In nursing school one of my instructors talked to us about feeding patients who were immobilized or paralyzed. She stressed the importance of communicating with them, finding out which items they were enjoying, and whether they'd like another bite of peas or would they rather move on to the meatloaf. She pointed out that some people eat all the way through a food on their plate before moving onto a different food, while other prefer to take bites from each food, working through the foods in rotation.
This was a revelation for me as I'd never before then thought that people ate in different ways. In the way of all youth, I assumed everyone was like me. I'm a one at a time type of gal. I take a bite and if I like it, I'll work through the whole pile before moving on to something else. If it's nasty, I'll leave the whole pile (of lima beans).
My daughter, who has the attention span of a bumble bee, gets bored with the same thing, so she flits from food to food on her plate, sampling, and creating new flavor combinations. But me, I stick with a thing till I'm totally done with it.
It's been that way for me lately with marshmallows. About the time of the wedding I got a hankering to make marshmallows, but life was too chaotic, so I only thought longingly about making marshmallows. When we got all cleaned up after the wedding, I did make marshmallows, but I'd been thinking about them so long, that the one batch did not suffice.
I must pause here to explain that it's not that I horked a whole pan of marshmallows down and needed more. It really was about the process of making the marshmallows and about getting creative with the marshmallows.
I had a bowl of raspberries in my refrigerator, courtesy of my generous neighbor and her raspberry jungle, and that knowledge sidled up to the ongoing thoughts of marshmallows in my brain and whispered, "raspberry marshmallows." Mmm, good thought. But how? I knew that Baking had instructions for flavored marshmallows, but I preferred my tried and true Ina method for marshmallows.
But then the happy thought came to me that if I soaked the gelatin in fruit juice, then they'd come out all raspberryish! I sieved about 6 ounces of raspberries, enough to come up with 1/2 cup of raspberry juice and it worked like a charm. Delightfully pink, deliciously flavored, it combined the sweet pillowy softness of marshmallows with the bright, tart flavor of raspberries.
I served them at the pool birthday party, sending the guests into delighted raptures of insulin ecstasy.
Then I had the chef over for dinner and I wanted to get even more creative. I decided to do a deconstructed S'more, putting the component flavors together in a new way, using raspberry marshmallows. This was serious fun!
I made a graham cracker crumb crust and divided it between 8 Pyrex dishes. Then I cut the marshmallows out using a cookie cutter, so that the circles just fit inside the crumb crust. Then I topped it off with a drizzle of deep chocolate ganache.
We toyed with the idea of bringing out the torch and giving the marshmallow top a roasting, but decided it was prettier as it was. It tasted delicious, but I decided the chocolate needed to be just a light touch, enough to bring the flavor of chocolate in, but not so much that it overpowered the raspberry flavor.
1-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
6 Tbsp butter, melted
Preheat oven to 375 deg. F.
In a bowl combine all the ingredients, mixing well either by hand or with a spoon. Divide the crumbs between 8 oven-safe dessert dishes, pressing into the bottom and a bit up the sides of the dishes. Place the dishes into the oven and bake for about 6 minutes, until the edges are lightly browned. Let cool before putting the marshmallows inside.
3 packages unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup sieved raspberry puree
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Confectioner's sugar, for dusting
Combine the gelatin and 1/2 cup of raspberry puree in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and allow to sit while you make the syrup.
Meanwhile, combine the sugar, corn syrup, salt, and 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Raise the heat to high and cook until the syrup reaches 240 degrees on a candy thermometer. Remove from the heat.
With the mixer on low speed, slowly pour the sugar syrup into the dissolved gelatin. Put the mixer on high speed and whip until the mixture is very thick, about 15 minutes. Add the vanilla and mix thoroughly.
With a sieve, generously dust and 9 x 13 inch baking dish with confectioner's sugar. Pour the marshmallow mixture into the pan, smooth the top, and dust with more confectioners' sugar. Allow to stand uncovered overnight until it dries out. (I made mine the same day that I served them and they were a bit gummy.)
In a small saucepan heat the cream until it is very hot and steamy but not boiling. Remove from the heat, and pour it over the chocolate. Whisk until the mixture is smooth and the chocolate is thoroughly melted.
With a cookie or biscuit cutter cut out rounds of marshmallows to fit into the crumb crusts. Drizzle the marshmallows with the ganache.
Playing around ideas :
Layer the ganache between the crust and the marshmallow.
Torch the top of the marshmallow and sprinkle it with the chopped bittersweet chocolate instead of ganache.
Sprinkle additional graham cracker crumbs on top for extra crunch.