RSS Feed

Posts Tagged ‘ganache’

  1. Blackberry Macarons

    March 14, 2012 by Tali

    3 weeks into my 4 week 100% Primal challenge, and I’ve found myself baking a batch of macarons…

    Don’t worry though people! I’m keeping on track – rather impressively in fact! Considering my weekend was spent on a hen/bachelorette weekend, where pretty much all food on offer was processed, coated in breadcrumbs and/or involved some form of bread or pastry.

    I managed to control any urge to eat anything I shouldn’t have, and I took along some primal snack items including my onion crackers and some primal chocolate chip cookies which I had been experimenting with a couple of days before.

    I know, I know – I probably shouldn’t have eaten treats such as cookies during a pure challenge, but I anticipated the junk food and thought its probably better to have primal snacks to nibble at, rather than eat what was on offer. I was pretty pleased with my efforts – except I did get back on Sunday evening feeling like I needed to eat as much as possible to make up for being deprived. Thankfully it was all primal approved fodder!

    I did however drink a crazy amounts of wine :S


    Well… it’s full of antioxidants right?!

    Now, “why on earth am I making macarons during this challenge?” you ask. “You have but a mere 5 days until your challenge is up!”


    I’ll tell you why!

    Yesterday evening I attended a book launch. (HA! I love how that makes me sound all important, like I rub shoulders with stars of the literary world! I suppose in such circumstances, I did)

    Mo’s Aunt Miriam is launching Illegal the second book in her cycle of three novels set on Hayling Island, Hampshire, UK.

    I was asked to make a tasty treat for the exclusive family-only after party – and I was very quick to accept the challenge, and immediately jumped at the chance to make some more macs! After my last batch of salted butter popcorn macarons, I was back with the mac buzz, and raring to go!

    My only concern was what flavour to make them!

    I knew that a lot of the audience might not have appreciated the wacky flavour combinations of Adriano Zumbo, so I tried to think up a more tame choice. I got Mo to help me out, and with blackberries being one of his favourite fruits, and them being on offer at the supermarket, I decided to tackle the mighty blackberry.

    I turned to the master of macs, Pierre Herme and my go-to book when making macarons. I searched through the entire book, and there was NO sign of blackberry anywhere, so I moved on to my SIX other macaron dedicated books, which also showed no sign of a  blackberry inspired recipe.

    Of course, I could have worked up some kind of simple blackberry buttercream… but I don’t work like that. I wanted to create something AWESOME!

    I went back to Monsieur Herme’s Macarons and decided to adapt his recipe for blackcurrent macarons. I mean, they’re both a type of berry!

    The recipe was decided upon, I was to make a blackberry ganache in the same way M. Herme makes his blackcurrent ganache, and macerate the blackberries in much the same way he macerates his blackcurrents. SORTED!

    Blackberry Macarons
    Adapted from Pierre Herme’s Macarons Cassis

    Makes: 50 generous sized Macarons (72 regular)  Takes: Long times

    Ingredients for the macerated blackberries:
    200g blackberries (the smaller the better)
    200g water
    100g caster sugar

    • start by making your macerated blackberries the day before
    • place water and sugar in a small-medium saucepan, bring to the boil.
    • once boiling, add your blackberries and wait until the water just starts to come back to a boil, remove pan from heat and transfer to a bowl. Leave to cool, then cover and refridgerate until needed. (preferably overnight)

    Ingredients for the ganache:
    450g blackberries
    400g white chocolate

    • next, make your ganache.
    • Puree your blackberries, and then pass the puree through a fine sieve to remove all the seeds and tough pulp
    • place the puree into a small saucepan
    • transfer the white chocolate to a bain marie
    • while the chocolate is gently melting, slowly heat your blackberry puree
    • stir your chocolate constantly and once is has all melted, remove from heat and pour in your warm puree 1/3 at a time. stirring well between each addition
    • once the ganache has come together, pour into a dish and cover the surface with clingfilm/plastic wrap
    • place ganache in the fridge to cool and set

    Ingredients for the macarons:
    300g ground almonds
    300g icing sugar
    300g caster sugar
    75g water
    220g egg whites
    red gel food colouring
    blue gel food colouring

    • prepare your baking trays with parchment paper or silicone mats
    • sift the ground almonds and icing sugar to remove the coarse pieces of almond
    • in the bowl of your mixer with whisk attachment weigh out 110g of egg whites
    • place the remaining 110g with your almond/icing sugar mix
    • place water and caster sugar into a small saucepan, and start to heat it up – placing a thermometer in the pan
    • while the sugar is heating up, combine the egg whites with the almond and icing sugar into a paste
    • at this point add colouring. Blackberries aren’t actually black, so you’ll want to bring your mix to a purple. be sure to make the shade extra intense, once you add the meringue the colour will dilute, a lot
    • once your sugar syrup has reached 115C/239F turn your mixer on high speed to begin whipping up your egg whites.
    • when the temperature reaches between 118-121C/224-249F carefully take the pan of boiling sugar over the the mixer
    • turn the speed down to very low and gently pour the boiling sugar down the side of the bowl
    • once all of the sugar has been poured in, increase the mixer speed back up  to maximum, and let the meringue whip until it has dropped in temperature
    • fold meringue into the almond mix 1/3 at a time, being sure to break up the paste-like mixture. once all the meringue has been added, you can start to work the mix to the correct consistency.
    • fold, and work the mix so that that it changes to a lava-like consistency. A good way to test this is to allow the mix to ribbon, then wait a few seconds and the definition of the lines should disappear
    • transfer the mix to a piping bag fitted with a 6mm round nozzle
    • pipe uniformly sized rounds of mix onto your ready-lined trays
    • once piped, turn your oven on to 140C/280F
    • the macarons will need to be left to dry out for about 30mins to an hour – once the oven has warmed up, and the macarons have formed skins, and are no longer tacky to the touch, you can place your first few trays in the oven to bake.
    • they should take 12-14mins to bake, check regularly, and maybe turn them about 8mins into the cooking time
    • to check if they are done, the top of the macaron shouldn’t wobble very much
    • when out the oven, remove paper/silicone mat off tray and leave on a counter-top to cool down
    • once cool, pair up the macarons ready to fill them
    • drain the macerated blackberries and lay them out on paper-towel to dry off, if they are large, cut them in half
    • place a small blackberry or half a blackberry onto the centre of a macaron half,
    • tranfer the ganache into a piping bag, pipe your ganache neatly around the berry
    • place the macaron top over the filling, and pack away into an airtight container and place in the  fridge
    • allow macarons around 2 hours to come up to room temperature for an optimum indulgent experience
    • eat and enjoy!

    [I used fresh blackberries, but you can use frozen, just remember to allow time for them to defrost]

    Phew! As always – A LOT of work and time – but totally satisfying!

    The hardest part for me was not being able to taste them – I’ve stashed some away in the freezer so I can have a binge taste on Sunday – my cheat day! Woohoo!

    Mo, the official taster, gave his verdict – it was positive. Everyone else who tried one last night seemed to enjoy them – I noticed some people even went back for thirds and fourths!

    I, however, will have to verify their success on Sunday!

    If you yourself are interested in making a batch of macarons and are new to the skill, I found Mad about Macarons by Jill Colonna to be a really helpful starter guide to making macarons. Pierre Herme’s Macarons is also an excellent book (even despite the few translation errors) for anyone who is a macaron fan – this is THE book to own – even if its just to gawk at the pictures!

  2. Primal Chocolate Ganache Tart

    February 8, 2012 by Tali

    Oh the excitement! February the 14th is drawing ever nearer!


    Can you feel it? All that love in the air! The romance?  – No, neither can I!

    I’ve never been a massive Valentine’s day fan. It’s just a way for card companies, chocolatiers and florists to make money! right?!

    I think (as most girls do – however unconventional they are) that it would be nice if that special someone made some kind of gesture on St Valentines’s day [even if we do say we’re not into it].

    Yes, I think we are probably testing you!

    I don’t expect diamonds (though I would never decline!) but maybe cook us a nice meal? Take us out, plan a random surprise, it doesn’t have to cost much, or anything at all. Just… make us feel like you haven’t completely forgotten about us.

    Asking to be acknowledged romantically is not very lady-like!

    Oh, and a set of gym weights is NOT an acceptable Valentine’s day gift!

    I honestly never meant for this post to turn into a rant so I shall move on!

    I had been meaning to make Mo a chocolate tart for quite some time.

    It was after seeing some in the window of La Maison du Chocolat in Paris, about a year and a half ago (just a day before he proposed to me). See! Keeping it all romantic and stuff!

    Now, I’m pretty sure the tarts we saw in the window were baked chocolate tarts having referred to the photo above, I see that the ones from La Maison du Chocolat, are indeed ganache tarts, which involve very careful baking in the oven makes this whole process so much easier for me to pull off!

    My reason for choosing a ganache tart is not out of laziness. In fact, I plan to one day find/discover/invent a recipe for paleo/primal baked chocolate tart. For the purpose of keeping the number of ingredients to a minimum and to avoid adding sweeter, I decided to make Mo a primal friendly dark chocolate ganache tart!

    For Christmas, Mo’s mom made some primal pumpkin pie (we had a Thanksgiving meal for Christmas). The recipe she used was from Mark’s Daily Apple. In the post Mark mentions that the crust can be used for any number of pies and tarts, and so I was very keen to attempt to make his walnut pie crust, as a tart shell, and make some primal appropriate chocolate ganache to fill it!

    The crust is simple to make, as is the ganache. So I really had no excuse to hold out on Mo any longer!

    Primal Chocolate Ganache Tart

    Makes: 6 x 10cm tartlets   Time: 30-40mins

    280g Walnuts
    30g Unsalted Butter
    1 tsp Baking Soda
    1/4 tsp Salt

    300g Dark Chocolate (I used 72%)
    165ml Double Cream

    • Pre-heat oven to 175C or 350F
    • Place walnuts into a food processor, and pulse until nuts are ground.
    • add baking soda, salt and cubed butter (Mark suggests melting the butter, but the pastry chef in me was keen on using cold butter) pulse once again until the mixuture is fully combined, and begins to clump together.
    • divide the mixture between 6 10cm (4 inch) tartlet tins and press into the sides and bottom until even and well packed in
    • bake these for 15-20 mins until evenly browned.
    • once the crusts have cooled, make your ganache.
    • chop the chocolate finely, and gently par-melt in the microwave at 50%.
    • gently warm up your cream in a pan, and once the chocolate is melted and the cream is warm, (but not boiling!) Pour cream over chocolate, and gently stir until you have a nice glossy ganache.
    • pour the ganache into the tart shells and let them set in the fridge.
    • when ready to serve, VERY gently remove from the tartlet tins, and serve with some whipped cream and a complementary fruit (the tartness – pun intended! – of the fruit will be a welcome contrast to the rich chocolate).

    WARNING: These tartlets are INCREDIBLY rich! Don’t be surprised if you can only manage a few mouthfuls!

    They are rich, and they are not exactly sweet. So not for the faint hearted, but great for the dark/bitter chocolate lovers out there!

    You could maybe use a slightly less intense chocolate for the ganache, but bear in mind, the higher cocoa content your chocolate has, the better it is for you! Also, chocolates from different origins will have different flavour notes, so use a chocolate you enjoy eating!

    I found the walnut crust to be pleasing, particuarly with the added salt! Mmmm salted chocolate! But walnuts tend to be a little on the bitter side, so next time, I’ll probably try using pecans (possibly a walnut/pecan mix) or maybe hazelnuts (Mmm nutella style!) in a bid to reduce the bitterness.

    I reckon these are the prefect valentines dessert to share with a loved one, and I’m serious when I say share! good luck attempting one of these alone, in one sitting! (I do NOT condone, suggest OR recommend this!)

  3. M&M’s Truffles

    January 31, 2012 by Tali

    Yes… I said it! Truffles and M&M’s in one single delectable form!

    Where does this come from you ask?

    Well, Let me tell you!

    Last weekend was a friend’s birthday. After a little research, I discovered that she was a big fan of both original choco and crispy M&M’s.

    How was I to take humble M&M’s and turn them into something exciting, slightly unusual and totally delicious?

    I began by trying to see what others had done creatively with M&M’s, and most of my research drew me to cakes, brownies, cheesecakes and cookies. I wanted to do something a little different… something special… something unique!

    Now… I guess I had noticed for some time, that there is a definite trend in truffles popping up online, and I suppose that is what triggered the idea of M&M truffles!

    Having a brief that included both original and crispy M&M’s in the mix, I began to imagine, a crispy M&M, surrounded by a rich and creamy milk chocolate ganache, coated in crushed choco M&M’s, with the intention of all the broken up colourful shells to pop brightly against the rich warmth of the chocolate tones.


    I did a little research to see if anyone else had thought up the same idea, and to my surprise there was a complete lack of truffle recipes containing M&M’s!!! I found one single truffle recipe which mentions M&M’s from Busy-at-Home. This though, was nothing like what I had in mind.

    Had I thought up something original?

    Had I stumbled upon the almost-undiscovered?

    (possibly not – someone may have made these and just not blogged about it.)

    I got very excited about these truffles – I wanted to make them instantly. Only, for some reason I found it a little difficult to get hold of M&M’s from my local supermarket. Shameful! I had to go to my 3rd choice store!

    Anyhow! Once I had got my ingredients together I set to work on making these marvelous confections.

    I was using a fairly humble confection as my feature ingredient, yet I still wanted these truffles to be of the highest standard. So, I threw together a ganache using a high quality milk chocolate and luxurious double cream. The truffle element needed to be refined – to allow the M&M’s to be taken to the next level.

    M&M Truffle Recipe

    Makes: 25-30 pieces  Time: 30-35mins

    300g good quality milk chocolate
    150g double cream
    60g crispy M&M’s (2 small bags)
    185g choco M&M’s (large bag)

    • Chop your milk chocolate very finely, a serrated knife works best. Place into a shallow bowl or dish.
    • While preparing your chocolate, start to heat up the cream in a saucepan over a medium to low heat to avoid overheating it and scalding the cream.
    • Once the cream has heated (but not boiling) pour over your chocolate, let it settle for a few seconds, and then gently stir together.
    • When fully combined, cover the surface with cling film, and place in the fridge until firm, or until you are ready to make the truffles (the ganache can be made a day or 2 in advance).
    • Prepare 2 baking trays by placing a sheet of greaseproof paper on each.
    • Place your choco M&M’s in a sealable bag, and using a rolling pin, or another device, evenly crush the M&M’s. be sure to leave some remnants of the colourful sugar shells. Pour some out into a shallow dish or plate.
    • Scrape a heaped teaspoon of the ganache, and warm up gently in your hands (I wore gloves for this process) when slightly softened, take a crispy M&M and place it in the centre, enrobe it in the smooth milk chocolate ganache. Roll into a ball, and place onto one of the baking sheets. Continue to do this until you have used up all of your ganache and/or crispy M&M’s
    • Once you have all the balls ready, they will have firmed up slightly, so you will need to warm them up gently in your hands before coating in the crushed choco M&M’s.
    • Place your coated M&M’s truffles onto your clean, lined tray, and place in the fridge to firm up. Store in fridge.
    • Wrap up for a gift, or eat and ENJOY!

    Making the Truffles

    These should last about a week. However I seriously doubt they would live to see more than 3 days… even if they’re lucky. My left over truffles lasted no more than a day and a half.

    (I feel I must stress they were not all eaten by myself!)

    This recipe could produce more truffles if you chose to make them a lot smaller. The ganache to crispy M&M’s ratio is not exactly 1:1, so if when I make these in the future, I will definitely play around with the size of the truffles! Maybe use a level teaspoon of ganache? If you chose to do this, you will need more crispy M&M’s and possibly more crushed choco M&M’s for coating.

    I should add, that I tried two methods in breaking down the M&M’s for the coating, the first was the obvious – placing the sweets in a zip-sealing bag, and hammering them with a rolling pin or other utensil, the other method I attempted was putting the sweets in a food processor, and pulsing until ready.

    By Hand

    By Machine

    I found that the first method produced better results.

    In my opinion, the machine didn’t process them evenly, so I was left with some pieces which were just too big and mounds that were just too fine for coating the truffles. Therefore I recommend the ‘by hand’ method, making it a lot easier to control AND you get to relieve yourself of some frustration… those poor little M&M’s dudes!

    For their purpose I filled a jar with as many M&M truffles as could fit. I presented these babies to my friend, who very quickly hid them at the back of her fridge for her own personal consumption. I don’t blame her – and neither would you!

    These things are EPIC!

    Therefore there is no real need for the recipient of these delightful gems to share them with anyone. You have my blessing.

    These could quite possibly only be bettered by using pretzel M&M’s in the centre… Or peanut butter M&M’s… Or just plain ol’ peanut!

    Oh WOW!

    Off I go to track some down!