Good recipes, like good sci-fi and fantasy novels, tend to come in a series. Once you fall for a flavour combination it can be difficult to move on. This is recipe is the third instalment in my “Spiced Pear” trilogy (although I expect, in time, there are likely to be prequels and sequels).
I recommend using a candy thermometer for this recipe. Not only will it make your life much easier, but you get to pretend that you are in a science lab performing important and ground-breaking experiments. Things get really exciting if you imagine that you (a flawed hero in search of redemption) are looking for the cure for a virus that destroys the human desire for autonomy. A virus that has been spread as the first wave of attack from a malicious and unpleasant looking alien race that seeks to enslave humanity. Thinking of the resulting marshmallows as this cure is bound to make them more exciting too.
You can, however, make marshmallows without a candy thermometer. Here is a link to a chart that will be of help, it is “hard ball stage” that you are after:
To make these marshmallows I used, as I always do, Alton Brown’s marshmallow recipe (http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/homemade-marshmallows-recipe/index.html), with the following adjustments:
- I made half the batch of marshmallow by substituting the the water for flat stout instead and adding a some good quality cocoa powder (to taste) towards the end of the mixing stage.
- For the other half of the batch of marshmallow I replaced the water with some pear juice that I had reduced by about a third and had spiced with some cloves and cinnamon.
- In each case I let the sugar syrup get a bit hotter than Alton recommends (about 125 Celsius).
Spreading one half-batch of marshmallows on top of the other meant that I had two neat layers in contrasting shades of brown- a joy to the eye!
Once set, I dipped the marshmallows in melted chocolate which I then left to set. I ate them just like that or on top of some steaming warm milk. Just be warned: the strength of flavour in a marshmallows is far more intense when it is melted (compared to eating it set).
For the first part of my Spiced Pear Trilogy see my Pear , Cardamom and Ricotta Cheesecake:
For the second see my Spiced Stout Pear and Chocolate pull-apart loaf: