Remember that day back in February when I promised to make my own Vegetarian Marshmallows? Well, it only took me 8 months to buy a sugar thermometer. So on Sunday night, I finally got down to business.
All the ingredients were listed, as was a set of basic instructions – so basic it felt like one of those Bake Off challenges, where you get told to cook things, but not how long for.
Needless to say, it was my first time cooking Marshmallows. It was also my first time using Agar-Agar, the algae-based flakes which work in place of gelatin – meaning an meat-free fiesta (which, in this Hog’s eyes, can only be good).
I followed the recipe as closely as I could – and instantly wished I had more than two hands.
It was one of those makes where everything happens at once: sugar and glucose water brought to a particular temperature; Agar put on to the boil and – as the recipe put it – added to the syrup when bubbling. Also, in that very same window of time, egg whites were also to be mixed (Hog knows to what consistency), and the whole thing slowly poured over them, beaten until it cooled down.
Ten minutes later, my handheld whisk was almost aflame with the effort, but I had what looked like a promising batch: white, fluffy and full of bubbles.
Pouring it into a pre-lined mould, I popped it all into a fridge, leaving it overnight to set.
By morning, things weren’t looking so good: when I gave the mould a shake my Mallow mixture wobbled ominously. Thinking it might just be soft-set (that I’d made my own version of Fluff), I cautiously dipped in my spoon. To my surprise, the egg whites parted, concealed a murky mass of syrup.
The whole dang concoction had separated!
I gave it a taste to check what I’d made and my taste buds reeled at the high dose of sugar, not to mention the plasticky Agar flakes.
This is no time to give up or panic however.
Now I’ve had a chance to think things through, I have an idea of what might have gone wrong. Namely, my recipe bent the truth; the Agar should have been boiled for longer, in order to let it dissolve and set. Thankfully, I still have a jar of flakes left – enough for a brand new batch, in fact.
As for the syrup itself, I’m determined to make good use of it – bake it into a Chocolate Cake, or whip up a goo-filled batch of Muffins.
Operation Hog Mallow will NOT be thwarted.
Ogglers, watch this space.