What is PongkyParty? Well it comes out of the PongkyPlate that I picked up in Chinatown in Toronto when Ethan and I met Melissa who was in town for a conference, for dinner. Ethan and I did a little prop shopping in Chinatown before dinner and decided to bring Melissa the most ridiculous prop we could find. Well, there were many, many ridiculous props, but we kept finding ourselves back at the stack of pink plastic Pongky plates. So we bought one each and decided to use it for inspiration for a blog post at some point in the future.
Well that was two months ago and we have finally all found our inspiration. So, today, I present my PongkyPartyPost, inspired by the PongkyPlate.
The Pongky colours drove my thought process. For me, a dish inspired by this plate had to be sweet. Crazy pinks and sweet? I couldn’t get past the idea of making my own marshmallows, something I have been meaning to do for a while. I had bookmarked Jun Belen’s recipe a few months ago and decided to change it up only in that I would be using ridiculous fluorescent colours that I had found whilst cleaning out the pantry instead of Jun’s beautiful natural beet red coloured powder. There are very few foods I would use fluorescent pink colour in but marshmallows seemed an appropriate and natural home.
Jun’s post makes making marshmallows look so easy. I imagined it would be a breeze. Unfortunately, apparently I am not so gifted when it comes to making candies (though I *did* actually do a class last week in Paris called Les Secrets des Confiseries where hopefully I retained some of said secrets – and amusingly, we made marshmallows!) because I got in the biggest mess.
I halved the recipe but apart from that and the colour change, I followed it to a “T”. I felt that beating the mixture for as long as it was recommended was way too long and instead of pouring the mixture into a pan, I found myself fighting with great masses of marshmallow blob. The colour was impossible to blend into the gooey mess but I did my best. Was the PongkyDream about to be shattered? I set the pan aside and crossed my fingers that it would still be ok.
When the time came to remove the mallow from the pan and cut the marshmallows into nice neat squares, well, shall we just say that there was nothing neat or square about it. At all. Check out my hands…
What I ended up doing was literally pulling the mixture out of the pan, cutting it into long-ish lengths and rolling it to better incorporate the colour. Then cutting it with scissors to make bite-sized pieces. There are no photos of this process since 1. It wasn’t so much a process but a great big mess and 2. Who wants to see process photos of a failed attempt at something?
In the end, though, I feel I achieved Pongky-dom with my ridiculous sweets….
The colours weren’t as neat as I would have liked but I am actually pretty happy with them, considering they are, in fact, a failed attempt. And they tasted divine. Like a marshmallow is supposed to taste. Yes, it always surprises me when things turn out properly. And since the taste and “mouth feel” (I HATE that term but can’t think of anything better) were both spot on, who cares if they’re a little ugly?
If you want to make your own marshmallows at home and make less of a mess, you can try Jun’s recipe. Perhaps making the whole quantity is the trick to getting the timing right. David Lebovitz also posted a fabulous “how-to” on making marshmallows recently with detailed notes and photos of each stage. Note that neither Jun or David show a messy kitchen. Clearly they are way ahead of me in the marshmallow-making game! In any case, it was fun and I will definitely be doing this again. I won’t let a marshmallow get the better of me!
Don’t forget to check out what Ethan and Melissa brought to the Party!
Keep up with me this summer in London, Paris, Alsace and Burgundy through my Summer 2011 Flickr set.