I first tasted a ‘homemade’ marshmallow in 2000.
I remember it vividly. I was living and working in Manhattan at the time. I used to spend my weekends exploring various parts of the city on foot and used to stumble upon great ‘finds’ whether it be quirky stores, cafes, book stores or bakeries. A friend had suggested I visit ‘The City Bakery’, if I was in the Union Square part of town. Sure enough, I paid a visit and it was so worth it. There is a large range of baked goods available, breads, cakes, cookies, warm food, including their infamous macaroni cheese and on a wintry New York day, I opted for their fabulous hot chocolate and their homemade marshmallow.
It is fair to say that the homemade confection bears little resemblance to the shop-bought packet version. It is very light, fluffy and not sickly sweet. I didn’t envisage at that time, that this sweet delight would be something I could re-create at home in my kitchen.
So fast forward thirteen years, a marriage, three children and international house move and here I am making the ‘homemade’ marshmallow. I have made it a few times and use Genevieve Taylor’s straightforward recipes. The appeal of her recipes are that they do not call for light corn syrup, which is not readily available in the UK (that said, I did see it, this week, in my local superstore in the American foods section.)
So why am I making these this week? The children have their Summer fete at school and the home produce stall requires ‘homemade’ offerings. These marshmallows are my contribution. Typically you would probably want the marshmallows in the Autumn/Winter time, along with a hot chocolate, but the beauty of this confection recipe is that it can be adapted easily with various flavours. I have made a Fresh Raspberry version, but substitute the fresh raspberries for a teaspoon of vanilla extract, or paste, and you have a Classic Vanilla flavour.
These are very easy to make with ingredients that you will be familiar with. They store well in an airtight container. They also make a lovely homemade gift. Simply wrap in a cellophane bag, jar or tin and finish with a colourful ribbon and you will have one happy recipient!
These can be enjoyed by young or old and at this time of year, there is no reason why they can’t be toasted on the barbeque or a camp fire. By toasting them slightly (I actual give them a blast with my cook’s blow torch) they have this wonderful crunchy shell with gooey mallow inside. They can be eaten alone, or added to desserts.
Give these flavoursome mallow treats a try. They will certainly make you smile.
The City Bakery is located at 3 West 18th Street, New York, NY.
Note: Contains pork
- 8 sheets of fine leaf gelatine
- 2 egg whites
- 500g granulated sugar
- 250ml cold water
- 150g fresh raspberries, washed and drained
- Baking tin, either 23cm x 30cm (Brownie tin) or a square 20cm tin
- vegetable oil, for greasing the tin
- 2 tbsp. cornflour mixed with 2 tbsp. of icing sugar
- Prepare the tin by greasing all over. Add a heaped tablespoon of the cornflour and icing sugar mixture and tap all around tin ensuring that everywhere is sufficiently covered. Discard the excess mixture.
- Put the cold water and sugar into a saucepan and over a low heat dissolve the sugar. Stand a sugar thermometer in the pan and increase to a medium heat. Bring to the boil and allow to bubble away. The temperature of the sugar mixture needs to reach 122 degrees C or reach what is known as the 'firm/hard ball' stage. This should take about 15 minutes. If you do not have a sugar thermometer, test the mixture by dropping a little onto a saucer. Its should be firm and hold its shape.
- Whilst the sugar is bubbling. Place the gelatine leaves into a bowl of cold water, one at a time to prevent them sticking.
- Also, puree the raspberries by placing in a blender. Put the puree through a sieve so removing the pips from the puree. Set aside.
- In a free standing mixer, beating the egg whites until stiff.
- Once the sugar has reached the correct temperature, with the mixer on a low speed, slowly add the hot mixture to the egg whites, continually beating. Increase the speed of the mixer and add the gelatine leaves, squeezed, one at a time.
- Allow the mixer to continue to beat for about 10 minutes until the mixture has cooled. Add the raspberry puree (or vanilla extract if making Classic Vanilla flavour) and mix until incorporated.
- Tip the mixture into the prepared tin and carefully spread throughout the tin. Sieve some of the remaining cornflour/icing sugar mix over the marshmallow. Allow to set, in a cool place but not a refrigerator, for approximately 4-6 hours.
- Once set, cut the marshmallow to size. Tip; slightly oil a sharp knife and continually wipe with a piece of kitchen towel with some light oil on it.
- Dip the sticky edges in the remaining cornflour/icing sugar mix and store in an airtight container.
Source: Genevieve Taylor’s ‘Marshmallow Magic’