Recipe: Gooey vanilla marshmallows
Recipe supplied by: Clinton Davies
The ancient Egyptians cottoned on to the sweet possibilities of the medicinal marshmallow plant, mixing its sap with honey, says pastry chef Clinton Davies who shares his recipe here. Today, the core ingredients of marshmallow are sugar, eggs and gelatine.
Makes: 50-60 Ready in: about 1 hour
9 leaves gold-grade gelatine (from specialty stores)
150g dextrose (grape sugar), plus extra for sprinkling
175g egg white
2 vanilla beans, seeds scraped (or flavouring of your choice)
1. Place the gelatine leaves in a bowl of ice-cold water and set aside to soak.
2. Add the sugars to a saucepan with 200ml water and bring to the boil, continuing until the temperature reaches 114°C (use a candy thermometer).
3. Meanwhile, whisk egg whites with an electric mixer until lightly stiff. Whisk continuously while steadily pouring the 114°C sugar mixture into egg whites. Continue mixing to aerate and increase the volume of the mixture.
4. Meanwhile, remove gelatine leaves from the cold water and drain. Place gelatine in the microwave to melt for 5-10 seconds, or very gently in a small pan on the stove (keep your eye on it as it won’t take long). Add melted gelatine to the egg white mixture as it’s being whisked.
5. Whisk until the marshmallow mixture triples in volume or becomes silky with stiff peaks. Add vanilla bean seeds, then pour mixture onto silicone paper (or a non-stick mat) sprinkled with extra grape sugar. Spread out to desired thickness, then sprinkle more grape sugar over the top.
6. Allow to cool. Cut into shapes and roll in more grape sugar to prevent sticking.
You can create your own gourmet marshmallow flavours such as mint, orange or limoncello. Cherry is great for Christmas – use strained homemade fruit jam or real fruit purée. Or try raspberry marshmallows: make raspberry purée by crushing thawed frozen raspberries through a sieve and reducing the liquid to a syrup over heat.
When adding flavours, reduce the amount of liquid as much as possible; this also concentrates the flavour. Add an extra gelatine leaf for every additional 100ml of liquid used.