Tag Archives: video

Homemade Fruit Roll-Ups: Bring ’em to yoga and feel virtuous (but also humble)

How awesome are these blueberry fruit rolls? Made by ME–at home!

There are some foods (?) like gummi bears and M&Ms that one cannot imagine as “home-made”.  The Fruit Roll Ups of my youth were one such item.  Weren’t they meant to come in a colourful cardboard box and in crazy colours like bright blue?   Sure, there were the natural “fruit leathers” out there but we never had those in my house.

I realize there are a million recipes for fruit rolls on the internet but I never paid attention until I watched one of the recent Dessert Basic videos on the Globe and Mail site.  It looked so easy.  I had to attempt it.  I will tell you upfront that I failed and I succeeded, there were highs and there were lows….so perhaps the lessons in my fruit roll journey will help you in yours.

In the video, Pastry chef Yasmin Johaadien uses raspberries but says that you can use almost any fruit (there are exceptions which she mentions at the end of her instructions). I decided to do a blue berry batch as well.

blueberries

The first step is to start with three cups raspberries (and I assumed 3 cups of any fruit you are using, I used three cups blueberries as well).

Once you’ve liquified the berries you strain them through a sieve.

Easy peasy so far, right?  I did the same thing with the blueberries.

The raspberry puree, once strained, came to 1 cup final product and the blueberries yielded 1 1/2 cups.  Seems that this can vary per batch, Yasmin was working with a 1 1/2 cup yield for her raspberries.

I put both purees in pots on the stove, added 1 tablespoon lemon juice to each and then reduced them by half.  Now I’ve never been very good at assessing when something has reduced by half so I actually measured the raspberry puree at one point and still had to reduce further.  The blueberry thickened up faster even though there was more puree.

Once reduced you add a 1/2 cup sugar to the puree and stir until just dissolved.

Then I poured both purees onto (individual) parchment-lined sheets and spread them with my off-set.   The raspberry was less viscous than the blueberry.

Then I put them into the oven at 225°F for 3 hours (Yasmin says to you’ll need about 2.5-3 hours in the video).  When I took them out they were (as instructed) sticky to the touch but did not seem to cling to the back of a spoon.  The point being that you need some moisture in them or they will dry and crack (not roll).  I allowed them to cool.  And then instead of using a knife or pizza cuter to portion them, I just cut them with scissors.

And then PRESTO I peeled away the parchment!

Laying them on new parchment, I rolled them individually.

And I had a whole batch of my very own roll ups!

And now for the sad finale of the raspberry misadventure….

The above crsipy bacon-like rolls were a result of me putting the raspberry strips back in the oven because they would not peel off the parchment, and they were still too sticky and tearing, even after cooling.  I think I should have reduced the puree more at the beginning and I also think that putting them back in the oven might have worked but I left them too long.  And they dried up.  DO NOT OVER DRY THEM.

But no one needs to know about those.  I’ll just give them another whirl (and report back).  Or stick with the blueberry.  Everyone needs a signature “roll up”.

Has anyone made these before?  Any tips are welcome!  I think I might blend the berries next time.  And we really did take them to Felix’s yoga for kids class.  I rocked the hippie mom vibe.

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Weekend Fluff: Make Marshmallows

Just when you think, “what could be more fun than doing nothing on the weekend” along comes some food blogger to tell you to make marshmallows.  Yes, I know, you can buy  marshmallows at WalMart or the gas station but there is nothing like the satisfaction (and an odd comfort) of making these at home and realizing  you can replicate the texture and and lightness of the industrially manufactured confection from your childhood—but they taste way better.  (You can even delight in squashing these between your fingers and making “ghost gum” –anyone know what I’m talking about?)

These were rolled in coconut.

Homemade marshmallows are more beautiful and delicate than the packaged masses.  They also have real flavour since you can add fragrant vanilla beans (or puréed fruit) and drop in a subtle hint of food colouring to help match any baby shower, bridal shower, man-cave christening or home campfire you’re planning on hosting.

And making them successfully in your own kitchen provides the same kind of fun and slight MAGIC as  when you pop your own popcorn in a pot on the stove.

Plain vanilla bean batch.

I made these from a recipe in Chris Nuttall-Smith’s Man Vs Marshmallow piece in the Globe and Mail recently (which tells you about the origins of mallows and has a great tip about calibrating your candy thermometre).  Just imagine the thrill of  making sea-salt caramel marshmallows or a butter-rum version.  Which I have not yet done but plan on using to kick   bake sale ass at Felix’s school (rum makes the pre-schoolers feel like pirates, fun!!)

This stuff feels pretty cool. Opposite end of the spectrum of homemade playdough.

Yes, I am going to keep showing you pictures until I wear you down.  Believe me, I can keep going, this is the age of endless digital photography.

Finally then, here’s the recipe as adapted from  Marshmallow Madness! by Shauna Sever.   The book includes a tonne of amazing variations on the species–including the buttered rum variety mentioned above.  And BTW, this looks lengthy, but it’s not complicated, just detailed to make sure yours turn out perfect. Just dive in, you’ll be fine.  YOU MUST HAVE A STAND-MIXER FOR THIS RECIPE.

If you want some coaching, here’s the video version of How to Make Marshmallows.

I can fit 14 in my mouth at once, you?

Classic Vanilla Marshmallows

One important tip—don’t trust the measurements on the package of your powdered gelatin.  Measure the powder yourself with a teaspoon.

Have everything ready before you start as once the syrup reaches the right temperature you have to be ready with all the other ingredients in the mixer.

Ingredients

COATING

1 cup icing sugar

2/3 cup cornstarch

BLOOM

4 ½ teaspoons unflavoured powdered gelatin

½ cup cold water

MALLOW

¾ cup sugar

½ cup light corn syrup (divided)

¼ cup water

1/8 tsp salt

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Method:

  1. Make the coating first.  You’ll have enough to use for a couple batches. Sift the icing sugar and cornstarch into a bowl and whisk together.  You want to eliminate any lumps. Set aside.
  2. Spray an 8” X 8” inch pan with no-stick spray. Set aside.
  3. Now bloom your gelatin.  Measure a 1/2 cup cold water into a small bowl and sprinkle the powdered gelatin on top.  Whisk it well and let sit for at least 5 minutes to soften.
  4. Meanwhile for the mallow mixture, measure the sugar, ¼ cup corn syrup, water and salt into a small saucepan.  Set over high heat and bring to a boil until it reaches 240 °F on a candy thermometer.  Stir occasionally.
  5. While the syrup is heating, pour the remaining ¼ cup corn syrup into the bowl of a stand mixer.  Microwave the gelatin for 30 seconds to ensure it’s fully melted and add that to the mixer bowl.  With the whisk attachment on set the mixer to low and keep it running.

TIP: Don’t forget to keep checking your syrup—make sure your thermometer doesn’t touch the bottom of the pan when testing the temperature.   And remember that boiling syrup is extremely hot so take care to keep it from splattering. 

  1. Once the temperature hits 240 °F slowly pour the sugar mixture into the mixing bowl.  Increase the speed to medium and beat 5 minutes.  Then increase speed to medium-high and beat another 5 minutes.  Finally, pause to add the vanilla and beat for 1-2 minutes on the highest speed until white and thickening.
  2. The marshmallow mixture will be very fluffy-about triple the volume and will now start to set very quickly.  Pour into the greased 8 x 8 dish and smooth with an offset or spatula.
  3. Sprinkle the top generously with the marshmallow coating and let the marshmallow set in a cool, dry place for 6 hours before cutting.
  4. Once set, run a knife around the edge of the dish and flip the mellow slab onto a surface dusted with the marshmallow coating.

10. Now just slice the marshmallows into cubes (or cut using scissors or cookie cutters sprayed with non-stick spray).

11. Toss them in the coating to cover all the sticky sides and serve.

12. Store in a dry cool place and just redust the marshmallows if they get a little moist.

VARIATION: You can also coat your marshmallows with finely ground nuts like pistachio, shredded coconut or graham crumbs.

COLOUR:  Drop in a bit of food colouring just before you beat the marshmallow for the final 2 minutes.

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