Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Guest Post Number 2: How to make marshmallows

Today's guest post is written and performed by Tish and Monkey.

We have recently discovered just how fabulous home made marshmallows are. Plus how incredibly easy they are.
The first thing I will tell you is that if you don't have an electric whisk you will need a second person. The second thing is you will definitely need is a sugar thermometer.
So here are your general ingredients:
12 oz of caster sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
2 egg whites
6 leaves of leaf gelatine (do not substitute with powdered)
1 tablespoon of liquid glucose or golden syrup
2 tablespoons of icing sugar
2 tablespoons of corn flour
150ml of water
pinch of salt
your choice of colour and flavouring (today we are using vanilla essence and blue food dye but rose water is also really nice)

This recipe is from of this book, which has lots of lovely things in it:
Sweet Things by Annie Rigg.
The first thing I reccommend you do is prepare the tin to put the marshmallows in. Use a 9inch square tin. Take a piece of baking parchment or grease proof paper and grease with sunflower or vegetable oil. Next stick your paper into the tin, I use a couple of bits of sellotape but you can do it however you like. Now mix the corn flour and icing sugar together, sprinkle some into the pan and shake around so that all of the paper is covered (the oil will stick it on), and pour out an excess into a bowl and set aside for later. it should end up looking something like this:
Next we will prepare the gelatine (you can use leaf pectin but good luck finding it because I can't). Take all 6 of your leaves and place in a big jug of cold water and leave to soak for 10 mins. Then take it out and pat dry, it will look a bit like plastic (as you can see below), set this aside.
Now place the egg whites, 1 tablespoon of caster sugar and pinch of salt in a large glass mixing bowl (I don't recommend a plastic mixing bowl as I'm not sure how they would react to boiling sugar being poured into it, might melt). 
Set this aside for later, DO NOT WHISK YET!!!
Now put the rest of the caster sugar, water, and golden syrup into a small pan and turn to a medium heat until the sugar is all dissolved.
Once the sugar is all dissolved turn the heat up to full and put your sugar thermometer in. Keep stirring so it doesn't burn. You are aiming for 120˚c, when it gets to 90˚c you should get your second person to start whisking your egg whites as you have about 4 mins to go. It will go very quickly from 100˚ to 120˚, inside about 2 mins. As soon as you reach 120˚c you need to take it off the heat and take out the thermometer.
Now straight away put your gelatine into the hot syrup, it will bubble up and go crazy, keep stirring. It will settle down in a couple of seconds, keep stirring as you carry it over to the egg whites.
Hopefully your assistant should have whisked your egg whites to stiff peak point (meringue style). If not just keeping stirring so it doesn't set and tell them to hurry the hell up. You want the syrup to go in hot.
Now pour the syrup directly into the whisked egg whites, as you do have your assistant keep whisking.
At this point you can add your flavouring and colouring (about a cap full will do). Keep whisking for about 3 mins until it is glossy and holding the shape from the whisk. Make sure you scrape the bottom as the syrup can settle a bit.
Now pour your mixture into your prepared tin. Leave for about 2 hours, then cover with cling film and leave for another 4 hours to set. Don't put it in the fridge, just somewhere cool.
Once it is set you need to find the bowl of corn flour and icing sugar. Sprinkle the mixture over a large tray or chopping board, then turn out the marshmallow onto the tray. If you did the first bit right the paper should peel of perfectly. Now take a big sharp knife and cut the marshmallow into cubes. After the first cut the knife will get a bit sticky so I recommend putting some of the corn flour/icing sugar mix onto the sticky blade. After you have cut it into cubes role them in the mixture so they're coated and not sticky. Then just tap off the excess.
And voila, you have marshmallows! Ours turned out green and very soft this time. Their consistency can vary but they're always lovely.
Now you will also find yourself with left over egg yokes, which you need to use; we prefer to make cheese straws but you can make whatever you like.

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