How to make Homemade Marshmallows
I didn’t even know you could make marshmallows at home.
That was until I sat slumped in front of the TV on Saturday morning,
head banging and awaiting the sweet release of death, and watched as James Martin produced homemade raspberry marshmallows which he then roasted in a tandoor oven.
I obviously don’t own a tandoor oven (and this is the second time that Saturday Kitchen have used one as the main cooking device
which pisses me off a bit) but I did start wondering about how a homemade marshmallow might differ from a shop bought one.
On Sunday the hangover departed, but as I was still feeling a bit miserable, I decided to cheer myself up by attempting to make some.
They are weirdly simple actually. The hardest part about the recipe was getting hold of the liquid glucose. I needed to go into Robert Dyas to buy a sugar thermometer (the sugar needs to come up to a temp of 260 degrees, I have no idea why and thought it best to buy one) and thought that they might stock it – after all they sell stacks of stuff for jam making and other bakery goods. After a futile (and desultory, let’s be honest) look around the store I approached a member of staff and asked whether they sold liquid glucose:
“Nah. have you tried a hardware store like B&Q?”
I then went on a
wild goose chase drive down to the local cake porn shop, all the time knowing in the back of my mind that it would be closed. It was.
I popped into Boots (the recipe says that some chemists might sell it) and was pointed towards some powdered glucose with added vitamin C.
By now I was starting to think that this was all pointless and I should have planned things in a more efficient way. I headed dejectedly onto Sainsbury’s to buy the meat for the Sunday roast. “I might as well have a squizz at the bakery section while I’m here, you never know” and there…shining like a beacon among the vanilla pods and silver balls…was a tube of liquid glucose. I might have danced a bit and I know I kissed it.
Stop judging me.
I got the sugar and *little ray of sunshine in manner of heaven opening* LIQUID GLUCOSE into a pan and set it to boil. While the mixture got up to the required heat, I started whipping 2 x egg whites in a mixer to stiff peaks.
Rather typically of my experience with sugar syrup, you can see I let it get a bit too hot (at least this time it didn’t boil over) but I just allowed it to cool a bit before adding some pre-soaked gelatin sheets and the water they had soaked in, stepping back as the mixture bubbled up close to the top of the saucepan.
Adding the sugar syrup to the egg whites was nerve wracking. The last time I attempted it I had ended up with a serviceable icing which had an unfortunate lake of gloopy sugar syrup underneath. That couldn’t happen this time or the whole recipe would fail.
A word about the mixer. Look, I know it’s ancient (My mum used to make cakes with it when I was a nipper) but it’s solid, sturdy and STILL WORKS. I long for a beautiful KitchenAid mixer (in cherry red) but every time I go to John Lewis and touch one (which happens with an alarming regularity) I always think of old Ken, and how he’s been mixing my cakes, blending my soups and whisking my meringues either by me, or by my mum for the last 30 years with never a whimper, and I think it’s daft to replace him. Anything cheaper than a KitchenAid will probably die within months or years (Mum had one fridge freezer for 25 years, since that one finally died, she’s had to buy another three!) and the truth of it is…I love old Ken, he’s like an old friend who never lets me down.
The marshmallow was ready, I quickly greased a tin and coated it lightly with a mixture of icing sugar and cornflower (the recipe didn’t specify quantities, so I guessed – using about double the amount of icing sugar to cornflour) and then dusted some fresh raspberries in the same.
A layer of mallow, followed by the raspberries and then topped again with the rest of the mallow mixture and I had my own homemade marshmallows.
I left the mixture to set – not in the fridge – for a few hours and then got to cutting it into squares and dusting with the same icing sugar/cornflour mix.
I used a Palette knife dipped into boiling water to cut around the edge of the pan, and then tried to turn it out. Nope.
I cut around the edge again and banged hard on the bottom of the tin. Nope
I submerged the bottom of the tin in some hot water for a few seconds (a la Jelly) and turned it upside down and banged it and swore and still…NOPE.
So I hacked away and poked and prodded and made a mess, but started to get the marshmallow out of the tray and onto a dusted board.
This shit is STICKY. I know that sounds like I’m stating the obvious, but it really takes much more icing sugar and cornflour to soak up the moisture than you would think, and the texture is spongier and foamier than shop bought mallows. I think I made a mistake somehow with the raspberries, as they sunk to the bottom of the mix, despite being dusted (this usually prevents fruit sinkage in fruit cakes but didn’t seem to work in this recipe – maybe the raspberries were too ripe and large, or maybe I hadn’t dried them enough after washing. It’s possible that my icing sugar to cornflour ratio is skewed. I would probably up the cornflour next time for a number of reasons).
I finally got the entire tray cut into squares and left to dry for a while on a wire tray before transferring to a cake stand.
I served the mallows (after the boys had eaten a significant amount ) as a dessert with some more fresh raspberries. I toyed with the idea of a dark chocolate sauce
but couldn’t be arsed and I think that a raspberry coulis, or a white chocolate sauce would work just as well.
Plain marshmallows (without the raspberries) would be terrific with hot chocolate and as part of a Halloween (I promise, I’m going to start talking parties again soon) or a bonfire night party. They are different (and yet tastewise the same) to shop bought versions as they explode in your mouth as a sweet, frothy foam. Toasted on a BBQ? I think they would actually make you thank God you are alive.
They were an absolute hit with kids and adults alike.
I really, strongly recommend you try them (but go straight to Sainsbury’s for the liquid glucose)
Recipe for marshmallow here. Give them a go.