When I first moved oversees (quite young) and I lived in the UK, Greece, Lebanon, and Australia, one of the first things I noticed it that a taste you take for granted is actually very different from one place to another.
Take industrially produced marshmallows for example, simple basic stuff, well… in France they taste like vanilla, they are light as a cloud, they look smooth and they are airy but not sticky inside. In Australia, they taste very weird, a chemical taste of some sort and they are pretty sticky inside, wrinkled outside. In America, they taste less chemical, more basic but amazing when you roast them.
I use to be a lolly addict until I started my globetrotting journey… I missed my local lollies and sweets. I always thought my childhood stuff was the best (everybody does). But then, after years of travelling, when I got back to France and bought a pack of marshmallows, I found them so boring…
My taste has been modified by my travels and now, I tend to be much more open-minded and have fewer expectations.
Two years ago, I went to one of my favourite Sydney markets, FINDERS KEEPERS, which is a bit of an Etsy fest. Hundreds of stalls sell handmade products, birded men walk around with prams while their better part shop their heart out. It’s a lovely event. I cannot miss one.
That year, there was a woman in the food area who sold her home made marshmallow. Woooow! They seemed a bit expensive if you expect to pay for an industrial pack, but they are so well worth it.
I have tried to get as close as the extraordinary culinary moment I experienced then.
Try this quick marshmallow recipe!
I used Light Corn syrup I bought at my favourite food store in Sydney “Dijon Food” but I could have used Glucose Syrup bought in the same store.
You can use gelatine sheets, the titanium kind, or powder gelatine. I indicate how to proceed with both.
You are better off using a stand mixer. It is much easier than having to manage a hand held one and pouring hot syrup at the same time!
You will need to soak the gelatine in COLD water. It makes it soft, without melting it, so that you can melt it later in the right quantity of water or other tasty liquids such as fresh strawberry juice or passion fruit juice or coffee.
The syrup you will pour on the gelatine and glucose mixture will have to reach a temperature of 115°C (239°F) for the marshmallows to work well. If you go over, you risk making an inedible mess and if not cooked enough, you might have runny marshmallows. A proper temperature is hard to achieve. You can test you thermometer. Google your altitude and how many degrees water should boil where you are, if you are at 0 meters, water should boil at 100°C (212°F). Put water in a pan and boil it. Check what your thermometer says. It should indicate the exact boiling temperature you found out googling. If it doesn’t, just add or withdraw degrees.
When adding the syrup to the gelatine mixture in the mixer’s bowl, be careful not to pour it on the turning whisk, make sure your aim at the bowl’s side. You don’t want to have boiling syrup projected in your face…
You can line the mold with plastic wrap or baking paper (parchment). In any case, you need to oil it with flavourless oil. It helps a lot when you peel it off the set marshmallow.
IMPORTANT! This recipe is calibrated to make the most of a domestic stand mixer. If you have a small bowl, divide the recipe by two!! I use the Kenwood Chef Food Mixer with a 4,6l bowl. It just fits, but it does fit :)
The mixture with gelatine, glucose/corn syrup more than doubles in size. After 5 first minutes, then 10 more, you will have a thick mousse.
When you pour the marshmallow in the lined mold, use the greased spatula to even it out. You can also tap the mold on the kitchen bench to get rid of a few bubbles. I don’t, I like bubbles :)
Let it rest overnight or for at least 4 hours. The longer the better/
The next day, sprinkle a mixture of half icing/confectioner sugar and corn or potato starch.
Turn your mold over. It’s a magic moment. The marshmallow is formed and wobbly.
Cover your marshmallow cake with the mixture of icing sugar and starch.
One very useful trick in this recipe is how to cut your marshmallows. In many cases, when you see home-made marshmallows, they look a bit uneven, weird and gooey…
If you plunge a long and sharp knife in boiled or very hot water, keeping a tea-towel handy to wipe it dry, you will get neat results. You need to cut with a clean knife each time.
In the recipe, I explain how I start with the knife’s tip and I run my way up to the handle.
Now it’s your turn :) I hope you will have as much fun as I always do making those!
Get creative, replace the rum by other alcohols such as Grand Marnier, Bailey’s, Kirsch, whisky, etc., or by flavours like cinnamon, almond essence, coffee extract, Nutella (melt, pour in mixer bowl when you have taken the whisk attachment off, stir a little bit to make swirls, pour in mold), anything really…
- 10 sheets of titanium gelatine or 25g of gelatine powder
- ½ cup water (to melt gelatine) can be replaced by fruit juice, flavoured water
- 1 cup liquid glucose or light corn syrup
- 1 cup ½ caster sugar
- 1 cup water (to boil sugar)
- Flavour, chose absolutely anything you like. Here I put 1 spoon of vanilla bean paste and ½ cap of dark rum.
- 1 cup icing sugar
- 1 cup starch (potato or corn flour/starch)
- Flavourless oil
- Deep saucepan
- Sugar thermometer (you can do without but you are taking a big risk that the sugar syrup is too thick and you will make chewing gum or not thick enough and your marshmallow will be sticky).
- Stand Mixer with whisk attachment
- A large bowl to soak gelatine sheets. Or a small microwavable bowl if you are using gelatine powder.
- A sieve.
- 1 or 2 bowls for the icing sugar and starch mixture. You can use a second bowl for the sieve action.
- 2 oiled spatulas
- 24 x 34 cm mold
- Plastic wrap
- A long knife
- A clean tea-towel
- Line the mold with plastic wrap. Oil it.
- Dip gelatine sheets in cold water (if you put is in warm water it is going to melt and your water proportion of the recipe will not work anymore).
- If you work with powdered gelatine put the powder in a microwavable bowl with the ½ cup of water.
- Pour ½ cup of glucose syrup in the mixer's bowl.
- If using gelatine sheets, when they have become soft, squeeze the water out, place them in a deep saucepan with the ½ cup of water. Heat to melt. Do not boil as it will make the gelatine lose its jellifying power. If using powder, place the bowl with gelatine and water which have started to solidify, in the microwave or in a pan to melt it for 30 seconds at 1000W.
- Pour the melted gelatine in the mixer's bowl and start to turn at low speed.
- Dip the caster sugar, ½ cup of glucose or corn syrup and 1 cup of water in a deep saucepan. Bring to the boil. Place a sugar thermometer or any food probe in the pan.
- When the temperature reaches 115°C (239°F) pour the sugar syrup in the mixer's bowl being careful not to pour on the whisk. It could project very hot sugar and burn your skin. Set speed to medium and let it go for 5 mins.
- Stop the mixer. The mixture should be cooler. Add your favourite flavouring (here 1 tea spoon of vanilla bean paste and ½ cap of dark rum).
- Put on high speed for 10 more minutes.
- Pour the mixture in your lined mold. Spread with a greased spatula.
- In a salad bowl dip 1 cup of icing sugar and 1 cup of starch. Mix with your hands or a dry whisk. Sprinkle the sugar/starch mixture on top of your marshmallow paste.
- Leave it to rest overnight. Or if you are in a hurry, 4 hours minimum in a dry climate.
- The next day, on your kitchen bench or a silicon mat (easier to clean) sprinkle a handful of sugar mixture. Tip your marshmallow bloc on the mat. Delicately peel off the plastic wrap.
- Boil water. Pour in a metal or glass jug. Place the long life in the water. You can also use very hot water from your tap. Pull your knife out of the water and wipe it on the clean tea-towel.
- Cut the width of the marshmallow bloc slowly. Put the knife back in water. Shake a little in the water to melt the sugar. Repeat. If you want, nice, clean cut, pro marshmallows, you need to clean you knife each time you cut. Wipe it well or it will make the marshmallow a bit soggy.
- Once you have cut bands of marshmallows, with a hot and wiped knife, cut cubes. To do so, use the tip of the knife, then the next 5cm (2in) of clean knife, then go to the next 5cm (2in) bit, etc. The idea is to always cut with the clean part of the knife. Dip it in water when all marshmallowed...
- When you get 5 marshmallows or more transfer them in the bowl containing the mix of icing sugar and starch. With both hands or a spoon, coat the marshmallows with the mixture. Leave them there while you cut the next band of marshmallow. When the next one is cut, transfer the ones waiting in the mixture in a sieve (colander) shake a little and place in a box, plastic bag or on a serving plate. You can also cut them with shape cutters
- You can also freeze you marshmallows. They will taste the same!
- USE: super nice gift, auto-treat (I love those...), roasted, toasted, sandwiched, part of a funny dessert, dipped in chocolate (white is my favourite) or swimming in your hot chocolate.
- KEEP: if you used fruit juices, they keep in the fridge for 5 days. If you used flavouring, you can keep them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a month.
- FLAVOUR IDEAS: any alcohol (Grand Marnier, Bayley's, Kirsch, whisky, rum, etc.), cinnamon, almond essence, coffee extract, Nutella (melt, pour in mixer bowl when you have taken the whisk attachment off, stir a little bit to make swirls, pour in mold), anything really...