I was so inspired by the amazing flavour marriage of Luke Mangan’s licorice parfait with lime syrup that I just had to apply it to something else. And what better than marshallow? Soft, sweet licorice marshmallow with a sharp lime tang thrown in? Huzzah!
I initially thought of creating a licorice scented marshmallow sitting atop a zesty lime jelly candy but my first foray into making homemade jellies was not entirely successful. The jellies were OK but as I followed a recipe that used pectin and I quite possibly didn’t use enough, my jellies were more like firm jam squares than chewy jubes. I’ll come back to jellies one day although I’m fairly certain gelatin is required. Sorry vegans…
So I abandoned the idea of making jellies and decided to swirl some lime syrup through the marshmallow instead. Lime syrup was easy and given I had made them before (see my Green Tea & Vanilla Marshmallows), I figured getting some fluffy, licorice flavoured marshmallow done up would be a cinch. Ahem…
My first attempt involved steeping some soft eating licorice in hot water to extract as much of the licorice flavour as possible. I think if I do this again I will take a leaf out of Helene’s (Super Kitchen Machine) book and source some licorice root powder to flavour things. My method was OK but the resultant syrup wasn’t overly licorice-y which meant the marshmallow mix was even less licorice-y. A fail right there but sadly my efforts were in vain as my marshmallows couldn’t stand up to the humidity in my kitchen (although I didn’t realise at the time). I was left with a batch of faintly licorice smelling marshmallow creme.
With my second batch, I decided to bypass the stewing of licorice and use Pernod instead. It’s not exactly licorice but there’s a lot of gorgeous star anise and spice notes in the liquor which I figured should work well in marshmallow. I did up some syrup with the Pernod and crossed my fingers. Once the syrup was mixed into the beaten egg whites, I could see already that the second mixture had a better chance of setting than the first batch. Nice and fluffy.
The second batch wasn’t perfect but it did resemble marshmallow. No matter what, humidity is a candy maker’s worst enemy. I learnt a fantastic new word through this adventure: hygroscopic. As in, sugar is highly hygroscopic so don’t work with it under humid conditions!
NB: A warning to anyone considering candy making when there’s even just a hint of moisture in the air: Don’t! It’s probably a well known fact with experienced sugar spinners but I didn’t take into account that the few sultry days we’d had in Perth lately would cause me so much grief! Unless you have a climate controlled kitchen, save marshmallow making for drier days.
Recipe coming shortly :)