Airy, soft, fruity, aromatic and very tasty is the apple zephyr. Here I’ll show you how to make the popular Russian seafoam candy yourself with just four ingredients. It tastes delicious with a cup of unsweetened tea for dessert after a meal, is ideal for snacking between meals or even as a gift. You can find a detailed zefir recipe with exact quantities and step-by-step instructions right below.
What is zefir?
Zefir or zephyr is a Russian seafoam candy that became very popular during the Soviet era. It is made with fruit puree – usually apple puree –, sugar, egg white and a gelling agent – mainly agar agar.
Externally, zefir is similar to a meringue. However, in terms of consistency, it is soft and elastic. It also has a fruity taste.
You can buy ready-made zephyr locally in Russian stores, or online.
The main ingredient of zephyr – high pectin apple puree
Its typical consistency is also given to zephyr by pectin – natural, vegetable gelling agent, which is found, among other things, in all fruits. However, there are pectin-rich fruits and low-pectin fruits. For example, apples – especially sour, underripe apples – are high in pectin. Because of this, zefir is usually made with apples.
Also here in the recipe, I show you how to make apple zephyr yourself. Take for it apples, which taste sour and are not yet completely ripe. This is the best way to make the Russian seafoam candy.
If you do want to make your zefir with sweet or ripe apples, you should boil down the apple puree with sugar really well so that the excess liquid evaporates and you get a firm apple jam after cooling.
Alternatively, you can cook the apple jam with some pectin powder. To do this, mix the sugar thoroughly with the pectin powder, then add the apple puree and cook for a few minutes. For the recipe below, you need about 2 – 3 g of pectin powder for 150 g of apple puree. Be sure to follow the instructions for the pectin.
If you want to use other fruits, which are low in pectin, instead of apples for the zefir recipe, I recommend to mix your fruit puree 1:1 with apple puree.
Use fresh high gel strength agar agar
In addition to pectin, agar agar provides the right consistency of zefir, namely its elasticity, stability and firmness. Therefore, use fresh agar agar of good quality, preferably bought recently, for the recipe.
Very important is the gel strength of agar agar. To make your zephyr firm, you need agar agar with gel strength 900. Unfortunately, hardly any manufacturer in Germany specifies the strength of their gelling agent. You can look for agar agar with gel strength 900 in organic or health food stores.
If you can’t find it anywhere, you can try to make zephyr with a larger amount of agar agar. In this case, succeed by experimenting. It will probably take you several tries to figure out what amount of agar agar will make your zefir firm.
Replace agar agar
In this recipe, you must not substitute agar agar for gelatin or any other gelling agent. Although there are zefir recipes with gelatin, the procedure and method of preparation are completely different in such recipes. So, if you want to make the Russian seafoam candy with gelatin, you should find a recipe suitable for it.
Reduce the amount of sugar
Zefir tastes slightly fruity, but also quite sweet. It’s quite normal, after all, this is a seafoam candy. The sugar provides the stability and firmness of zephyr.
Of course, you can experiment and try using less sugar in the recipe. But I recommend you not to reduce the amount too much, otherwise your zefir will not get its typical consistency after drying.
What tools do I need for making zefir?
For the making zephyr you need above all a kitchen thermometer. This is because the temperature to which the sugar syrup for the Russian seafoam candy must be boiled is very important. Without such a thermometer, it will be difficult to achieve the right consistency of the syrup.
It is essential to boil the sugar syrup in a thick-bottomed saucepan so that it doesn’t burn. For the recipe below, you’ll need a small saucepan with a high rim so that the syrup doesn’t melt too thinly on the bottom of the saucepan and you can easily measure its temperature.
Also helpful is a food processor if you’re making zephyr yourself. This way it can whip the apple jam with the egg whites while you cook the sugar syrup in parallel. But it also works with an ordinary hand mixer. In this case, just whip the apple and egg white mixture until stiff first, then set aside until the syrup is ready.
To form the Russian seafoam candy, you’ll need a piping bag with a star nozzle. This will give your zefir its classic look.
For snacking or giving as a gift
Those with a sweet tooth who love marshmallows with a fruity taste are sure to love apple zephyr. It also tastes delicious with unsweetened tea as an after-dinner dessert.
Beautifully packaged, zephyr also makes a lovely homemade gift from the kitchen. You can give it as a gift for Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day, among others.
This apple zephyr is
easy to make with four ingredients,
much better than those from the supermarket,
ideal for snacking, dessert with tea, coffee or as a gift,
popular sweet of Russian cuisine.
Zefir recipe with apples
If you pay attention to all details, you will get a delicious homemade zefir with its typical consistency and taste. You will need only four ingredients for the recipe. You can find the exact quantities and step-by-step instructions for making Russian apple zephyr yourself in the recipe box below.
cold egg white,
for the apple jam: apple puree and sugar,
for the sugar syrup: water, sugar, agar agar.
For dusting you need some powdered sugar.
How to make apple zephyr: here’s how (Check out the detailed recipe below.)
How to make the apple puree, you can see directly in the recipe below. Then boil the homemade apple puree with sugar and refrigerate the jam for at least a few hours, but better overnight.
Then whip the apple jam with egg white until stiff. At the same time, simmer the syrup of water, sugar and agar agar until it reaches 110 °C. Now add the sugar syrup in a thin stream to the apple and egg white mixture and whip again until stiff.
Now make rosettes or circles of the mixture on baking paper and let them dry at room temperature for about 12 hours. Then glue two rosettes or circles together on the underside and roll each zefir in powdered sugar. Done!
How to make apple zephyr: with these tips and tricks you’ll succeed
For the zefir recipe, use sour, underripe apples that are rich in pectin. Alternatively, you can cook the apple jam longer so that the excess liquid evaporates, or make the jam with some pectin powder. (Read the detailed notes on that here above.) After cooling, the apple jam needs to firm up. Only with a firm apple jam will the zefir also get the desired consistency after drying.
Use good quality fresh high gel strength agar agar (900 if possible). If your zephyr did not firm up after drying, you can try using a larger amount of agar agar next time.
I recommend that you do not reduce the amount of sugar in the recipe, because the consistency of the zephyr depends on it.
When you separate egg whites from yolks, make sure that no bit of yolk ends up in the egg whites. Also, both the mixing bowl and the whisk in which and with which the apple jam and egg white mixture is whipped must be clean (definitely not greasy) and dry.
The apple jam and egg whites must be cold before whipping.
Boil the sugar syrup in a thick-bottomed saucepan so that it does not burn.
The necessary temperature of the sugar syrup is very important. The strength of the zefir depends on it. It is best to use a kitchen thermometer to measure it.
Whip the apple jam and egg white mixture until very stiff before adding the sugar syrup.
Add the sugar syrup very slowly, in a thin stream, and never too quickly to the apple and egg white mixture.
Depending on the room temperature and humidity, your zefir may take about 12 – 48 hours to dry until it becomes stable from the inside as well.
Store the apple zephyr in an airtight container at room temperature for up to about 1 week.
Have you made apple zephyr yourself using this recipe? I’m looking forward to your results, your star rating and your comment here below on how you liked and succeeded in making the Russian seafoam candy.
Airy, soft, fruity, aromatic and very tasty is the apple zephyr. According to this recipe, you can make the popular Russian seafoam candy yourself with just four ingredients. It tastes delicious with a cup of unsweetened tea for dessert after a meal, is ideal for snacking between meals or even as a gift.
Core apples and cut them in half. Spread them with the cut side down on a baking tray lined with baking paper and bake them in a preheated oven at 180 °C top and bottom heat for about 25 minutes until they become very soft.
Puree the baked apples with a hand blender and then pass them through a fine sieve so that you get a fine apple puree.
Making the apple jam
Weigh 150 g of apple puree and put it in a saucepan. Add sugar, bring to a boil while stirring, then simmer for 2-3 minutes or longer if your apple puree was too runny. (Be sure to follow my notes here above for this).
Transfer the apple jam to a clean screw-top jar, let it cool at room temperature first, and then put it in the fridge for at least 2 hours or preferably overnight.
Making the zefir
Put the apple jam and egg white in a mixing bowl and whip until very stiff, starting at a low speed of the food processor and gradually increasing it to maximum.
Cook the sugar syrup in parallel. (If you use a hand mixer, first beat the apple and egg white mixture until stiff and then cook the sugar syrup). To do this, place the sugar, agar-agar, and water in a small saucepan with high sides and a thick bottom, bring to a boil while stirring constantly, and then simmer over low heat, stirring, until the sugar syrup reaches 110°C.
Once the sugar syrup has reached the required temperature, slowly add it in a thin stream to the stiffly whipped apple and egg white mixture, without stopping to continue beating it. Then whip the mixture again for about 3 - 5 minutes until very stiff.
Fill the zefir mixture into the piping bag with the star nozzle, pipe rosettes of it on a sheet of baking paper (I made each rosette in two layers.) and let them dry at room temperature for about 12 hours, until the zefir becomes firm on the outside and inside.
Take two rosettes at a time and glue them together with the underside, which should be a little sticky. Roll the finished zefir in powdered sugar, shaking off the excess powdered sugar.
Use sour, underripe apples. Alternatively, cook the apple jam longer to evaporate the excess liquid, or prepare the jam with some pectin powder. Once cooled, the apple jam needs to set. (Follow my notes for this here above).
Use good quality fresh high gel strength agar agar (900 if possible). If the zephyr has not set after drying, you can try using a larger amount of agar agar next time.
Apple jam and egg white must be cold before whipping.
The necessary temperature of the sugar syrup is very important. The firmness of the zefir depends on it. It is best to use a kitchen thermometer to measure it.
Whip the apple jam and egg white mixture until very stiff before adding the sugar syrup.
Depending on the room temperature and humidity, the zephyr may take about 12 - 48 hours to dry until it becomes stable from the inside as well.
Note the detailed tips and tricks for making the apple zephyr at the top of the post.