At a boy, Goodweed! Give it a whirl!
Iâ€™m not sure if you want the chewy texture of a Nougat, or the melt-in-your-mouth cream center of a fondant. Iâ€™ll give you both, but start with the latterâ€¦
As the aerifying basis, you will first need to make Mazetta, which is the homemade version of marshmallow crĂ¨me. (Feel free to substitute the store-bought version, Goodweed. I prefer to do it the old-fashioned way, but not everyone wants to do that! And this is one recipe where it is certainly not necessary â€“ the jarred stuff works equally.)
2 egg whites, at room temp
Âľ cup light corn syrup
ÂĽ cup water
Â˝ cup sugar
In the scrupulously clean bowl of your stand mixer, beat the egg whites until stiff.
In a 1-quart saucepan, wipe a ring of butter inside the pan about half-way up (this will help keep sugar crystals from forming), then combine the corn syrup, water and sugar. Place over high heat and stir constantly with a wooden spoon until the mixture comes to a full boil. (If you see sugar crystals along the sides, wipe them down with a damp pastry brush.)
Clip on your calibrated candy thermometer and cook the syrup to 242 degrees (F) (120C) (soft-ball stage).
Return to the beaten egg whites and turn the mixer on to medium speed. Then slowly begin to drizzle the hot syrup into the egg whites. Continue beating several minutes after all is incorporated until the mixture holds its shape.
Use immediately, refrigerate in a air-tight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, or freeze for 2 months.
Nowâ€¦the Grand Opera Creams
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1-1/2 cups milk (divided)
Â˝ cup light corn syrup
4 cups sugar
ÂĽ teaspoon salt
Â˝ cup Mazetta (or marshmallow crĂ¨me)
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
Set aside a 9x13â€ť ungreased baking pan for use laterâ€¦
In a heavy 4-quart saucepan, wipe a ring of butter about half-way up the sides of the pan, going all the way around for about a 2â€ť width. Place the pan over LOW heat and combine the cream, 1 cup of the milk, corn syrup, sugar and salt. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon until the mixture comes to a full boil. (This will take quite a few minutes over low heat, but a necessary evil to prevent scorching.) (If you see sugar crystals around the inside of the pan, wipe them down with a damp pastry brush.)
Clip on your calibrated candy thermometer and continue to cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture turns a medium-tan color (about 30 minutes). Stirring constantly, slowly pour in the remaining Â˝ cup of milk and continue cooking to 238 degrees (F) (115C) (soft ball stage). Now immediately remove the pan from the heat and, WITHOUT STIRRING OR SCRAPING, pour the mixture into the baking pan. Ever so gently, without excess movement, either place the pan in the refrigerator to cool, or be prepared to leave it on a wire rack for several hours.
When the bottom of the pan is just lukewarm to the touch, begin stirring the fondant with a wooden spoon. (You donâ€™t have to stir fast, just keep the mass moving gently.) After about 15 minutes of gentle exercise of stirring, add the Mazetta (or marshmallow crĂ¨me) and stir well to incorporateâ€¦then add the vanilla. And if you intend on flavoring the entire batch, add your flavorings after the Mazetta is blended. Continue to stir until the fondant becomes very stiff and loses its gloss (wonâ€™t take long at all after the Mazetta is added). At this point, the stuff has set up.
If it is too stiff to handle, break the stuff up into quarters and begin to manhandle and knead the stuff. It should soften up nicely. Then bring all the group together and knead some more to reform a smooth mass.
If you have stirred the fondant for what seems like forever and it still hasnâ€™t set up, let it rest for 15 minutes or so and often this will begin the crystallization process. If resting the fondant doesnâ€™t work, it is most likely undercooked. (Thereâ€™s an easy way to recooking over- or under-cooked fondants, which I will happily share if you need me to.)
If you want to use more than one flavor, divide the fondant into 3 or 4 portions and combine your flavorings into each. Typically, this will be various extracts or liquors.
If you are planning on using fresh fruits, banana should work just fine simply pureed. But â€śwetâ€ť fruits with lots of moisture (berries, etc.) should be pureed, then reduced dramatically so as not to dissolve the fondant and make it runny. Jellies and Jams are used easily, so donâ€™t worry overmuch. Just remove as much water from the fruit as you can and know that this will strengthen their flavors at the same time.
Now, if you really want a chewy Nougat
(also outstanding dipped in chocolate)â€¦
3 cups Mazetta (or marshmallow crĂ¨me)
1-1/2 cups light corn syrup
1-1/2 cups sugar
ÂĽ cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
Butter an 8-inch square baking pan and set aside.
Place the Mazetta in a large bowl and also set aside.
In a 1-quart saucepan (remember to ring with butter), combine the corn syrup and sugar. Place this over high heat and stir constantly with a wooden spoon until the mixture comes to a boil. (See any crystals? Get out the damp pastry brush!) (**This goes pretty quick.)
Clip on your calibrated candy thermometer and cook the syrup to 280 degrees (F) (140C) (or soft-crack stage). Remove from heat and let the syrup rest undisturbed for 2 minutes (to stabilize the temperature).
Without scraping, pour the entire batch into the Mazetta and stir gently with a wooden spoon until the mixture is smooth. Now add the butter, vanilla and salt and continue to stir until all of the butter is incorporated.
Pour this (you can scrape now) into the prepared baking pan and allow the stuff to rest over a rack at room temperature until firm (about 3 hours).
Now, if you are planning on adding fresh fruit reduced puree to this, I would add it right after blending in the butter and before pouring into the baking pan to cool. Again, I would suggest that you remove as much water as possible from the fruitâ€¦to a jelly/jam consistency.
I canâ€™t wait to hear how this turns out!!! :D