This idea came to me as I was thinking up things to send my Foodie Penpal last month. Monique had asked for no wheat or dairy, and maybe something typically Scottish or British. And no Marmite. I wanted to send something home made in the parcel, so I was mulling over all the Scottish things I could make but, crucially, looking for something that I hadn’t already included in an FPP parcel. That ruled out oatcakes and tablet (even if I’d ever been able to make tablet, which I haven’t). I tried to jog my memory by listing all the Scottish food I could think of, and that old standby cranachan popped up straight away.
If you don’t already know (and, indeed, even if you do), cranachan is a dessert of whipped cream, raspberries, toasted oats, honey and whiskey. It’s never been a favourite of mine and, honestly, it’s a bit tired as ideas go, in my humble opinion. That didn’t stop me making cranachan cake a while back, and it didn’t stop me from creating the Cranachan Marshmallow this time.
Now, obviously I had to rework the idea of cranachan somewhat to make a cream based dessert into a dairy free snack. I also removed many of the other main ingredients and added a new one… The spirit of Scottishness remains, though. If only because I say so…
I started by replacing the cream with marshmallow. Marshmallows are made with gelatine, sugar, syrup and egg white – no dairy and no added fat, either. Interesting, eh? The other main ingredient in them is air, which you incorporate through a whole lot of whisking. You could make them without the aid of a stand mixer, I have no doubt; I used to make a lot of things without a stand mixer, even when the recipes insisted on one. I’m a rebel, a kitchen rebel. That said, it’d be pretty tiring making these with a hand held mixer, and if you can make them with a balloon whisk you’re probably Chuck Norris.
I used a recipe from Smitten Kitchen, after the success of the brioche burger buns I tried before. It’s not a complicated recipe though it does require some patience and time. They have to rest overnight, that’s the key thing to remember.
At the end of the process, you put everything in the bowl of the stand mixer and whisk the life into it for what feels like a hundred years but is really only ten minutes. You’ll see it growing in volume as you whisk. Or if you want to surprise yourself you can keep your back turned until the time is up then spin round and see how full the bowl got while you weren’t looking. It’s up to you.
The only change I made to the recipe was to add some pureed raspberries to the mix right at the end, swirling them but not mixing them in. This was to make them more cranachan-y. The end result looked, rather wonderfully, like this:
They are so good, not at all like pre-packaged marshmallows from the shops. Personally I have no problem with those, but these are in another league. A Premier league. Is that the highest league? I don’t do sports. I do marshmallows though. These are soft, springy to the point of wobbly and they pretty much dissolve into sweet, airy nothingness on your tongue. They do go a bit sticky over time – I solved this problem by keeping them in a box with plenty of icing sugar, and giving them a shake before I opened the box to re-coat the surfaces. I firmly believe that everyone should try making their own marshmallows at some point in their lives.
Once I had these little clouds of raspberry wonder, I proceeded to make them into Cranachan Marshmallows by the simple application of lollipop sticks, dark chocolate and toasted oats. The chocolate isn’t really right, but it was pretty awesome anyway. Here’s a peek at the process.
I drizzled the chocolate over the marshmallows and then used a knife to join the drizzles together, rather than trying to dip the marshmallows or pour chocolate over the top of them. I thought it would be less wasteful, which it was, and I also thought that pouring molten chocolate over an item which is barely keeping itself in a solid state at room temperature might not be the thing to do. As it was, one of the marshmallows went a bit melty anyway. They’re delicate things, you know.
Once the chocolate was successfully applied, I rolled the marshmallows in some toasted oats – toasting brings out the natural sweetness of the oats, and I threw in a few pinches of sugar for good measure. When they are fragrant and lightly browned, they are ready! Let the pan cool before dipping the marshmallows in them, for reasons explained above…
And that’s that – the Cranachan marshmallow. BEHOLD!
You can see a source of inspiration for these here at Green Wedding Shoes.