrup containing gum arabic powder. The purpose of this operation is to cover the almonds with a film and prevent the oil from migrating outwards or causing stains.
We then operate the magnification which consists of covering these nuclei with a layer of sugar. A syrup of relatively high concentration sugar is used. This syrup is poured manually on the almonds in the moving turbine, the evaporation of the water is facilitated by the heating of the turbine and the blowing of air on the surface of the interiors.
The magnification generally lasts a whole day and requires 30 to 60 charges, depending on the thickness that is desired to give to the sugar layer.
Finally, smoothing is carried out which is intended to give the dragees this aspect of porcelain and a perfectly smooth surface by carrying out "loads" with a syrup of low concentration sugar; this operation is performed cold.
The syrup is flavored with vanilla most often and colored if necessary with regulated food colors.
They are coated with a layer of silver from pure silver powder, this operation is performed in glass turbines.
The dragees are initially treated with an agglutinating solution based on gelatin.
They must be perfectly smooth before being covered with food silver.
The dragees fantasies are chocolate, nougatine, fondant, almond paste, liquor ...
They are formed from interiors cast or molded, gummed and then coated in the same way as Almond dragees.
This product was created by Mr. BRAQUIER, well before the First World War, to satisfy gourmets who wanted to combine tasting good products and festive atmosphere.
The slogan of the time was also "The dessert, it's gaiety".
Indeed, this shell is a confectionery made of chocolate, handmade, which explodes and lets slip a flood of dragees and astonishing objects.
Although it is not new, this article is still very popular with customers.