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Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Light and fluffy strawberry marshmallows


Marshmallows are becoming a bit of a 'thing' at the moment, they're the new cupcakes (well that's what everyone's saying!!) The quintessential element to a childhood mug of creamy hot chocolate and now the classic sugary bite sized sweet is moving towards gourmet, grown- up fare. 


 In America they can go for roughly $1 apiece, in flavours such as mango, vanilla caramel swirl and lavender. Top UK chefs have started serving these pillowy puffs to guests as petit fours, not a bad way to finish off a meal eh? (I'd stay away from the savoury versions though, I'm not liking the sounds of them...stick to sweet I say.)

I thought I'd see what all the fuss is about and have a try at making some for myself. There are a couple of ingredients you will most likely need to make a shopping trip for, unless you happen to have liquid glucose just lying around the house! You will also need a sugar thermometer. I went for strawberry flavoured marshmallows using some natural strawberry extract that you can find in most big supermarkets or cook shops and I added a little food coloring to give them a lovely pastel pinky colour. 




They are unbelievably sticky little things which makes them tricky to turn out onto a sugar dusted board ready to slice up, so a word of wisdom - keep your knife coated in a mixture of icing sugar and cornflour. I ended up cutting mine in the tin and lifting the pillowy squares out one by one with a dusted palette knife. 



Ingredients

Recipe adapted from James Martin's BBC food recipe


455g/1lb granulated sugar
1 tbsp liquid glucose
200ml/7fl oz water
2 large free-range egg whites
7 sheets premium quality gelatine, soaked in 140ml/5fl oz water
1 tsp natural strawberry extract
pink food colouring (optional)
icing sugar, for dusting and coating
cornflour, for dusting and coating

Method

Place the sugar, liquid glucose and water into a heavy based saucepan and bring to the boil. Continue cooking the sugar syrup over a high heat until it reaches 127°C/260°F on a sugar thermometer. In the meantime, whisk the egg whites with an electric hand mixer or preferably a freestanding mixer. Stop whisking when stiff peaks form. Soak the gelatine sheets in 140ml/5fl oz of hot water. 

When the sugar syrup has reached the temperature, remove from the heat and carefully pour in the softened gelatine sheets with the soaking water. Give it a quick stir and pour into a metal or glass jug. Be careful as the mixture will be extremely hot. 

With the egg whites whisking, slowly pour in the sugar syrup from the jug, it will become shiny and start to thicken. Add in the strawberry extract and a little pink food colouring if using. Continue whisking for 5-10 minutes, until the mixture is stiff and thick enough to hold its shape on the whisk.
Lightly oil a 12 x 8 inch / 30 x 20cm shallow baking tin then dust with a mixture of sieved icing sugar and cornflour. Once the marshmallow mixture is thick enough, pour into the tin and level out with a palette knife. Leave to set for at least 2 hours. 

Dust a work surface with more icing sugar and cornflour. Loosen the marshmallow around the sides of the tray with a palette knife, and then slice into squares. Lift each piece out and roll each around in the sugar and cornflour. Leave to dry a little on a wire rack before storing into an airtight box.
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