Picture - My new marshmallow technique applied for Gin & Tonic Marshmallows (a dish which will be in my next book)
Probably once a month I get an email asking me for a good vegetarian marshmallow recipe and I have now finally gotten around to creating one. In fact in the end it turned out the way to make the best marshmallow possible was actually to make a vegan recipe - there are two big advantages to this -
1) Everyone can eat these (they are Vegetarian & Vegan, Gluten Free etc)
2) This technique for making marshmallows allows you to add flavours, alcohol etc into the marshmallow mixture itself (in fact I just finished a recipe for Gin and Tonic Marshmallows based on this technique).
So not only are these marshmallows vegan but they can be flavoured in ways that traditional marshmallows can not (including adding alcohol into the mixture).
The texture and taste of these marshmallows is genuinely identical to traditionally made marshmallows, in fact they can even be toasted like traditional marshmallows!
These marshmallows can be toasted just like traditional marshmallows!
While the technique may appear to be a little complex if you are not familiar with some of the ingredients, it is worth the effort as it gives you incredible results. If you read the recipe well beforehand, measure out all your ingredients, and work in an organised way this recipes should be achievable for everyone.
The modern ingredients used in this recipe are available from - www.Modernist-Chef.com
Other vegetarian marshmallow recipes often over simplify and call for agar, a gelling agent which is great for some things but does not set with the correct texture for making soft marshmallows. So here I use a combination of Kappa Carageenan and Locus Bean Gum, which when used in synergy create a gel with the same texture as a gelatine gel. This is perfect for texture we want in marshmallows.
Then in the place of egg whites this recipe uses Methylcellulose, which is a modern ingredient derived from plant cells that acts as a whipping agent - allowing us to whip the marshmallow base into a very stable foam (even more stable than egg whites would be). And using methylcellulose also means flavourful liquids can be whipped into the marshmallow base, opening up a huge range of potential creative flavour possibilities.
Its also possible to add freeze dried fruit, nuts, spices etc to the marshmallow base once it has been whipped, so it’s really easy to make some interesting, exciting, flavoured marshmallows.
Strawberry Marshmallows with crushed freeze died strawberry folded through the marshmallow base
My Basic Modernist Marshmallow Recipe
This can be adapted for a range of flavours
Before you try making this recipe read it though well and measure out all your ingredients. The hydrated methycellulose slurry can be made well in advance and stored in the fridge or even frozen indefinitely (see the end of this post for detail on how to prepare the hydrated methylcellulose).
I Hope you enjoy the recipe
Before you begin lightly grease a small baking dish then dust it with 50/50 mixture of icing sugar and cornflour. Then set this dish to one side
50g Hydrated Methylcellulose Slurry (See the bottom of this post)
100g Caster Sugar
60g Water (or flavourful liquid)
1g Xanthan Gum
2g Vanilla Essence (approximately a teaspoon)
0.2g Rose Water (a drop)
Combine all the above ingredients except the sugar in a bowl and begin whipping them (ideally in a a stand mixer).
Slowly add the sugar into this this mixture whilst whipping.
Continue to whip until the mixture forms stiff peaks (like an egg white meringue)
Combine the sugar and water in a pan and slowly heat until the mixture reaches 125°C.
3.5g Kappa Carageenan
2.2g Locus Bean Gum (or 4.5g Biozoon Brand Locuzoon)
Once the temperature reached syrup has hit 125°C slowly whisk in the the 150g Water (being careful as the mixture may spit and bubble).
Then adding a bit at a time whisk the Kappa Carageenan and Locus Bean Gum into the hot syrup.
Stir this mixture well for approximately two minutes (the mixture will be consistency of a thick syrup).
Now for the next stage you need to work quickly.
Gently but swiftly pour the hot syrup mixture into the whipped marshmallow base whilst whisking the marshmallow base.
Then as soon as the syrup mixture is mixed into the marshmallow base pour the whole mixture out into the prepared, dusted baking dish, smoothing out the top of the mixture if necessary (working quickly is important here)
Now chill the tray of marshmallow in the fridge for at least an hour.
Then carefully slice the marshmallows to the desired size and coat them well with a 50/50 mixture of icing sugar and cornflour.
The marshmallows should keep well for a couple of days.
I hope you enjoy the recipe and it helps people to make some creative dishes of their own.
Methylcellulose Preparation -
Top prepare the hydrated methyllcellulose slurry you will need Methylcellulose f50 or the Texturas Brand ‘Methil’.
Available from www.Modernist-Chef.com
Boil the water in the kettle then measure out 200ml of just boiled water.
Now blend the Methylcellulose into the hot water with a stick blender.
Next begin to cool this mixture over an ice bath while stirring intermittently until it is cool.
Allow this mix to sit for a couple of hours for the methyl cellulose to fully hydrate.
You can prepare this mixture in batches then keep it stored in the freeze indefinitely to defrost and use as needed.
(Savory Beetroot Meringue using Methylcellulose)
An Introduction and two recipes –
- Savory Meringue
- Super light and crispy Tempura
Available from www.Modernist-Chef.com
Methylcellulose is a popular hydrocolloid which can form a gel or act as a thickener when hydrated. Particular to methylcellulose is that it gels when its heated rather than once it cools. Because of this unique quality it’s often used to make mousses and gellees which are firm when they are hot but melt as they cool. Due to this many chefs have used methylcellulose in the pursuit of creating a ‘hot ice-cream’, the idea being to create something with the texture of ice-cream but served hot which then melts in the mouth as it cools (personally I haven’t come across a version of this yet which I think really works i.e. really gives an experience like eating ice-cream only hot –but I hope someone will crack it at some point).
Methylcellulose is used in various ways in modern cuisine. It can be used to great effect to create foams. Can be added to liquids which may then be dried to form films and baked into crisp brittle sheets. It can act a replacement for egg whites in some recipes as it can be whipped in a similar way to provide a similar structural element in a recipe (like with the beetroot meringue recipe bellow).
It’s also used in some deep fried foods, as when it comes into contact with the hot oil in a fryer it forms an oil impermeable film. Due to this using methylcellulose in deep fried products both reduces the amount of moisture which escapes from the coated ingredient and also reduces the about of oil absorbed into the coated item – this can help to achieve a crispier, lighter product with a great texture.
Methylcellulose is one of the very few modern ingredients I use which is not entirely ‘natural’ but synthesized from natural ingredients, namely cellulose - often from cotton. Its non-toxic and non-allergenic and a perfectly healthy and safe ingredient to use in food so don’t be scared off by the fact it’s synthesized. Bear in mind you most likely consume it fairly regularly already as it’s used in huge variety of products including foods and medicines (even vitamin tablets).
Typical use levels –
0.5% - 2% typical concentration for use in cooking
To replace egg whites use 2g Methylcellulose blended into 35g water to replace each egg white. Note – Methylcellulose prepared this way will whip to stiff peaks but you need to be persistent in your whipping to get it to nice stiff peaks.
You can buy Methylcellulose here.
I will return to this post soon to add recipes and techniques for foams, hot gellees and mousses which melt as they cool, films, and brittle sheets - all using methylcellulose.
Savory Beetroot Meringue (vegan)