Sun Kissed & Sweet Lipped
I’m enjoying a mug of hot cocoa stuffed with rhubarb marshmallows. Seems like a wintery thing to do but somehow it’s pairing perfectly with my newly acquired sunburn; I’m just missing a blazing backyard fire.
I was out and about on my bike today, delivering marshmallows and running errands which lead to my first official sunburn of the year. I’m a shade somewhere between rhubarb red and rhubarb marshmallow pink. It’s weird and splotchy and I start my first day of work tomorrow at a great local bake shop. Excellent. I’m bringing them some marshmallows in hopes of distracting them from my bizarre burn.
I wouldn’t say that I’m a marshmallow lover by any means but I’ve been curious about them from a purely creative perspective. Turns out they’re fun to make and I quite like the rhubarb twist. Rhubarb is one of the first items in season each spring and as soon as I see it at the market I’m like a moth to a flame. If you recall, last spring I paid way too much for that first batch of rhubarb, this time around I perused each stall at the farmers market for the best deal.
I’ve never heard of a rhubarb marshmallow but it seems a natural couple, no? Rhubarb is always lookin’ for a little sugar.
3 med-large stocks rhubarb (cooked down to a compound)
3 Tbls +1 tsp unflavoured powdered gelatin
1/4 cup rhubarb juice (from the compound)
1 1/2 Tbls rhubarb, cooked (from the compound)
1/4 cup water
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup white corn syrup
1/2 cup hot water
2 egg whites
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp vanilla
*cornstarch for lining trays
Dice up rhubarb and toss into a heavy saucepan with 3/4 cup of water over medium high heat. Cook down until most of the liquid has evaporated, leaving you with a watery jam like consistency. Pour the rhubarb and juice into a strainer over a small bowl and press all the liquid out. Measure out the required juice and fruit. (You can use any other fruit compound you like)
In the bowl of your electric mixer, add gelatin, rhubarb juice and 1/4 cup water. Make sure all the gelatin dissolves before you add the heated sugar and that your whisk attachment is in place before you transfer the hot sugar.
* You’ll need a candy thermometer for this next part.
In a heavy saucepan, over medium-low heat, combine the granulated sugar, corn syrup and hot water. Allow the mixture to completely melt then crank the heat up to medium-high, bringing it to a boil. Wipe down the sides of the saucepan with a damp pasty brush to avoid crystallization of the sugar and clip on your thermometer. Heat the sugar to 250° F (121° C).
While the sugar is heating up, beat your egg whites and salt in a stainless steel bowl until they have a stiff peak. I did this by hand (b/c my mixing bowl was already in use) with a whisk but you can also use a hand mixer if you have that as well. Make sure there is no fat present in the bowl or on the whisk, otherwise your whites won’t firm up (also, don’t use a plastic bowl, it has the same reaction as if fat is present). Set the whites aside.
When the hot sugar is ready, turn the mixer on to a medium-low speed and slowly pour the sugar mixture down the inside of the mixing bowl. Once all the sugar has been added, toss in the cooked rhubarb and gradually turn mixer up to its highest speed. When the mixture has started to stiffen and has doubled in volume, add the egg whites, vanilla and 2 drops of pink food safe dye. Continue to mix until light and fluffy.
After this you’ll want to move quickly b/c the marshmallow starts to set or thicken up within about 10 minutes. You want to be able to spread or pipe it while it’s still soft. So prepare your baking trays ahead of time with aluminum foil and a layer of sifted cornstarch. The marshmallow will stick to any spots that aren’t covered in cornstarch.
If you’d like you can simply spread the marshmallow out over the whole sheet (spray an offset spatula with nonstick spray to spread mixture cleanly). Let it dry over night and then use a pizza cutter or knife to cut the marshmallow into pieces (you’ll need to spray your cutting tool with non-stick spray as well)
Or, you can pipe them as I did by using a piping bag with a medium or large star tip. Pipe onto the cornstarch sprinkled trays in whatever shape you’d like and let them dry over night. They can be eaten about 4 hours after you’ve piped them but if they sit over night then the tops dry with a nice skin so the marshmallows are easy to pull of the trays.
Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
Makes 40 (too many? perhaps)
Recipe adapted from Sugar Baby
Photos by Maggie Murphy