It was Hallowe’en and amid the regular, numerous, and it seems to me slightly gratuitous pictures of sad-eyed children with hare lips, the Guardian magazine had this Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall recipe for marshmallow. Perhaps naively, I had no idea Marshmallows were a simple man-made concoction of sugar and gelatine – I assumed they grew on trees like spaghetti and money.


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Preparation time: 15 minute plus an hour or two to set
Cooking time: 10 minutes
Skill level: easy
Makes: more than we could possibly want
Recipe: Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall


  • granulated sugar – 500g
  • icing sugar – 1-2 tbsp
  • cornflour – 1-2 tbsp
  • a little vegetable oil – for oiling
  • 1 small, raw, peeled beetroot (optional)
  • gelatine powder – 25g (about 2 sachets)
  • 2 egg whites

Sieve the icing sugar and cornflour into a bowl. Take a 20cm x 20cm cake tin, rub with oil and shake in some of the icing sugar mix to coat.

Grate the beetroot into a bowl, pour on 125ml of near-boiling water and leave to quickly infuse for 30 seconds. Strain into another bowl and stir in the gelatine to dissolve.

Over low heat, warm the sugar and 250ml water and stir to dissolve the sugar.

Using a sugar thermometer, boil fiercely to 122C.

Remove from the heat, pour in the beetroot/gelatine mixture and stir.

Put the egg whites in a mixer bowl and beat until very stiff. With the mixer on low speed, slowly pour in the sugar solution and beat until really thick but still pourable.

Pour into the tin and leave to set in a cool place (not the fridge) for an hour or two.

Thoroughly dust a board with the remaining cornflour/icing sugar mix. Coat a knife with oil, and use to ease the marshmallow out on to the board.

Cut into squares, and store in an airtight tin lined with parchment.


Verdict: Well they taste like marshmallows so if you like marshmallows you’ll like these. Personally I’m not fussed so these were made more out of curiosity than desire (I would certainly pass the marshmallow test). They are much softer and less dusty than the shop bought (or farmed) variety and tend to melt rather than toast.

Drink: You’ll need a gallon of tea to wash down these sweet sticky confections.

Entertainment: Sitting around the camp fire singing Ging Gang Goolie and telling ghost stories.


The marshmallow contact sheet

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