Friday, May 1, 2009

Savory marshmallows

For people who have grown up with tiny little Kraft marshmallows in their hot-cocoa mugs, the words "savory marshmallows" sound like an oxymoron. But Harvest Moon Catering, a fine group of professionals in Charlottesville, served a trio of them as part of their offerings for the Piedmont Council of the Arts' Trio Party last night. The bitty, billowy dollops, flavored with beets, carrot and basil and topped with powders of orange, ginger and black olive, were light and jiggly, served on tiny plates with little forked picks. (I could not get in to photograph them - I am happy to report that the turnout was good.) They were delicious, and would make a good alternative to sorbet, especially in winter, for cleaning one's palate between dinner courses.

For those of you interested in trying to make some, here's a recipe that I intend to try when we get moved and settled into our new digs. If you get to it before I do, please share your experience!

Savory Marshmallows

Adapted from a Martha Stewart recipe by nightscotsman on eGullet.

4 envelopes gelatin
1/2 cup roasted vegetable puree
1 1/4 cups water
3 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon extract (optional)
Corn starch (with powdered sugar, if you want a sweeter touch)

If you are making cut shapes, line a sheet pan with a 1" rim with aluminum foil. Coat the foil with vegetable oil or non-stick spray. Fit the mixer with the whisk attachment.

Mix the puree, extract (if using) and 1/2 cup of the water in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the gelatin over to soften.

Put the sugar, corn syrup, remaining 3/4 cup water and salt in a heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook until it reaches the soft-ball stage (234-240 F).

With the mixer at full speed, pour all of the hot syrup slowly down the side of the bowl. Be careful as the mixture is very liquid and hot at this point and some may splash out of the bowl - use a splash guard if you have one. whip until the mixture is very fluffy and stiff, about 8-10 minutes.

If you're using individual dishes, pipe or spoon out a dollop on each. Otherwise, pour mixture into the foil-lined pan and smooth with an oiled offset spatula so that it's level with the top of the rim (it won't completely fill the pan). Either way, allow the mixture to sit, uncovered at room temp for 10 to 12 hours.

Sift the cornstarch or a mixture of cornstarch and powered sugar generously over the rested marshmallow slab. Turn it out onto a cutting board or counter, peel off foil and dust with more starch or sugar/starch mixture. Slice with a thin-bladed oiled knife or oiled cookie cutters. Dip all cut edges in sugar/starch mixture and shake off excess. Marshmallows will keep several weeks at room temp in an air-tight container. Do not try this with the unstarched dollops.

Sweet Variation - Chocolate Marshmallows:

Replace puree and initial 1/2 cup of water in mixing bowl with 1/2 cup of cocoa disolved in 1/2 cup boiling water in a separate bowl. Soften gelatine in an additional 1/4 cup cold water in mixing bowl. Add cocoa mixture to mixing bowl and procede with recipe as above. This will produce a marshmallow with a strong chocolate flavor, but somewhat denser than the other version. To get a lighter texture as well as a lighter chocolate flavor, reduce cocoa to 1/4 cup.

Sweet Variation - Vanilla Marshmallows:

Replace puree and initial 1/2 cup of water in mixing bowl with 3/4 cup water and 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract or the seeds scraped from 2 vanilla beans.


  1. I am going to try your dish as part of a salad course at the Aruban Food and Wine Festival in June - I had the idea how to do it - but yo showed me a recipe. I will take pics and send them to you...Chef A

    1. I hope your customers enjoy these as much as I did. Thanks for reading!