Halloween Spiced Pumpkin Squares
This marshmallow has all the subtly spiced flavour of an autumnal pumpkin pie, wrapped up in a delicious fluffy square. Butternut squash works well if pumpkin proves hard to find. A few drops of orange food colouring can enhance the pumpkin look.
- 400g peeled pumpkin, or butternut squash, flesh cut into 1cm cubes
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
- ½ tsp ground allspice
- 1 quantity of classic vanilla marshmallow
- A few drops of orange food colouring (optional)
- For the classic vanilla marshmallow:
- 16g (approx. 8 sheets) leaf gelatine
- 2 egg whites
- 500g granulated sugar
- 250ml cold water
- 1tsp vanilla extract
- You will also need:
- 20cm square cake tin
- Non-stick cooking spray or a little vegetable oil
- 2 tbsp icing sugar mixed with 2 tbsp cornflour
Prepare the tin by spraying lightly all over with non-stick cooking spray or brushing with a little vegetable oil. Add a tablespoon of the icing sugar and cornflour coating and tap around the tin to coat the base and sides evenly. Set aside.
Steam the pumpkin until soft when pierced with the tip of a knife – this will take about 20 minutes. Purée to a smooth paste, either in a food processor or liquidizer or with a stick blender. Add the spices and mix thoroughly. Set aside to cool.
Prepare a batch of classic marshmallow mixture: Add the gelatine sheets one at a time (to prevent them clumping together) to a shallow bowl of cold water and set aside to soften. Pour the egg whites into the clean bowl of a food mixer and whisk until they hold stiff peaks. Turn off the mixer while you make the syrup. Put the sugar and water into a heavy-based pan and warm over a low heat, stirring until the sugar has completely dissolved. Stand a sugar thermometer in the pan, increase the heat to medium-high and bring up to the boil. Allow to bubble away, undisturbed, for around 15 minutes until the temperature reads 122°C. This is what is known as the ‘firm ball’ stage. If you don’t have a sugar thermometer, drop a teaspoon of hot syrup into a glass of cold water. It should form a firm ‘toffee-ish’ ball that holds its shape. Remove the thermometer from the pan and leave it on a chopping board or plate to cool down.
With the mixer set on low speed, start to beat the egg whites once more. Add the hot syrup in a steady trickle, mixing continuously as you pour. As soon as all the syrup has been added, increase the speed to maximum. Remove the leaves of gelatine from the cold water, giving them a little squeeze dry, then drop them into the mixer as it is turning and whisk on high speed for 10 minutes. The mixture should be thick, shiny, and just about pourable.
Once the mixture is thick and glossy, scrape in the cooled pumpkin purée, add the food colouring, if using, and whisk again until well combined. Pour into the prepared tin, levelling with the flat of a table knife, and dust the surface with more coating. Set aside for 4–6 hours until firm (or overnight), then turn out on to a lightly dusted chopping board and cut into squares, dusting with more coating as you go.