Friday, 28 October 2011

Gingerbread marshmallows

GINGERBREAD MARSHMALLOWS? WHAT IS THIS STRANGE NEW CHIMERA OF SEASONAL DELIGHTFULNESS? Behold: the love child of a gingerbread man and a marshmallow. It is orgasmic. 

I may be slightly biased, being a massive fan of both of the above, but this is possibly my favourite kitchen experiment ever. The absolute wizardry of combined whipped egg whites, sugar syrup and gelatine [and a few other bits and bobs] to create marshmallow-y goodness is enough to inspire child-like curiosity in even the most jaded of adults. And they're even better when added to hot drinks, creating a kind of layer of marshmallowy-gingerbread latte-ishness previously found only to occur in Starbucks.

Recipe after the break

2 egg whites
300g caster sugar
200g brown sugar
200ml water
1 tbsp Dr Oetker liquid glucose
25g powdered gelatine [I used three sachets of Dr Oetker gelatine]
185ml water
ginger, mixed spice, nutmeg

a mixture of equal parts cornflour and icing sugar.

First of all, line a pan with baking parchment [around the size of a swiss roll tin], and add the gelatine to the 185ml of water and set aside.

I like to whip up my egg whites first, because it seems to take me ages. A little trick to make sure that no fat gets into the egg whites is to squirt a bit of lemon juice inside the bowl to begin with, and use a bit of kitchen towel to wipe it all over the bowl, and this cuts through any grease that might be in there. Use the same kitchen roll to give your whisk a quick wipe. Whisk the egg whites up to stiff, glossy peaks in a stand mixer if you have it [if you don't, it's still doable, just a little trickier].

In a large-ish saucepan, swirl round the sugars and 200ml water, until it looks like wet sand, and add the liquid glucose. Over a medium high heat, heat until the mixture reaches 125C, trying not to stir the mixture, just swirling the pan if needs be.

Once it's reached 125C, take it off the heat and add the gelatine mixture, stirring to combine. Pour this mixture in a thin stream, through a sieve if you have it [or you could sieve before this point] to strain out any lumps of gelatine, into the egg whites. Make sure that the stand mixer is on and the egg whites are being whipped while the syrup is added.

Once all the syrup has been added, add the spices to taste. Use about 2 tsps ginger [I just threw stuff in], and sprinklings of mixed spice and nutmeg. Once the mixture has cooled down to roughly body temperature, pour into the prepared pan and leave for at least 3 hours to set.

Once the mixture has set and is able to be pulled away from the sides of the pan, prepare a surface by dusting heavily with the cornflour/icing sugar mixture. Flip the sheet of marshmallow onto this, peel off the baking parchment and dust again with the mix. Using a wet knife, cut the marshmallow into squares and toss in the cornflour mix. Voila!

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