Save the date for October 2nd, we have a cover and a release date! It took some months to work on the cover and finalize a photo, fonts and design but it happened and I couldn't be anymore prouder of how this turned out and I can't wait for you to see the entire book. I'm also thrilled and honored that my dear friend John Birdsall wrote the foreword to Season. As always, details on pre-ordering and tour dates etc. are on the BOOK tab above.
I feel I didn't give lemons and citrus enough attention this year. Living in California and given my love for all things citrus except grapefruit (I only like the fragrance and how it looks), I failed. So I'm going to do my best to make up for it. I don't have too many excuses but I've always hoped I'd have the most abundant lemon trees after we moved to Oakland. Unfortunately, we might be the only house as M has pointed out on several occasions, with a Meyer lemon bush that has ONE, JUST ONE lemon hanging on a branch. It flowers constantly and is surrounded by bees but it's more of a one-lemon-a-year-tree. If you look at my Instagram story feed, I'm perpetually looking at envy at the neighbors' trees. They have so much that the fruit fall on the ground and rot. One fine day, I will have a bountiful lemon and citrus garden. ONE DAY!!!
But I digress, let's talk about these marshmallows. Marshmallows have a curious history, they were first made in BC Egypt from the marshmallow plant's root. Marshmallows was considered to be a food of the Gods. Then came the French who used replaced the plant's starch with gelatin. Regardless of whether it was reserved for Gods or for the elite at one time, I love marshmallows. I love them because of their soft texture, they remind me of little cushions that squeeze and come back to shape. They bounce when tossed and jiggle when shaken.
These marshmallows have the classic combination of lemon and poppy seeds. Fresh lemon zest and a few generous splashes of lemon juice add that bright tart lemony note while the poppy seeds add a little texture to each sweet little cushion!
lemon and poppy seed marshmallows
makes 18- one-inch squares
2 large lemons
2 Tbsp clear unflavored vodka
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup confectioner's sugar
3/4 cup water
20g granulated gelatin
300 g granulated sugar
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
2 large egg whites, warmed to room temperature
1 1/2 to 2 Tbsp poppy seeds
yellow food coloring (I used a natural brand)
Zest both the lemons and place them in a small container with the vodka. Stir and cover with a lid or seal with cling film. Leave in the refrigerator overnight to extract the flavor. Save one lemon to extract 2 Tbsp juice and use the remaining lemon for another purpose. (I prefer to wrap the lemons in cling wrap and then extract the juice the next day)
Sift the cornstarch and confectioner's sugar in a small bowl. Dust a square 9-inch baking pan with about 2 Tbsp of the sifted mixture to cover the surface and keep aside.
Pour 1/4 cup of the water in a small heat proof mixing bowl or measuring cup. Sprinkle the gelatin on top and allow to sit undisturbed. After 5 minutes, add the 2 Tbsp lemon juice and strain the vodka extract over the gelatin. Discard the zest and let the gelatin sit.
Pour the remaining 1/2 cup of water in a medium-saucepan, add the granulated sugar and cream of tartar. Cover with a lid and heat on medium-low heat until the sugar has completely dissolved the temperature reads 245F on instant-read / candy thermometer.
While the sugar is melting start to work on the egg whites. Place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer and using the whisk attachment, whisk on medium-high speed until the egg whites turn foamy and eventually produce stiff peaks. Stop the mixer.
As soon as the sugar syrup reaches 245F, pour it in a thin and steady stream from the side of the bowl containing the gelatin. It will bubble and foam, so do this carefully to avoid spilling. Stir the mixture with a fork until smooth. Then pour the hot gelatin syrup into the egg whites in a thin and steady stream from one side while continuing to whisk the egg whites on medium-high speed. Once the syrup is added, continue to whisk for 1 additional minute and then increase the speed to high and whisk until you get stiff peaks (the foam should be white in shiny white in color and will hold its shape). Sprinkle the poppy seeds and whisk for 30 seconds. Then stop the mixer and add a few drops of the coloring and whisk for 3 to 4 seconds just long enough to create a few swirls (avoid the urge to over-mix or it will become uniformly yellow). Remove the bowl from the mixer and using a silicone spatula transfer the mixture to the prepared baking pan. Take a small offset spatula and lightly grease it with a little oil and even the top layer. Allow the pan to rest covered for at least 4 hours preferably 6 hours. The marshmallow will be ready once it is cool and spongy to touch in the center.
To cut, dust a clean surface with a little bit of the cornstarch-sugar mixture. Run a small knife around the edges of the pan to release the marshmallow. You might need to gently pull it from the sides to help release it. Cut into one inch squares with a sharp knife (you can grease the knife with a little oil to prevent sticking). Dust the squares with a little cornstarch-sugar mixture and store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.