Labour day weekend has come and gone and now it’s time to clear my desk in preparation for my second year at university. After going through the list of required reading for my English Lit classes this semester, it seems I’ll be spending many a Sunday afternoon surrounded by piles of novels. A crisp, refreshing breeze has swept in with September, bringing along a season of film festivals and thunderstorms to Montréal. During those rainy days when all you want to do is curl up on the couch with a good read, you can find comfort in a mug of hot cocoa topped with some toasted marshmallows.
Homemade marshmallows are much better than the store-bought ones. These soft, fluffy pillows don’t have the typical overly sweet, artificial flavour. I used a crème brûlée torch on some of the marshmallows and the result conjured up the campfire taste longed for during these last days of summer. This recipe requires a candy thermometer, and a stand mixer would be of great help (or a willing sous-chef if you have a hand-held mixer).
Recipe adapted from Une Gamine dans la Cuisine
Yields 80 portions (1 inch cubes)
1 cup cornstarch
3/4 cup cold water
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
2 packets of unflavoured gelatin, 1/4 ounce each
3 large room temperature egg whites
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1) Line a baking tray with parchment paper. The tray’s edges must be at least 1 inch high. Spread a generous amount of cornstarch on the paper.
2) Pour 1/3 cup of the water into a saucepan. Add the sugar and the corn syrup. Stir the mixture over medium heat until it boils and the sugar dissolves. Now let the syrup cook on its own until it reaches 265oF on the candy thermometer.
3) While you wait for the syrup, pour the rest of the water into a microwave-safe bowl. Sprinkle the gelatin over the water and let it sit for 5 minutes. The texture should be spongy. Place the bowl in the microwave and heat it for 20 seconds or until the gelatine has completely dissolved.
4) Fit the whisk attachment to a stand mixer. Before you pour the egg whites into the bowl, make sure the bowl is clean. The slightest trace of grease can create a mess when it comes to beating egg whites. Beat the egg whites on medium-high speed until they form silky, firm peaks. Be careful not to overbeat them.
5) Time to check up on the syrup. Once it reaches 265oF, turn off the heat and remove the pan from the stove. Pour the syrup over the egg whites while the stand mixer is on medium speed.
6) Add the gelatine mixture to the egg whites and beat them for 3 minutes or until the gelatine mixture is fully incorporated.
7) Beat in the pure vanilla extract.
8) Scoop the meringue onto the baking tray. Start in one corner since you won’t be using the whole pan. Use a spatula to even out the meringue, making sure the batter is 1 inch high. Lift the excess parchment paper and rest it against the edge of the batter, Place a weight on the tray to keep the paper in place.
9) Generously coat the top of the marshmallows with cornstarch and let them set for 3 hours in a dry, cool place.
10) When the marshmallows have set, slice them into 1 inch cubes. I recommend you rinse and dry the knife after each slice. Fill a bowl with cornstarch and toss each individual marshmallow
around until evenly coated.
Store in cool, dry place for up to 1 week.