Lisa’s Letters Home: Homemade Marshmallows

Lisa’s Letters Home: Homemade Marshmallows

Every year, my friends and I participate in a fundraiser at our local ceramic painting shop (http://www.crazyglazy.com/squish-a-boob/). It involves putting paint on our boobs in their back room, pressing them against some sort of pottery, decorating it in an artistic manner, and drinking quite a lot of wine. No, seriously – I am not making this up. It’s all in aid of breast cancer research and they’ve done a stellar job in raising thousand of pounds over the past few years.

When I can, I make something edible to sell on the night to help raise funds, always with a boob theme. The first time was cupcakes decorates with jugs, melons, and puppies (Get it? Get it?) and last year I made macaroons with nipples. This year, it’s BoobMeringues and raspberry marshmallows, the latter not looking at all like boobs.

marshmallows

I’ve been meaning to try this marshmallow recipe for ages, mostly to justify the existence of my candy thermometer. I think these make a lovely gift, but it’s also a nice chemical-free alternative to store bought marshmallows. They come out light and fluffy, and melt in your mouth. It’s more like the top to a lemon meringue pie than the chewy variety in stores. They’re very sticky, so coat your hands with icing sugar when you’re packing them away for storage.

I managed to find liquid glucose in my local supermarket (in the baking section, in a tube) but you may need to use a substitute in other countries. I think light corn syrup (the clear kind) would work.

If you don’t have a candy thermometer, you can do a quick test to see if the syrup is ready. You want it to reach the “hard ball” stage, which means if you put a little drop in a cup of ice cold water briefly, it’ll harden immediately after you scoop it out. If it’s still squishy after its ice bath, it’s only at “soft ball” stage and will need a few minutes longer. It took around 10 minutes for mine to get to the hard ball stage.

I cannot see how you could make this without a freestanding mixer, but I suppose you could employ a small child to hold an electric mixer for you.

This is not vegetarian as it uses gelatine, but it is gluten-free for your celiac friends. You can store the marshmallows in an airtight container for a few days.

Lisa’s Letters Home: Homemade Marshmallows

Ingredients

  • (Makes about 40 marshmallows, 1” cubed)
  • 2 cups (455 g) white sugar
  • 1 Tbsp liquid glucose
  • 2/3 cup (200 ml) water
  • 2 large egg whites (at room temperature)
  • 9 sheets gelatine (about 16g/½oz), soaked in 140ml water
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Icing sugar/confectioner’s sugar, for dusting and coating
  • Cornflour/cornstarch, for dusting and coating
  • 1 cup (250 grams) fresh raspberries or raspberry coulis

Method

Put the sugar, glucose and water in a large pan.

Bring to the boil and continue cooking over a high heat until it reaches 127C/260F on a sugar thermometer.

Resist the urge to stick a finger in this or lick the spoon as it’ll be hotter than molten lava.

Meanwhile, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.

When the syrup is up to temperature, remove from the heat and carefully slide in the softened gelatine sheets and their soaking water.

The syrup will bubble up so take care not to burn yourself.

Pour the syrup into a large glass or metal measuring cup.

Continue to beat the egg whites while slowly pouring in the hot syrup.

The mixture will become shiny and start to thicken.

Add the vanilla extract and continue whisking for 5-10 minutes, until the mixture is stiff and thick enough to hold its shape on the whisk.

Lightly oil a 30cm/12in x 20cm/8in shallow baking tray.

Dust the tray with sieved icing sugar and cornflour and then spoon half the marshmallow mixture over and smooth it with a spatula.

Coat the raspberries with a mixture of icing sugar and cornflour, and lay over the top of the marshmallow mixture.

If you’re using coulis, drizzle it on top and use a toothpick or skewer to gently mix it through, like a marble effect.

Cover the raspberries with the remaining marshmallow mixture and leave for at least an hour to set.

Dust a work surface with more icing sugar and cornflour.

Loosen the marshmallow around the sides of the tray with a butter knife and turn it out on to the dusted surface.

Cut into squares and roll in the sugar and cornflour.

Leave to dry a little on a wire rack before packing into an airtight box.

 

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