Homemade Quince Marshmallows – Pastila

Quince marshmallows recipe is based on the recipe of a very popular Russian sweets – pastila, which is made traditionally with baked apple puree, sugar syrup with agar-agar and egg white. Compared to commercial and even homemade marshmallows, based on gelatine, it has more finer and delicate texture, a distinct fruit flavour and is more aromatic. I have made apple pastila, and plum pastila, based on sugar and on honey, with sugar recipes published in this blog (here) and honey recipe in ecookingblog (here). The critical issue when selecting fruit puree as an ingredient for agar-agar based marshmallow, is pectin content in it. Quinces, cooked with their skin on, give a thick, pectin rich puree, with and amazing flavour. It was only natural for me to try quinces, which are now in season, to make one of my favourite sweets.

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Pastila texture is more delicate compared to marshmallows, and the process of pastila preparation has several time and effort consuming steps. When pastila is used as a layer in a dessert, some of these steps can be avoided. The most time consuming procedure is gentle rubbing of icing sugar on every surface of each individual piece of pastila.

Quince puree, beaten with sugar and egg white, did not produce the mixture with a very thick and strong texture which is so typical for apple and plum puree. As the result, quince pastila mixture was more runny and did not have the same volume. However, when set, the texture was exactly the same as in apple or plum pastila, may be a touch more fine.

I make quince puree in bulk and use it as pure sweeteners free puree with breakfast or dessert.

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I also make dairy and sugar free chocolate truffles with quince puree, where it replaces some of cacao butter in the recipe (the recipe coming soon in ecookingblog).

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The colour of quince puree may differ depending on the time of cooking. With longer cooking time bright yellow colour changes to peach colour, with more pink overt.

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Ingredients: 

  • 250g cooked quince puree (1 large quince, cored and diced with skin on)
  • 240g sugar
  • 10g vanilla sugar
  • 10-12g egg white
  • icing sugar for surface coating (gluten free)

separately

  • 5g agar-agar
  • 160g sugar
  • 60ml water, room temperature

Preparation:

prepare quince pure

  • wash, dry quince, remove all the fluff from the skin, but leave the skin on
  • quarter and core it
  • dice each quarter
  • transfer diced quinces to a pan, add water 1/4 or 1/3 to the volume of diced quinces in the pan
  • cover the pan with lid and cook on medium heat until boiling point
  • reduce the heat to low, place the lid to allow some steam to come out and cook until very little liquid is left on the bottom of the pan, do not allow it to dry out completely
  • strain cooked quince pieces
  • transfer cooked quince to a bowl and blend it into fine puree
  • put puree through the sieve to remove larger hard pieces of quince flesh
  • quince puree can be prepared in advance and stored refrigerated for a week or frozen in portion size to be used later

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pastila preparation

  • line baking tray (30cm x 20cm at least 2cm deep) with baking paper, leaving the paper out at least from 2 longer sides, it will help to get set pastila out of the tray
  • weigh precise amount of egg white and agar-agar, I use jewellery digital scales for that, my regular digital scales are not reliable for amounts less than 10g
  • place agar-agar into a small sauce pan with a spout, cover with water and allow to swell, put aside
  • mix quince puree with 240g of sugar and 10g vanilla sugar in a bowl of a benchtop mixer

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  • beat the mixture on high for 5-6 min, it will become pale and increase in volume

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  • add egg white
  • do not start the mixer again until you prepare sugar syrup with agar-agar
  • stir agar-agar in water, heat in on a low heat until agar-agar dissolves, constantly stirring the solution
  • add 160g sugar and continue cooking on low heat until syrup starts bubbling, cook for 1 min after that

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  • start mixer again and beat quince mixture with sugar and added egg white for another 8 min

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  • reduce the speed for 2 positions
  • heat agar-agar syrup again to have it as runny as possible
  • pour the syrup into a bowl with a mixer running
  • return the speed to high and beat for another 4-5 min
  • pour the mixture into prepared tray, level the surface using palette knife or by gentle tapping of the tray on a benchtop

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  • let the mixture set for minimum 3-4 hours, but it can be done overnight
  • gently rub icing sugar on top

Step by step photos of set pastila treatment with icing sugar can be seen here.

  • turn over the slab of pastila on a surface lined with baking paper and dusted with icing sugar
  • rub icing sugar on the second surface and all edges
  • cut pastila into individual pieces with pizza rolling knife or any other type of knife with a very thin blade
  • each side, exposed by the cut, has to be dipped in icing sugar
  • gentle rubbing makes the surface dry and allows to form the crust
  • place individual pieces of pastila on a wire rack and allow the crust to dry out, preferably for 10-12 hours, faster in a dry and hot environment
  • store pastila in a container at room temperature, where each layer is separated by baking paper

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