Don’t give up the day job…. Vegetarian Marshmallows

Vegetarian Marshmallows

I’ve been searching the web for a while to find a decent recipe for vegetarian marshmallows, to no avail.  Inspired by these beauties (left) by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, I thought it was worth a go in any case, so set out for a direct substitution of gelatine with agar flakes.  

MarshmallowsBefore declaring them a total failure, I should point out that they taste absolutely delicious.  Light, fluffy, sticky and sweet – just as a marshmallow should be.

But even after 24 hours to set in the fridge, they just aren’t holding their shape at all, and you need either a finger bowl and napkin nearby at all times or else a fork and spoon to eat them with.

All was not lost, however…. spread over digestive biscuits and popped under the grill for a few minutes, this really did make all my efforts worthwhile.  This would be a fantastic nibble to serve up on bonfire  night.

In my quest for perfect veggie marshmallows I think the next step will be to track down some Vege-gel in case it works better as a gelling agent than agar-agar.  Has anyone tried this?  I’m struggling to find it in any supermarkets at the moment.

Here’s a quick outline of the recipe I used, in case you want to re-create the digestive/marshmallow snackette above:

  • 2 tbsp cornflour
  • 2 tbsp icing sugar
  • 1 egg white
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 1½ tbsp golden syrup
  • 180ml cold water
  • 2 tbsp agar-agar flakes
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


– Grease a 20cm square baking tin and dust with 1tsp each of the cornflour and icing sugar.

– In a small saucepan, very gently heat 80ml of the water, scatter over the agar flakes and stir occasionally over a very low heat until dissolved.

– In a large bowl, whisk egg white until stiff peaks form.

– In a saucepan, heat the caster sugar, golden syrup and 100ml cold water until the sugar has dissolved.  Turn up the heat and measure with a thermometer until it reaches ‘hard crack stage’ – 121°C – 130°C.

– Remove from the heat and stir in the agar liquid.  Whisk the egg white once again, and slowly dribble in the hot caramel, whisking all the time.

– When fully incorporated, smooth and glossy, pour into your prepared tin and refrigerate until set, (or semi-set, as I discovered!).

Can anyone suggest any tweaks to the above which might give a better set?