While it has the color of a Pink Pearl rubber eraser, this flame toasted marshmallow tastes like oven roasted beets. That's because this marshmallow is a beet marshmallow, meant for fire roasting.
I've been experimenting with beet powder recently, and when I came up with this marshmallow I remember my stream of thought going like this:
What is my favorite way to cook beets? Roasting.
What other things can you roast? Marshmallows.
And that was how I came up with roasted beet marshmallows.
I found this recipe from Ideas in Food, and modified it a bit, taking out the Szechuan peppers, adding 30 grams of beet flour during the mixing stage, and using arrowroot starch in place of corn starch. The original recipe calls for adding dry ingredients during the gelatin blooming process and adding liquids during the mixing process. I went against this advice, adding the dry beet powder during the mixing process, this resulted in a lighter pink color (as opposed to a deeper red). The lighter color allows the darker colors of caramelization on the flame-toasted finished product to read better in terms of visual contrast.
In terms of concept, I tried to reconstruct a beet in a different format, this meant using beet ingredients whenever possible. Isomalt is a sugar alcohol that comes from beets and the beet powder is basically powdered beet juice, so I felt justified in reuniting the components in this tasting dish. The caramelization of the marshmallow during roasting contributed to the oven-roasted flavor.
For presentation I used a torch to flame toast the perimeter of the marshmallow (leaving the top intact), and then served it by taking the toasted outer shell and pulling it off the marshmallow like a shirt, setting it on top of or next to the skinless marshmallow as a hollow shell, and finishing the plate with beet oil made from equal parts beet powder & olive oil (olive oil works here because it also works when oven roasting beets). I also played around with toasting the entire marshmallow, laying it on the plate in a puddle of beet oil and winter greens, and allowing a fork to crack open the beet, almost like a spoon penetrating a crème brûlée. Here are some images of the shell removal process:
I don't particularly care for marshmallows unless they are flame toasted, and then I can eat one or two of them. This marshmallow on its own just tastes like a slice of beet, but when they are toasted it tastes like I slow roasted salty garden beets in the oven for a couple of hours.
I could also see this being extended into a hybrid savory-sweet s'more of some sort with analogues for the graham cracker & chocolate. Avoid using a cow's milk cheese in place of chocolate for a s'more - the sticky sweetness of the marshmallow would clash and collapse with the weight of a melted cheese like Gruyère or something. A goat cheese would pair nicely with the beet flavor, perhaps you could spread it thinly on the vehicle before smashing the marshmallow inside.
What are your thoughts? How would you change it?
note: this post originally published on my defunct food blog Kitchen Cognition on January 27, 2013