Homemade Marshmallows with Pumpkin Ale
As the seasons change, new beers begin to fill the shelves. Just as fresh produce infuses the flavors of fall into our meals and celebrations, so can seasonal beers. This month, I wanted to share how to design your own marshmallows. By incorporating all the flavors fall brings to our table—from pumpkin to sweet potato and fragrant spices—this simple marshmallow recipe can be transformed to create a multitude of dishes to share with friends and family. Happy Thanksgiving!
Pumpkin Ale Marshmallows
By now, pumpkin beers have been lining the shelves for weeks. Despite the style’s polarizing effect, it’s a great beer for cooking. Or, try swapping in another fall beer (suggestions follow) to create your own flavor profile.
Makes: 9 or 12 marshmallows
1 1/2 cup Pumpkin Ale, such as Dogfish Head Punkin or Hi-Wire Brewing Sour Pumpkin Ale
3 tbsp unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup light brown sugar
3/4 cup organic sugar
1/2 cup Grade B maple syrup
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup pumpkin purée, canned (optional)
2 extra-large egg whites, at room temperature
2 cup powdered sugar, sifted, plus extra for dusting
Add 3/4 cup Pumpkin Ale to a bowl and sprinkle the gelatin evenly over the surface of the beer. Allow the gelatin to bloom, or re-hydrate, for 10 minutes as you make the beer syrup.
In a Dutch oven or a medium heavy-bottom pot, add the sugars, maple syrup, light corn syrup, remaining Pumpkin Ale, salt, and pumpkin purée. (The purée will add more depth to the flavor and enhance the color of the finished marshmallow.) Place the pot over medium heat and stir until the sugar dissolves. Once it comes to a boil, remove the spatula and allow the syrup to thicken and increase in temperature to 240°F.
As the water evaporates from the sugar mixture, add the egg whites to the bowl of an electric mixer. Using a whisk attachment, slowly increase the speed from low to high, whipping the egg whites into soft peaks. Turn off the mixer and add the sifted powdered sugar, then slowly mix until all of the sugar is incorporated. Continue to mix until the whites become a thick meringue (3 – 4 minutes total).
Measure the temperature of the beer syrup with a thermometer. When it reaches 240°F (known as the soft-ball stage in candy making), turn off the heat and add the gelatin. Stir to incorporate.
With the mixer on low, carefully and slowly pour the hot syrup infusion into the bowl of peaked egg whites. Mix on high for 8 – 10 minutes, incorporating air into the mixture. This will make the finished marshmallow light and fluffy.
The size of the pan used for curing will affect the thickness of the marshmallows. Choose a 9-by-13-inch pan for thinner squares or an 8-by-8-inch pan for a thicker, cube-shaped product. Using a non-stick spray or a neutral oil, coat the pan to prevent sticking. Then, lightly dust the pan with some of the sifted powdered sugar.
Next, spray both sides of a spatula with non-stick spray, then use it to scrape marshmallow off the whisk and from the bowl into the prepared pan. Spread the marshmallow into the corners of the pan, creating an even layer.
To set the marshmallows, allow them to cure, or dry out, at least 4 hours, but ideally 24 hours. After the time has elapsed, lightly dust the surface of the marshmallows with more powdered sugar. Invert the pan onto a clean cutting board. The marshmallows should come right out. Using a sharp knife coated with non-stick spray, cut them into squares or cubes and pull apart. Add more sifted powdered sugar to help prevent the finished marshmallows from sticking. Keep cool in a sealable container for up to two weeks.
Try these variations to spice up the simple marshmallow recipe.
• Before leaving the marshmallows to cure, top with 1/2 cup of toasted pumpkin seeds or pepitas.
• Add 1/2 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice to the gelatin and bloom with the beer.
• Substitute a Bock, Oktoberfest, Brown Ale, Oud Bruin, Dubbel, Winter Warmer, or Eisbock for the Pumpkin Ale.
The uses for this recipe are only limited by your imagination. Here are a few ideas for incorporating these marshmallows into dishes both sweet and savory.
• Top a cooled pumpkin pie with 2 cups of the uncured marshmallow. Then, use a torch to lightly caramelize the topping.
• Spread the fluff over a sweet potato casserole, then bake to brown.
• Dip the finished marshmallows into tempered chocolate, then sprinkle with toasted coconut or chopped nuts before drying on a rack or parchment paper.
• Pair with chocolate and graham crackers for fall-inspired s’mores.
• Swirl the uncured fluff into a batch of homemade ice cream, then fold in 1 cup of the finished marshmallow chunks before freezing.
• Use the uncured version in a cake as the frosting or filling.
• Mix your favorite breakfast cereal into the marshmallow before curing. ■