· By Oonagh Simms
How To Eat Marshmallows
Sometimes our marshmallows confuse people. They’re marshmallows but they’re not pink and white. They’re the same price as a box of posh chocs but, well, they’re marshmallows. Can you even toast them? But what happens if you do and they fall off the stick…eeks! So what the heck is so special about them and why do we bother making them?
Well, when I trained in chocolatière in Paris I first came across proper marshmallows. In the food markets of Paris (of which there are many) you will see marshmallows or ‘Guimauve’ sold in long thin strips- not the cylindrical American style you may be used to. In the pâtisseries they are sold as neat little squares. They spruce up the flavours (and the prices) but the product remains one that is rooted in artisanal confectionary. These are not chemically enhanced, artificially sweetened factory fodder- they are delicately flavoured using fruits.
I was desperate to bring this artisanal approach to Marshmallows back to London.
To see what would happen if instead of sticking to classic French sweet flavours such as blackcurrant or strawberry I paired them with more enlivening tastes- bolder spices or floral herbs. I’ve always been drawn in by flavour- it’s super important to me that flavours are genuine. Not synthetic. So the marshmallow recipe I created is perfect for carrying flavours because it doesn’t use egg white and is soufflé like in texture so the different layers and notes of the flavour develop as you eat them.
I really love the flavours of patisserie but I wanted to bring those into a treat that was a little more accessible at the end of a meal. Something to have with a coffee that was an alternative to chocolate or even to serve alongside chocolates- there’s nothing I love more than pulling together a sweet board with cracked chocolate shards, two of my favourite marshmallows- try the passionfruit + ginger or the fresh pop of the raspberry + champagne- a handful of caramelised nuts or dried fruit. Grazing heaven.
And if anyone thinks that our marshmallows are too good to pop on a skewer and toast, well, I disagree. In fact, I would say they taste even better toasted. Bringing a box of mallows to soak up the last embers of a summer BBQ will make you the most popular of summer guests. Toasting marshmallows turns a treat into an experience. Whole fruit marshmallows don’t burn- they melt and caramelise. The heat draws out the fruit so the flavours are amplified with a touch of smoke- just like a crème brûlée. Again, pop a few shards of chocolate and some fine crisp biscuits out and you can dish out delicious American style S’mores. My S’more recipes are here if you fancy trying this at your next BBQ.
We’ve served up our mallows at Afternoon Tea receptions for Indian luminaries in Jaipur ( alongside the finest of French pâtisserie and tea selections) our bite sized delights alongside mallow teacakes were some of the first items to be devoured. We’ve created show stopping centrepieces of fresh fruit mallows to be paired with lairy bourbons at an American Whiskey Festival. From weddings to dinner parties- if there’s a drinks party happening our mallows want to be there.
And that’s why I love it when people ask me… "but how do I eat them?"
Because I never run out of answers.