I always thought marshmallows would be really difficult to make. Much easier to buy them surely? I don’t know exactly what possessed me to make them last week, but, you know what, I’m really glad I did. They tasted exactly like …marshmallows. They were the perfect texture and consistency, springy and chewy but slightly crumbly and crusty on the outside. And the greatest thing about making marshmallows was the actual making of them! They take a bit of time, but they really are very easy and fun to make.
There is something very childishly satisfying about making massive quantities of this bright sticky pink glue like substance. As you beat it, it becomes stickier and thicker until you can’t help but stare at it in wonder. Pouring the pink glob into a tin was a little precarious. This really is a job where a helper / adult supervision:) is required, or else you could end up in a very pink and sticky mess. After patiently waiting for the pink glob to set, it was now time to release my pink jewels imprisoned in their metal tin. However, the marshmallow was stuck tight to the tin and had to be almost suctioned out. The recipe gave some advice about using a sharp knife, however I ended up literally prising it out with my hands dusted with icing sugar. It landed on my chopping board with a satisfying wobble! I sliced them up into neat little cubes and dusted liberally with more icing sugar. Viola…wobbly mallows.
- 2 tbsp icing sugar
- 2 tbsp cornflour
- A little vegetable oil for greasing the tin and knife
- 1 small raw beetroot, peeled and grated
- 25g gelatine powder
- 500g granulated sugar
- A few drops of vanilla extract
- 2 egg whites
I used Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s recipe but added a bit of vanilla to flavour. Begin by sifting the icing sugar and cornflour together into bowl. Grease a shallow square cake tin (about 20x20cm) with a few drops of vegetable oil. Sprinkle some of the corn flour and sugar into the tin, so that it sticks to the base and sides. Shake out the excess.
Next, grate the raw beetroot into a small bowl and pour over 125ml of slightly cooled boiled water and leave to infuse for 30 seconds. Don’t leave for a second longer or your marshmallows will taste like cooked beetroot! Strain the beetroot, discard the grated beetroot and reserve the pink liquid in a bowl. Sprinkle the gelatine into the pink water. Stir in the gelatine until it has all dissolved.
Put the granulated sugar into a medium-sized saucepan with 250ml of water. Place over a low heat and stir until all of the sugar has dissolved. You will need a sugar thermometer for the next bit. Put the thermometer into the water and sugar mix and raise the heat until it’s boiling really strongly. Keep it boiling until the liquid reaches 122°C. It takes a while! As soon as it gets to 122°C take off the heat and pour the beetroot/gelatine mixture into this hot sugar syrup, stirring until it is all well blended.
In a large bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until stiff. Keep the mixer on, but at its lowest speed and slowly pour in the sugar mixture in a steady, gentle trickle. Add in the vanilla extract at this point too. After you’ve added all of the syrup, continue whisking until the mixture get really thick (but is should still be pourable). You will know it’s ready when you lift up the beater and it leaves a ribbon trail of the mixture on the surface which takes a few seconds to sink back down.
Pour the pink gooey mixture into your prepared tin. Then, leave to set in a cool place (not in a fridge) It should set in about three hours. I left mine set overnight.
Removing the marshmallow from the tin can be a bit of a job! If you are a clean freak you may be a little upset by all the flying sugar dust. Thankfully I am no stranger to mess, so I enjoyed creating a bit of chaos in the kitchen. Begin by dusting a chopping board with the remainder of the cornflour and icing sugar mix. Coat a long sharp knife with a little oil. Hugh’s recipe states ‘Carefully ease the marshmallow out of the tin onto the board, helping it out where necessary with the knife.’ This didn’t really work out that well for me and I ended up coating my hands in icing sugar and cornflour and prising it out! Once on the chopping board, coat all the surfaces of the marshmallow with the icing sugar mixture. Cut the marshmallows into squares, by oiling and dusting the knife as you go. Store in tubberware lined with parchment paper. I’ve since used a couple of them to make Rocky Road and they were delicious with chocolate and a great bright colour too.