Friday, 20 June 2008

Marshmallows: the swan song

A little while ago I made a list of foodie things I wanted to get round to making some day. I haven’t put too many ticks against that list yet, and it keeps growing, but with a heavy heart, I must now put down my first big black cross. Ah, the marshmallows that were never meant to be.

After the two failed efforts I already wrote about – both using Supercook Vege-Gel, one beaten using the whisk attachment in the food processor and the other with an electric balloon whisk, I decided to do some more research. I found this really useful article which gave a step by step illustrated discussion of the method I’d been trying – ie gelatine (this is the British spelling, I have discovered) but no eggs. I also read through the extensive comments under the post and was dismayed to find that some of them reported syrupy disasters when trying the recipe using veggie gelatine. It seemed that agar agar might work – but mine, alas, was based on carageenan. However, the article gave some more useful information, including the temperature you should heat the syrup to, and some of the comments suggested that you should separately heat the gelatine, which I hadn’t previously done. In fact the instructions on the packet also mentioned heating when getting the gelatine to set, but since I hadn’t been sure if that applied to marshmallows I hadn’t done it.

So, attempt number 3. While I had quite high hopes with my new information I wasn’t prepared to risk binning another whole batch, so I did a quarter quantity again. This time I heated the gelatine and water gently. I also boiled up the syrup for much longer, until it reached the hard ball stage (125° C–133° C) and then added it to the warned gelatine. The balloon whisk seemed to work fine for a small amount in my previous attempt, so I used it again, whisking for the required 12 minutes. Did it work? Not one tiny bit. Vege-Gel does not work for marshmallows, I am sorry to report. The only other suggestion I would make is to try using agar, but I’m not going down that route until I’ve used up the rest of my gelatine. It’s lucky that jelly is another of the things on my list. It might be a little while before I can face the VegeGel again though…


Johanna said...

sounds like you and that pesky marshmallow are just not getting along and need to take a break from each other - cooking can be like people and books: what doesn't work one day sometimes seems a cinch another day - so maybe there will be a time that the two of you will merrily skip off into the sunset hand in hand :-)

Lysy said...

What a cute image! I wish I could draw so I could do a little cartoon of me skipping hand in hand with a giant marshmallow!