The Artisan Marshmallow

artisan marshmallow

The Artisan Marshmallow by Paige Couture, Hardie Grant Books 2013, $19.95 hardback, 118 pages

Last night I dreamed of a ten pound marshmallow and when I woke up the pillow was gone.

–Tommy Cooper

This book is sweet! From its slightly puffy pink covers and the chapters titled Cutesy, Boozy, Swirly, through to the recipes themselves.

Like cupcakes, eclairs, and macarons, and for that matter, butter, cheese, and bread, or pretty much anything you can eat, marshmallows have become an artisanal product. Which means here, interesting flavors, intriguing recipes, and stylish presentations.

Unlike most cookbooks these days, Couture doesn’t begin with a chapter of ingredients, tools, or techniques tips, which might have been reassuring, given the vagaries of candy-making. But she confidently starts an Easy chapter with Classic Vanilla Marshmallows.

Couture’s approach is basically an Italian meringue, stiffened with gelatin. Start with a flavored sugar-syrup, add it (carefully) to whisked egg whites, and add dissolved gelatin to set. To make your life easy, weigh your ingredients (though she translates into cup measurements), get a candy thermometer, and don’t proceed without an electric mixer.

Then have fun. Form the foam into a Honey and Almond Marshmallow Cake. Flavor it with raspberry and cut it into sugar-sprinkled hearts, roll them into passionfruit-flavored snowballs crusted with toasted coconut. Or swirl them with flavor—lemon and lime curd, honey and peanut butter, or salted caramel (sigh!). Pile them into ice cream cones, build them into pyramids, cut them into bunny, rocket, or gingerbread shapes. Spike them Cointreau or gin, or muddle them into mojitos. Get funky with chai, five-spice, or green tea.

By the way, there is no recipe for S’mores here, which is as it should be. Couture is turning a childhood sweet into adult sophistication. But you still have to brush your teeth!

About Appetite for Books

read, cook, eat, repeat
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