Strawberries, Mascarpone and Violet Marshmallow


In the summer of 2004, I attended a pastry seminar in Las Vegas where I had the pleasure to watch some great pastry chefs in action. It was a jam-packed schedule with morning and afternoon classes and I ended up with a little bit of “pastry chaos” in my head but there was one pastry chef, one, that stole my heart and that was Olivier Bajard. I had been to one of his demos before when I was in culinary school but this class in Las Vegas was something special for me. The theme was “Petits Gateaux”. If you have been following my blog the last few months, you have probably noticed that I am very much about mini cakes and pastries in general. I admire sugar and chocolate work, cake decorating and the more artistic side of pastry, but flavor is what draws me. Probably because I am not very artistic myself, I have never wanted to go into cake decorating which most of my classmates and co-workers wanted to do.

So I fell in love with Olivier Bajard. He was quiet, patient and there was no trace of chef ego, although he is a MOF (Meilleur Ouvrier de France) which is probably the highest rank a pastry chef one can achieve in France and in the world, for that matter. Is like wearing a Super Bowl ring, I suppose.

One of the desserts he made was called “Violet”. How can you not love anything with a name like that? It was white chocolate squares, with a cassis-violet coulis, vanilla cream, strawberry salpicon and sugar dough. Just out of this world. That was the first time I ever heard of violet extract and seen it being used in pastry. Ever since then, I have been wanting to use violet extract in something but it has been nearly impossible to find it in this country. But I did find a violet syrup used for cocktail making. It’s from a company called Monin.

This dessert is certainly not at the level of Bajard’s “Violet” but it’s inspired by those flavors. This seems like a strawberry shortcake with a French twist. I built it with some sable breton, fresh strawberries, mascarpone cream and marshmallow that I flavored with a little bit of the violet syrup from Monin. The syrup is not very concentrated and certainly not as potent as violet extract, but it worked. It gave the marshmallow a mild violet taste and it didn’t change the white color which I like. If you like color, you can most definitely add food coloring at the same time you add the flavoring. That’s personal preference.

Violet Marshmallow

430 grams sugar
16 grams corn syrup
175 grams water
53 grams powdered gelatin (2 full boxes of Knox unflavored gelatin)
175 grams water
2 egg whites
25 grams sugar
2 Tbs violet syrup

In a deep saucepan, cook the first three ingredients to 126 degrees Celsius (258 degrees Farenheit). In the meantime, bloom the gelatin in the other 175 grams of water.

While the sugar is cooking, start whipping the egg whites slowly. When they start to build a meringue, sprinkle the 25 grams of sugar over them and continue whipping. When the sugar has reached 126 degrees C, add the bloom gelatin to the saucepan and whisk. It will bubble up so be careful and continue whisking. Turn heat off but let the gelatin completely melt in the sugar. as soon as the gelatin has melted, turn the speed in the mixer to low in the mixer and start adding the cooked sugar in a steady stream on the side of the bowl. When all the syrup is added, turn the mixer to high and whip until light and very fluffy. Add the violet syrup.

The marshmallow will be a little warm still. Pour it into a half sheetpan lined with a silicon mat. Spread it evenly and let it cool. If we whip it until it is cold, it will be very hard to spread it when we pour it into the sheetpan so don’t whip it too much. It will be just as fluffy.

Dust some cornstarch on top of the marshmallow and cut it into squares. It will be sticky, especially if you live in a humid climate like I do, so dust your hands and knife with cornstarch when you are going to cut it.

Marshmallow makes a wonderful gift and since this pan makes a lot of it, plan to give some of it away. Share the love of fluffy violet pillows. Have a great weekend!


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38 Responses to “Strawberries, Mascarpone and Violet Marshmallow”

  1. nadia says:

    This sounds delicious! Marshmallows… let me count the ways I love them. I have always wanted to make marshmallows and this looks lovely!

  2. linda says:

    Wonderful desert! Love the idea of using violet. I have still to make my first batch of marshmellows. So much to do and so little time ;)

  3. M says:

    Its embarrassing, but I never heard about home made marshmellows.
    All I can say s: wow wow wow!! So tempting!

  4. Mobula says:

    Como siempre…fantasticos tu postres y tus fotografías… Mi profe de pastelería hace unas nubes con té de violetas que son alucinantes, fíjate es una de esas cosas que todavía no me he atrevido a hacer, me da la impresión que son complicadísimas y no me he puesto a ello. si quieres le pido la receta…

    Besos,

    Ana

  5. Mobula says:

    Otra cosa (que pesada), puedo sustituir el corn syrup por azúcar invertido???

    Ana

  6. Eileen says:

    First of all, you are very artistic. That’s obvious in your desserts, staging and photos. My sister just brought back several bottles of Liquor Violet from France. Doesn’t that sound like a great substitute?

    Eileen (passions to pastry)@
    http://www.livingtastefully.com

  7. I know I’m not the only one, but I’m a big fan of your little cakes and pastries and if they’re not brimming with artistic creativity, then I don’t know what is!

    On the subject of violets, I just discovered it as a flavoring last year, not in a pastry, but in a cocktail.

  8. MiKel says:

    Aran, doy fe que esas nubes de te de violeta están fantásticas..
    Yo las he intentado un par de veces pero no hay manera.. se me resisten.. pero ya caerán..
    Por cierto el postre increible y las fotos mas…

  9. Veron says:

    For the longest time I thought you cannot make marshmallows at home. Just like bread, I bet homemade is better. this is such a gorgeous dessert!

  10. wow absolutely beautiful!!! and you definitely are extremely artistic, you’ve such an amazing eye for photos!!!!

    When I was small there were sweets called parma violet, which looking back were probably horrible but I loved the violet taste, if this is like that then I’m all for it. YUM!!!

  11. Tartelette says:

    Homemade marshmallows are so good and you can flavor them any way you like. I have tried but for the life of me I can’t get do violet, gives me headaches, and my brother living in Toulouse keeps sending me violet scented stuff :(
    The combination of flavor and texture is great!

  12. Lyra says:

    I just found your blog and I am glad of it! All your recipes look delicious, and your plating and presentation are wonderful-It is clear that you are a professional. Reading about your projects gives me ideas, but also makes me want to buy kitchen equipment that I can’t afford:)

    Beautiful photos too. Thanks for sharing with us!

  13. Peabody says:

    LOL- I am so tired that when I read your recipe I thought it said VIOLENT marshmallows and I thought…what the heck are those? :) Obviously I need sleep or I would have read violet marshmallows. The dessert looks so very beautiful.

  14. Um, have I told you lately how amazing you are???

    Aran…seriously. I can just imagine how delicious it must be with all those flavors working together.

    I love the idea of violet marshmallows. When I made mine for TWD this past week, I was thinking that I might want to try lavender. (I made lavender limeade instead.)

    YUM.

  15. obviously the product and the pictures are outstanding!
    What has me sitting very upright in my chair (I was kind of slumped down before) was the mentioning of Las Vegas – World Pastry Forum I presume?
    I bet it was worth going, I have been tempted for years, but I always came up with excuses (kids, money, you name it) – GREAT!!! Can you share more, pretty please?

  16. Aran says:

    Thank you everyone for taking the time once again to comment.
    Sweet Tooth- Yes, it was the World Pastry Forum. What can I say, it was memorable. We had great chefs like Jacqui Pfeiffer, Ciril Hilz, Olivier bajard, JP Maury and a bunch more. Very intense and then we had the World Pastry Championship which was also unbelievable. At the time I didn’t have any kids and my job was my life. I understand when you say that life got in the way of going, it does require a lot of time and money. I was lucky because my employer paid the tuition. That was a nice bonus. Oh and then I got to go to Las Vegas for the first time in my life and that was another experience all on its own. I think I slept about an average of 2 hours a night!

  17. giz says:

    What I like about this recipe is the subtle flavors when combined and hinted with a violet touch can only be called food porn.

  18. cath says:

    Hmmm…I’ve never had the guts to make my own marshmallows; mainly because if they looked half as good as yours do, I’d eat them all. Love the violet touch!

  19. These look fantastic! I love the containers you used (shotglasses?).

  20. i am amazed at how your blog has transpired. i am still an avid reader, checking almost daily, and i just wanted to let you know that your blog is truly special. i had quite a few life altering event occur this past month (some better than others), which has postponed my re-entry into the blog world, but i will pick up again soon. keep up the excellent work because i lvoe reading!!

  21. Rosa says:

    Impresionante y deliciosa. Esas fotos… fantásticas.
    Besos

  22. Inne says:

    Hi Aran, thanks for leaving a comment on my blog – I’ve just discovered yours and it’s stunning! And with exactly the sort of sweets I like! I have a little jar of violet jelly in my pantry but until now was at a loss as how to use it. You’ve certainly given me some inspiration. Have a nice weekend!

  23. Mandy says:

    violet extract sounds intriguing. I love discovering new flavor, so I will keep a look out for this.

  24. Another beautiful, jewel-like creation! When I was a little girl, I used to buy a violet candy at the dime store. It was sugary and flowery at the same time. None of the other kids liked it, but to me it was so exotic! I’ll bet those marshmallows have that same floral headiness.

  25. Gloria says:

    Looks so lovely! I like it so! xGloria

  26. miam… another great recipe!!

  27. Grrr…you would go and make some perfect marshmallows, wouldn’t you! Lovely idea!

  28. Jacelyn says:

    Hi, I stumbled upon your link from Cupcake bakeshop. I’m intrigued!! By your blog entries..the varieties of dessert that looks so beautifully pieced together and tempting, the cuteness of it. There’s so many of your recipes that I can’t wait to try. Great blog!! =)

  29. Ann says:

    Aran, this is just beautiful! I love the composition of flavors and elements.

  30. Bea says:

    I am not a marshmallow fan, but your lovely treat is tempting, all the same!

  31. Kelly-Jane says:

    I love the idea of using violet too, a lovely dessert :)

  32. Hola Aran:

    He conocido tu blog a través del de Pilar “Cazuelicas” y me ha gustado muchísimo, tanto es así que lo he enlazado al mío, si no te parece mal. En caso de que no quieras, me dejas un comentario en una entrada. Gracias. Me ha gustado todo muchísimo, pero de lo que ahora veo la Matcha, lemond an chocolate opera cake. Tomo nota de ella. A ver si algún día la hago. Besos y gracias

  33. Pilar says:

    Hola Aran: Te felicito por la receta, tiene una presentación impresionante y tus fotos maravillosas.
    Un beso

  34. Katie says:

    You are fabulous! I have been following your blog since you started and must say that I love reading about your love for food and love your fotos- que hermosas!
    I found a place that has violet flavor – I’ve never tried it before and don’t know if it’s exactly what you’re looking for. Here’s the link: http://www.bickfordflavors.com/upload/newsletter/pricelist_012105.pdf

    Here’s the blog I found that wrote about it and recommends that brand. Good luck! http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/harvest/msg0311080015022.html

    Katie

  35. Aran says:

    Thanks Katie!
    I believe this is similar to what I have which is a sugar syrup diluted violet extract. Thank you very much for the link. Another thing… I was trying to open your Blogger profile but I couldn’t so I don’t know what your blog is. I wanted to thank you in your blog.
    Let me know what the URL is!

  36. Aran says:

    Maybe they are not syrups… I took a better look at it and it says they don’t have any added sugar or alcohol. Hmm.. I’m intrigued now!

  37. Katie says:

    Aran-
    I am going to order some soon, too! Hopefully it will work well! I think I’ll call and ask before ordering.
    I don’t have my blog set up yet, but will maybe start it soon. Life has been very busy.
    Your welcome!
    Katie

  38. Katie says:

    Aran-
    I am going to order some soon, too! Hopefully it will work well! I think I’ll call and ask before ordering.
    I don’t have my blog set up yet, but will maybe start it soon. Life has been very busy.
    Your welcome!
    Katie

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