- oil, for oiling
- 60g icing sugar
- 60g cornflour
- 110ml water
- 3 tsp powdered gelatine
- 170g caster or granulated sugar
- 140g liquid glucose or corn syrup
- pinch of salt
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
- edible black ink pen
- For the white chocolate igloo:
- 400g good-quality white chocolate, chopped into small pieces
- white food dye suitable for chocolate
- 300g white candy melts (this won’t need tempering, but doesn’t taste as good as real white chocolate)
- For the anglaise (optional):
- 115ml double cream
- 115ml whole milk
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
- 4 medium egg yolks
- 60g caster or granulated sugar
For this recipe you do need a stand mixer, as there is so much mixing involved, plus a thermometer, but other than the necessary equipment these are quite straightforward, and will hopefully be snow mean feat! The marshmallows are flavoured with just vanilla, but you can add extracts such as rose, almond, orange or mint to flavour, if you like. The white chocolate igloo and the crème anglaise are optional, but a lot of fun to make and complete the look!
Tip: You can pipe whatever marshmallow shapes you want. You aren’t limited to just seals…try polar bears, chicks (use yellow food dye in the marshmallow), cats, or pigs (use pink food dye) – the possibilities are endless!
- First, make the marshmallows. Oil two large baking sheets, then sift over a mixture of 40g of the icing sugar and 40g of the cornflour. You want everything to be evenly and generously coated to ensure the marshmallows don’t stick. Mix the remaining icing sugar and cornflour together and set aside for later.
- Add half the water to a stand mixer bowl, then sprinkle over the gelatine. Add the remaining water, caster sugar, liquid glucose and salt to a small saucepan, trying to avoid
getting sugar stuck to the sides, and heat over a high heat, without stirring, until the mixture reaches 116C/241F. At this point, put the mixer on low speed, then quickly pour the sugar syrup in. Add the vanilla bean paste, then increase the speed to high and whisk for 10–12 minutes until the mixture is thick, fluffy and pipeable.
- Transfer the majority of the mixture to a large piping bag and cut a large tip. Transfer the
remaining small amount to a smaller piping bag and cut a smaller tip. Use the large piping bag to pipe shapes, directly onto the oiled and powdered baking sheets, for the seal bodies – wider at the beginning and tapered smaller towards the end. You can pipe different-sized seals for variety.
- Next, use the smaller piping bag to add the seals’ noses. Wet the end of your finger with water, then use this to push down the tip afterwards. Try to pipe as fast as you can, because the mixture will stiffen over time and become more difficult to work with. If this does happen, you can just pipe or spoon it in one even layer into another oiled and powdered tray, then you can cut it into squares later, once set.
- Sift the reserved icing sugar and cornflour mixture over the marshmallows and leave to completely set and dry for at least four hours.
- Meanwhile, make the white chocolate igloo. First, you will need to temper your chocolate (unless you use candy melts, in which case you can melt these in short 15-second bursts in the microwave, stirring well in between). Place a heatproof bowl (which is clean and completely dry) over a pan of boiling water, making sure the base of the bowl doesn’t touch the boiling water, and add three-quarters of the finely chopped chocolate. Set the remaining one-quarter of the chocolate aside for ‘seeding’ the chocolate later. Stir the chocolate until it has melted and its temperature is 43C/109F. Be careful not to let any water touch the chocolate, as it will seize and become unusable. Start taking the chocolate off the heat before it reaches the desired temperature, as you will find that the temperature suddenly shoots up towards the end because the bowl is very hot.
- Add the remaining chunks of chocolate to the bowl, stirring constantly. At this point, you can add the white food dye to colour (white chocolate is naturally yellow, so white food dye will make it whiter, which is a better colour for an igloo). Keep stirring constantly until the temperature comes down to 28–29C/82–84F, then pour into a clean metal or silicone half-sphere mould and place in the freezer to set for 10 minutes.
- Once set, the chocolate should pull away from the mould easily. Crack it on one side, working your way away from the rim, so that there is now an opening in the semi-sphere.
- Add the finishing details to the marshmallow seals. Use scissors to cut into the sides to create their arms, then use an edible black ink pen to add the facial details. Arrange the marshmallow seals so that they are inside the semi-sphere and peaking out through the opening. With the remaining white chocolate (you may need to re-melt it slightly so that it is pipeable again), pipe lines onto the white chocolate sphere to resemble an igloo. You can serve it like this, as it looks impressive already, or you can do the extra step of making the crème anglaise to pour over.
Tip: If you are having difficulty piping the white chocolate onto the igloo, then use Royal Icing instead.
To make the creme anglaise:
Heat the cream, milk and the vanilla bean paste in a small pan until starting to simmer. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar together. Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the yolk mixture, making sure to add the milk gradually and to whisk constantly. Return the custard to the pan and heat until thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon.