Wednesday 28 February 2024

'Capybara in Totoro Dreamland' Vegan Marshmallows

 On and off I have people asking me if it is possible to make character marshmallows vegan. The answer is yes!

The sleeping capybara is based on a plushie we have at home. It's hilarious because the bubble at the nose can be pulled and upon release, the whole toy vibrates and produces a rumbling noise like a snore 😆. Actually I made many more Totoros and the capybara was an afterthought made using the leftover bits of marshmallow batter.

People have also asked if the recipe is in my Deco Marshmallows book. The answer is yes but only as a footnote on how to adapt the vegetarian recipe to make it a vegan one. In my vegan marshmallows, instead of egg whites and gelatin, I use agar powder, reduced aquafaba and apple puree as the ingredients that provide structure and bounce.

The technique for making vegan marshmallows is slightly different from the vegetarian one which uses egg whites instead of reduced aquafaba, because the meringue made using aquafaba is less stable and less robust than the one made using egg whites. Make sure the meringue is whipped stiffer than you would make for the vegetarian marshmallow if you want to make it vegan.

Here's the reel for the Totoro vegan marshmallows and the capybara plushie in action:

Pardon the lack of piping tutorial for capybara because it was made with leftover marshmallow batter & I wasn't confident it would turn out fine. 

These vegan marshmallows are also known as zephyrs (zefir) which are apple puree based & agar is used as the gelling agent. I replaced egg whites with aquafaba to make it vegan. It doesn't taste too sweet at all, in fact it is tart because of the fruit /juice that goes into it! Texture is a cross between regular marshmallows & meringue cookies.

Feel free to upsize as this is for a small batch & a very tiny saucepan I used. 

Apple jam:
1 large Granny Smith apple 
55g sugar
12g lemon juice
1/8 tsp salt

🔸Bake halved apple until soft. Sieve. Cook with rest of ingredients until total weight reduced to 100g. Refrigerate overnight covered

Vegan marshmallow:
Agar syrup:
100g sugar
3g agar powder
13g invert sugar
50g water
30g reduced aquafaba (to 40-50%)
Apple jam

🔸Whip meringue until STIFF. Continue whipping at med-low speed while making syrup

🔸Bring agar syrup to a boil while whisking continuously. Keep whisking until syrup forms a thread when dripped instead of forming droplets

🔸 Turn mixer speed to med-high. Pour syrup in. Continue whipping for a short time until consistency is floppy peak. Check every 30s after syrup is added

🔸Pipe marshmallows

🔸Air dry overnight at room temperature. Dust lightly with cornstarch or mix of icing sugar & cornstarch 

✅ Work quickly & keep unused batter in warm place as it sets up much more quickly than gelatin based marshmallows.

If this doesn't work for you on the first try, it is likely due to technique issues, so don't give up. It takes a little getting used to working with aquafaba but once you get used to it, it should work!

Detailed recipe & technical tips are in my Deco Marshmallows book and upcoming classes.

with love,
Phay Shing

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