Saturday, April 12, 2008
Tuesdays with Dorie - Marshmallows
Fun to make. Who would ever think of making their own marshmallows, but on the other hand, how is it that we have put up with the shop-bought sponge-rubber squares for so long? Perhaps this is the beginning of a new era for me, for "From Scratch" Marshmallows. But I digress. Everything seemed to go quite easily, from reaching 265 degrees F for the syrup, the pouring of the syrup into the eggwhite, and laying the marshmallow out on a tray. I have let them sit overnight in a small, dark room and will hold my breath when I start to unpeel them tomorrow morning.
Next day: The first thing I do when I get up - eat some marshmallows. Delicious! They were a bit tricky to prize off the parchment paper but eased out anyway in strips. Here they are, ready for a party - they would get eaten pretty quickly as they are a bit deceiving with all that dainty, delicate, delicious fluff - makes one think they could not be that fattening. The only problem I had was not using a shaker for the potato starch - I dashed the starch by hand onto the parchment and some of it clumped together and stuck to the marshmallows. Next time: flour shaker essential! Would probably make again.
Dorie's Recipe for Marshmallows
About 1 cup potato starch or cornstarch
3/4 cup cold water
1-1/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
2 quarter ounce packets unflavored gelatin
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
Line a rimmed baking sheet - choose one with a rim that is 1 inch high - with parchment paper and dust the paper generously with potato starch or cornstarch. Have a candy thermometer at hand.
Put 1/3 cup of the water, 1-1/4 cups of the sugar and the corn syrup in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Once the sugar is dissolved, continue to cook the syrup - without stirring - until it reaches 265 degrees F on the candy thermometer, about 10 minutes.
While the syrup is cooking, work on the gelatin and egg whites. In a microwave-safe bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the remaining cold water (a scant 7 tablespoons) and let it sit for about 5 minutes, until it is spongy, then heat the gelatin in a microwave oven for 20 to 30 seconds to liquefy it. (Alternatively, you can dissolve the gelatin in a saucepan over low heat.)
Working in the clean, dry bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or in another large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the egg whites on medium-high speed until firm but still glossy - don't overbeat them and have them go dull.
As soon as the syrup reaches 265 degrees F. remove the pan from the heat and, with the mixer on medium speed, add the syrup, pouring it between the spinning beater(s) and the sides of the bowl. Add the gelatin and continue to beat for another 3 minutes, so that the syrup and the gelatin are fully incorporated. Beat in the vanilla.
Using a large rubber spatula, scrape the meringue mixture onto the baking sheet, laying it down close to a short end of the sheet. Then spread it into the corners and continue to spread it out, taking care to keep the height of the batter at 1 inch; you won't fill the pan. Lift the excess parchment paper up to meet the edge of the batter, then rest something against the paper so that it stays in place (I use custard cups).
Dust the top of the marshmallows with potato starch or cornstarch and let the marshmallow set in a cool, dry place. They'll need about 3 hours, but they can rest for 12 hours or more.
Once they are cool and set, cut the marshmallows with a pair of scissors or a long thin knife. Whatever you use, you'll have to rinse and dry it frequently. Have a big bowl with the remaining potato starch or cornstarch at hand and cut the marshmallows as you'd like - into squares, rectangles or even strips (as they're cut in France). As each piece is cut, drop it into the bowl. When you've got 4 or 5 marshmallows in the bowl, reach in with your fingers and turn the marshmallows to coat them with starch, then, one by one, toss the marshmallows from one hand to the other to shake off the excess starch; transfer them to a serving bowl. Cut and coat the rest of the batch.
Until next week and the yummy carrot cake!