We have a list on the wall in the kitchen, where we put down things for which we want to develop recipes. Sometimes it’s ice cream flavours, but often it’s sauces or mix ins. We work through the list on Mondays, which is our development day, but sometimes certain items linger on the list for longer than we’d like. Marshmallows is one of those things.
Now, it’s pretty easy to make decent marshmallows, which is generally a combination of sugar, beaten egg whites and gelatine. But I’ve been quite strict about not using gelatine in any of our products, because we go to such lengths to use eggs, honey and dairy from animals that are treated well. It seems disrespectful to our product, our farmers and our customers to then add gelatine when there’s no way to trace what animals it comes from. So I’ve tried various vegetarian and vegan recipes, using agar agar and guar gum and lots of other gelatine ‘substitutes’, with absolutely no success.
And then, a couple weeks ago, I had a brainwave: what if we made marshmallow spread, for which I’ve seen plenty of recipes without gelatine, and just dried it out?
So that’s what we did. We make an Italian meringue by beating a hot sugar syrup into egg whites to make a fluffy meringue, then we dust it with cornflour and icing sugar, and put it in a low oven until a lot of the moisture evaporates, and we’re left with something springy and slightly chewy, rather than moussey.
Is this identical to commercially available marshmallows? Well, no. It’s definitely a bit softer, with a melting consistency in the mouth. But chopped into little bits and stirred into ice cream, it tastes exactly like a marshmallow, and feels pretty damn close.
We want to put it in an ice cream where there’s enough colour contrast to see the marshmallows in the ice cream, but chocolate ice cream, which offers the most contrast, is just too overpowering. So we’ve gone a bit retro kitsch and are toasting the marshmallows with a blowtorch (super fun!) and swirling them in sweet potato ice cream for this month’s Ice Cream Club collection. I think they would also be awesome in a pumpkin ice cream, too. Better get the pumpkin ice cream off the development list and into production….