There are often signs that one should not step foot in the kitchen. This morning, I received one. I was closing a kitchen cupboard door when the whole door came crashing down onto the ground shattering everything in its path. Luckily my irreplaceable china was safe in the credenza but as luck would have it some rather loved china was broken in the process. This made me wary after that. Is this the universe's way of telling me to stay out of the kitchen?
Then there was the other not so subtle hint when I was reading the recipe I had planned to make. I had no sugar thermometer. I asked my twitter friends if anyone had made Marshmallows without a sugar thermometer before. The answers ranged from No to Yes but only if you get to know the soft and hard ball stages. The crucial piece of information came from the blogger Passion4 Eating who gave me this very helpful site which, if you don't have a sugar thermometer, you should read before starting to avoid any confusion. Which I did very quickly and I set a bowl of cold water in the fridge to standby.
Despite the clear warning signals, and despite my nervousness, somehow these gorgeous Marshmallows worked. They are as light as a whisper, sweet nothings to be treasured on lazy days. These gorgeous fine bone china white cubes are dusted with freshly fallen sugar snow and topped with pink rose petals. I gave one to my husband who had never tried home-made marshmallows before and his face registered confusion "Is it meant to be so ... light? Aren't they firmer?". And then he went on to eat more, and more, and more. And then there were none.
Champagne and Rose Petal Marshmallows
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175grams or 6ozs caster/superfine sugar plus 75grams or 2.65ozs caster/superfine sugar extra
2 teaspoons liquid glucose
3x4g/12g/0.45oz Titanium strength gelatine sheets (or enough gelatine powder to set 3 cups of liquid)
250ml/9fl oz champagne reduced to 85ml (2 3/4 fl oz)
1 tablespoon rose petals
75g/2.5 ozs icing or confectioner's sugar for dusting
75g/2.5 ozs cornflour for dusting
3 tablespoons of oil and a sharp knife for cutting
Step 1 - Grease a loaf tin with oil and line with cling wrap.
Step 2 - In a very clean bowl of an electric mixer, place egg whites and fit the whisk attachment.
Step 3 - In a small heatproof bowl that fits over a small saucepan with simmering water, soak the gelatine in the Champagne reduction ensuring that it completely dissolves over the heat. Make sure the bottom of the bowl doesn't touch the water and that it doesn't boil.
Step 4 - In a small saucepan, combine the 175g of sugar with 100ml of water and glucose on low heat until sugar is dissolved. Turn up the heat to medium high and boil untilit reaches the hard ball stage (127C/260F).
Step 5 - When the above reaches the soft boil stage (118C/244F) just before the hard boil stage then start whisking the egg whites to a soft peak. Add the remaining 75grams of sugar to the egg whites.
Step 6 - When the syrup reaches a hard ball stage, remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the gelatine champagne mixture combining well. Carefully, while the eggs are whisking on a medium speed pour the hot gelatine syrup in a slow, steaedy stream. Keep beating for 10 minutes while marshmallow swells up and thickens.
Step 7 - Pour into prepared loaf tin and with a hot palette knife (run palette knife under hot water and dry with teatowel), smooth over surface. Sprinkle with crushed rose petals and leave to set for 1-2 hours (do not refrigerate).
Step 8 - Sift cornflour and icing sugar together in a bowl and spread out over a plate. Pry the cling wrap from the marshmallow (a gentle cut with a knife can help start the process) and using an oiled knife, slice up into squares. Keep oiling the knife between uses (you may have to run your finger over the knife or scrape it to remove the excess marshmallow).
Step 9 - Dip marshmallows all over in the cornflour and sugar mix. Store in a airtight container lined with parchment paper sprinkled with extra cornflour and sugar mixture.