Posted by Grace Massa Langlois on Saturday, 13th April 2013
Marshmallows, puffy, light and spongy, melt-in-the-mouth sweet treat gets a little more indulgent with the addition of rum, peach schnapps and strawberry purée. These pink pillows of goodness remind me of my favourite poolside cocktail, the strawberry daiquiri with a peach twist.
I enjoy exploring the history of recipes and I’m fascinated by the stories behind them. Did you know that originally marshmallows were made from the root sap of the marsh mallow (Althaea officinalis) plant? The root pulp was boiled with sugar and then beaten with egg whites. The sap served as the thickening agent but its since been replaced with gelatine.
In the early 19th century pâtisseries in France began selling pâte de guimauve, a version of the marshmallow we know today. They were very popular but unfortunately the process for preparing guimauve was very labour intensive because the shop owners had to manually extract the sap from the mallow plant’s root. The sap was later replaced with gelatine and because it was readily available it allowed for a quicker preparation.
Mass production of marshmallows became possible in 1948 when Alex Doumak, a marshmallow manufacturer, discovered the extrusion process.
If you’ve done any recipe searching for marshmallows you’ll notice one major difference, some recipes call for egg whites and some don’t. For no particular reason I prefer to use egg whites. One thing is for certain egg whites or no egg whites, homemade marshmallows are far superior to commercially prepared (in my opinion), they are soft and moist not dry and chewy.
If you can make Italian Meringue you can make marshmallows, the technique is the same. Sugar syrup is prepared and added to egg white foam. The only difference, a gelatine mixture is added to the sugar syrup. And for this recipe, a boozy strawberry purée is added for flavour.
The variations for gourmet marshmallows are endless you can flavour them with just about anything, purée, jams, juice, tea, coffee, caramel, flavour extracts, chocolate, you get the idea. Some of my favourites, Mowie’s Raspberry Swirl, Jenni’s Blood Orange (be sure to watch Jenni’s video for the blood orange variation, she also shares many marshmallow making tips and demonstrates the no-egg white method), Kelly’s Chocolate Truffle Stout, Shauna’s Bubblegum, and Jennifer’s Spiced Marshmallows.
They make wonderful hostess gifts and party favours too. Everyone loves homemade treats!
Good things come in small packages; these Boozy-Strawberry Marshmallows are good things!
Boozy Strawberry Marshmallows
Makes 24 5 x 5 cm (2 x 2-inch) squares (with a few extra bits for the chef to enjoy!)
Use marshmallows to garnish desserts or cocktails or dip in tempered chocolate for an extra special treat.
For alcohol free version, omit liquor and increase strawberry purée to 300 ml (1¼ cups)
- 23½ g (14 sheets) gold gelatine leaves
- 3 large egg whites
- 240 ml (1 cup) strawberry purée, passed through a fine mesh sieve to remove seeds (I recommend passing through sieve twice, cleaning the sieve in between.)
- 120 ml (½ cup) rum, vodka or peach schnapps (or combination of)
- 563 g (2½ cups) caster (superfine) sugar
- 57 g (¼ cup) liquid glucose (or light corn syrup)
- 150 ml (½ cup + 2 tablespoons) water
- Pinch of salt
- 125 g (1 cup) confectioners’ sugar
- Grease 23 x 33-cm (9 x 13-inch) baking tin with cooking spray. Line the tin with non-stick baking paper leaving a 5-cm (2-inch) overhang on all sides. Grease paper. Soak gelatine sheets in a large bowl of very cold water. Place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer; cover with a sheet of plastic wrap. (When it’s time to whip the egg whites, attach the bowl to the mixer and fit with whip attachment.)
- Bring the strawberry purée to a boil and remove from heat. Add the liquor and stir to combine well. Cool to a temperature of 80° C (180° F). Remove gelatine sheets from water and squeeze to drain any excess water, add gelatine sheets to purée and stir to dissolve.
- In a medium saucepan with high sides, bring sugar, glucose and water to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly until sugar and glucose are dissolved. Continue to cook without stirring, occasionally swirling pan over burner and washing down sides of pan with a pastry brush dipped in water, until syrup reaches a temperature of 121° C (250° F).
- Meanwhile, when the sugar syrup reaches a temperature of 116° C (240° F), begin beating the egg whites and salt at medium speed until stiff peaks form (not dry).
- When the sugar syrup reaches optimal temperature of 121° C (250° F), remove from heat and add the strawberry purée (be careful the mixture bubbles up ferociously), whisking constantly to combine well.
- Increase mixer speed to high and slowly pour the strawberry-sugar syrup in a steady stream down the side of the bowl onto the egg whites (make sure the syrup does not touch the attachment). Continue to beat at high speed until egg foam is thickened and nearly tripled in volume, 12 to 15 minutes.
- Pour batter into prepared baking tin. Using offset spatula, level and spread batter to edges. Tap baking tin gently on the counter to release any air bubbles that may have formed; set-aside to set marshmallow, uncovered, until firm, overnight.
- To cut marshmallow squares, using fine mesh sieve, heavily dust work surface with confectioners’ sugar (preferably marble pastry board but wooden cutting board works too). Invert the marshmallow slab onto the work surface and remove paper. Lightly grease large, sharp knife with cooking spray. Trim 2.5 cm (1-inch) from each side creating a 20 x 30-cm (8 x 12-inch) slab (this will also create straight sides). Wash, wipe dry and coat knife with cooking spray after each cut. Cut the slab into six equal pieces, with each piece measuring 5 x 20 cm (2 x 8-inches). Cut each smaller slab into four equal pieces, with each piece measuring 5 x 5 cm (2 x 2-inches).
- Heavily dust a large bowl with confectioners’ sugar. Place two marshmallow squares in the bowl, dust with confectioners’ sugar and toss to coat squares well. Transfer to serving plate. Repeat with remaining squares. Marshmallows can be stored at room temperature in airtight container or resealable plastic bags for about 3 weeks.
- Buon Appetito!
Tags: after school treat, afternoon tea, bars, bonbons, candy, cookie bars, dessert, dessert fillings, dessert garnishes, dessert toppings, desserts, desserts for entertaining, entertaining, food, food photography, food photos, French desserts, fruit, garnishes, gourmet marshmallows, gourmet treats, individual dessert, individual desserts, marshmallows, squares, strawberries
Posted in Baking & Pastry, Baking Mise en Place, Basics, Chocolates & Confections, Cioccolatini e Bonbon, Custards, Creams & Mousses, Dolci alla Frutta, Eggs, Fillings, Frostings & Dessert Sauces, Fruit Desserts, Mini Desserts, Pastry Doughs & Batter, Piccola Pasticceria, Recipes, Ricette di Base