Having never been one for merrily jumping on a bandwagon and doing the latest “thing”, it will come as no great surprise that I do not really do food trends. Admittedly I went to the meat wagon, but only because for once it was relatively easy to access from my patch of London.
I have noticed flavours glore of marshmallows cropping up everywhere at the moment, for sale in upmarket chocolate shops and bakeries. I’d toyed with making some for some time, but as with Italian method macarons, the thought of using a mixer and pouring boiling sugar syrup at the same time, filled me with trepidation, and so I put the idea on the metaphorical back burner.
A few notes on the process
- Be prepared to redefine your concept of what a sticky mess is, (think along the lines of unsupervised small children with access to glue and sugar), until you make these it is not possible to imagine how sticky it can be. I got some in my hair and had to shower.
- Sugar syrup is hot, sticks to you and burns. Keep children and pets out of the way. I really hate to come over all health and safety on you, but take care especially when pouring it.
- I cannot imagine making these without a stand mixer. If you try without one half the quantities to avoid motor burnout, if you try with a hand whisk then you deserve a medal.
- You can also use egg white in them, but the eggless ones seem creamier and also last longer.
- Although I firmly sit in the omnivore camp I am very slightly icked by the idea of gelatine in these, I’d be happier if I could track down some organic, and I am experimenting with vegetarian alternatives.
- I have a fab digital sugar thermometer with an alarm, clip it to the side of the pan of sugar syrup and it will let you know when it has reached the correct temperature. Very useful. Thanks to Salter for sending me the Heston Blumenthal Precision Confectionery Thermometer.
- Enjoy them
Love Elderflower? Then try my cupcakes!
- Two sachets (about 20g powdered gelatine)
- 60 ml warm water
- 60 ml Elderflower Cordial ( I used my homemade Elderflower cordial)
- 440 g sugar
- 100 g golden syrup
- 200 ml water
- A dab of ivory food colouring
- 3 tbs cornflour
- 3 tbs icing sugar
- Mix the cordial and warm water together in a small pan and sprinkle the gelatine over, gently stir and set to one side to allow the gelatine to swell or "bloom".
- Place the sugar, syrup and remaining water into a heavy saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer until the syrup is at 120C.
- Whilst the sugar is heating, line a baking pan (about 30 x 20cm) with oiled cling film (I pour a small dab of oil on to the film and then scrunch it up to coat it).
- If needed warm the gelatine gently to fully dissolve add it to the bowl of your stand mixer and mix on a low speed with the whisk to prevent it from setting.
- Once the sugar syrup has reached 120C increase the speed of the mixer to maximum and carefully pour the syrup over the gelatine. Whisk. The mix will puff up and after 5 - 10 minutes bubble gum like strands form. Add a few drops of food colouring if desired.
- Dollop into the prepared pan and leave at room temperature for 2 hours until set.
- Mix the cornflour and icing sugar and liberally dust a board with it, turn the set block of marshmallow out, teasing the cling film from it. With an oiled serrated knife cut the marshmallow into cubes dusting each freshly cut surface with the cornflour mix as you go. I found the cutting was the hardest part of the process, the marshmallow is fairly forgiving and robust so you can pull it around a fair bit.
I think that a batch of these would make a fantastic Mothering Sunday present this weekend.
More marshmallow inspiration