As far as I can remember, when we make egg-yolk based sweets in the Philippines the egg whites just get dumped on the orchids (very good feed). I think we didn’t know what else to do with them–as they were mainly used as part of the cement ingredients (lime-cement, sand, egg shells, egg whites, etc.) for the Romanesque churches built by the Spaniards in the country. It was said that each family member was taxed an egg (just the albumen) per day… what if the family had only one hen?
Anyway, here in the UK I’m not allowed to chuck out the egg whites, so here’s one use for them–Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s homemade marshmallows. You’ll definitely never want shop-bought again!
The batch is supposed to yield 25, but I sometimes use a shallower dish which, of course, yields a bit more. I also made a few changes in the method–because that’s what works for me! 🙂
For making the marshmallows set and for dusting
½ tbsp icing sugar
½ tbsp cornflour
For the gelatine mixture
500g granulated sugar
25g gelatine granules & 125ml hot water
2 egg whites
1. Prepare the tray where you will be pouring your gelatine mixture by lightly greasing the base and sides.
2. In a separate container, sift together the icing sugar and cornflour. Dust the base and sides of the tin–but leave some for dusting the top of the marshmallows later.
3. Meanwhile, dissolve the sugar in the 250ml water over low heat. If you have a sugar thermometer (which I do), wait until it reaches 122C. If you don’t have a sugar thermometer, you can do the cold water test.
4. Just before the sugar syrup reaches 122C, this is when I try to move really fast–egg whites (in a deep bowl) and electric beater should be ready! And prepare your gelatine!
5. Add the gelatine granules to 125ml hot water and dissolve (timing is important–it should not be coagulated when you pour it into the syrup).
6. Start beating the egg whites until they hold stiff peaks.
7. Now your syrup is at 122C. Turn off the stove, pour the dissolved gelatine into the syrup and stir. Expect some bubbles!
8. Carry on with your whisking (this time on low) with one hand while the other hand is slowly pouring (in trickles) the very hot syrup into the egg white mixture.
9. The mixture will turn creamy, and then thick. If you lift the whisk and the cream dropping from it settle like ribbons on the mixture, taking a few seconds before they sink–they should be ready (but, actually, I whisk more until the mixture starts to sort of strangle the whisk–I just find out I come up with a bigger volume and a fluffier product).
10. Pour the mixture into the prepared tray, leave to set (NOT in the ref) for an hour or two.
11. Dust the marshmallow with icing sugar. Use a butter knife coated with oil to cut the marshmallow. You can also ease the marshmallow out of the tin, onto a chopping board (I could not be bothered!).
Note: We’ve tried vegetarian gelatine on this recipe before–it did not set to be very solid, BUT, it was perfect frosting for chocolate cake! We still make it to this day! Make sure to pour the marshmallow mixture onto the cake right away–otherwise it won’t be pourable after a while.