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Saturday, October 24, 2009

Homemade Marshmallows

As one of my top ten comfort foods for all times I just had to know how marshmallows are made. And while there were different approaches to making marshmallows I decided to take the not so easy route and followed David Lebovitz' recipe, which, he said, he picked up while studying confectionery in Paris.

Shouldn't turn out bad then! (?!)

To make this you would need :

2 envelopes powdered gelatin
1/2 cup and 1/3 cup cold water
1 cup plain white sugar (or caster sugar)
1/3 cup light corn syrup (I used glucose)
4 egg whites, at room temperature
pinch of salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
about 1/2 cup powdered (or confectionery) sugar and 1/2 cup cornstarch, sifted together

big bowl (grease-free, egg whites and fat don't mix well)
candy thermometer

Dust with a sifter a baking sheet evenly and completely with some (not all) of the cornstarch mixture.

In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the 1/2 cup of cold water to dissolve and soften. Set aside.

Fit candy thermometer onto a saucepan, and mix the sugar, corn syrup (or glucose in this case) with 1/3 cup of water. Place over medium-to-high heat.

the gooey thing is stray glucose that dripped on the thermometer. oops.

(This is where the multitasking begins as far as I understood the recipe!)

In the bowl of an electric mixer, pour in the egg whites and beat on low speed until frothy. Add the pinch of salt.

When the syrup reaches between 210 and 220 degrees, increase the speed of the mixer and beat the whites until they are thick and fluffy (do not overbeat). Timing is of the essence!

Keep an eye out on the syrup while beating the egg whites. When the syrup reaches 245 degrees, and while the mixer is whipping, pour the syrup into the whites. Pour so that the syrup does not fall on the whip, otherwise much of the syrup will splatter onto the sides of the bowl, not into the egg whites. (basically making an italian meringue)

guess i didn't follow instructions then - had lifted the beaters a bit and it splashed on the sides of the bowl. hehe.

Scrape the gelatin and water into the pan that you used for the syrup and swirl it to dissolve (it should have enough residual heat from the syrup to dissolve it). Pour the liquified gelatin into the whites as they are whipping. Add the vanilla and continue to whip for 5 minutes.

Use a spatula to spread the marshmallows in a layer on the prepared baking sheet. Allow to dry for at least 4 hours or overnight, uncovered.

Use a sharp knife or scissors to cut the marshmallows into pieces and toss in the powdered sugar and cornstarch mixture. Put the marshmallows in a colander or strainer and shake off the excess cornstarch mixture.

Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

I tried to take some (half of the batch) the next day but the powdered sugar coating sort of 'melted' on top, but it was very soft and fluffy and very dreamy. A couple of days later the other half of marshmallows left to dry some more turned out better. I think I just didn't give them enough time to dry out.


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Scribe's Notes

This pitstop is where incoherent ramblings seem to have meaning, where things or events are thought of and assessed, where great things are documented and perhaps any not-so-good happenings are written down in attempt to be forgotten!

So from the diversely abstract to the intensely specific, it's off to making tracks, and it is here where it stops for a thought or two.

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