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Posts Tagged ‘macarons’

  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. Salted Butter Popcorn Macarons

    February 10, 2012 by Tali

    Five posts in, and not a single sign of a macaron – I thought for post number six it was about time I got a recipe in.

    I had intended on keeping things fairly healthy from now on… wedding is in just 6 months!

    I then considered how ‘healthy’ my previous primal chocolate tart post was, and then considered how strange it is to have a blog named Macnifique with no actual macarons in sight.

    So, to make myself feel better, and to allow you guys the pleasure, here you are!

    I did have to consider which route to go down with these macs. Pierre Herme really is the master, and working from one of his recipes is an obvious (but incredibly good) choice.

    Instead I decided to go crazy, down the Adriano Zumbo route with these. Making use of one of the many books I received for my birthday!

    For those of you who’ve never heard of Zumbo, and are thinking: What does some kinda fitness regime have to do with macarons!?, then this is for you:

    Adriano Zumbo is an incredibly creative, talented and very well respected Australian pastry chef. His macarons are renowned for being unusual, colourful, involving some wacky flavour combinations, and being totally delicious!

    His Patisserie holds a ‘Zumberon day’ every year, selling ONLY macarons for that one single day – with an average total of around 65 different flavours! Now that is a reason to visit Oz in itself!

    [Note to self: Find out when the next Zumberon day is!]

    His book, Zumbo was on my wishlist for quite some time, and very generously my soon-to-be in-laws bought me a copy for my birthday! It was the first present I opened on my birthday, and I spent a good 25-30mins looking through the book before opening any other presents! This is impressive! Believe me!

    This book doesn’t only contain macaron recipes, there is an abundance of quirky and wacky desserts, pastries, chocolates and cakes – which I fully intend on attacking in the not too distant future, but for now, I had to pick one recipe – one macaron recipe to be precise.

    I decided on the ‘salted butter popcorn’ macarons because:
    a) who doesn’t love a sweet and salty combo
    b) It was fun and quirky and the idea of crushed popcorn on the outer-shell just excited me for some reason AND…
    c) It didn’t require me buying/searching for too many weird and wonderful ingredients. (I’m on a budget here folks!)

    So, I attacked the recipe head-on.

    I feel I should stress just how enjoyable it was to make macarons again, stirring in every ounce of love I feel for them!

    I spent a few months last year churning out batches of macs and it just turned from a labour of love, into well… something I no-longer enjoyed.

    I think the break from mac’ baking allowed me to fall back in love with them, reminding me both how delicious they are, and how enjoyable the art of making them is. So, I can assure you there will be plenty more macarons appearing on here!

    I used the Zumbo recipe in its entirety, and followed all of his instructions – I think because it felt like so long since I’d made macs, I wanted to be 100% sure I was doing it right. It paid off, because they came out beautifully. The only thing I need to work on is piping them out more uniformly. I still tend to get a few 3 and 5cm macs but a fair average of around 4cm, which works out nicely, just not good enough for the obsessive, compulsive perfectionist in me!

    Salted Butter Popcorn Macarons
    by Adriano Zumbo from Zumbo

    Makes: 50    Time: a few hours – this is an art people!

    For the macaron shells:
    300g ground almonds
    300g icing sugar
    110g egg whites (at room temp)
    300g caster sugar
    75g water
    2g dried egg white powder
    110g egg whites (at room temp)

    • combine your ground almonds and icing sugar, work through a fine sieve, removing all the large pieces of almond
    • place one measure of egg whites into the bowl of your stand mixer, with whisk attachment and the caster sugar and water into a pan over low heat.
    • once the sugar has dissolved, turn the heat up. once the syrup reaches around 100C/210F throw the egg white powder into the mixer bowl, and beat egg whites until frothy by the time they have reached this stage, your sugar syrup should have reached 118C/244F 
    • turn your mixer onto high, and slowly pour the boiling sugar in a steady stream down the side of the bowl, avoiding the syrup directly hitting the whisk.
    • let the meringue continue on high speed until the mixture has cooled down – about 8 mins,
    • take your second measure of egg whites, and add it to your almond and icing sugar and combine
    • add your meringue to the almond mix in three stages, and work your mixture until it loosens up enough to slowly drip from your spatula (this is the tricky part, you don’t want to over work the mix, but if you under-work it, you’ll end up with lumps and bumps on your macs… no good!) This is just one of those techniques which you need to get a feel for
    • transfer the mix to a piping bag fitted with a 13mm plain round nozzle
    • pipe mixture onto lined baking sheets (I prefer to use silicone/coated mats)
    • pipe 4cm rounds, leaving room for spreading, and once the whole tray is piped, sharply hit the tray on the table to let he mix spread and level-out
    • leave the piped mix to form a crust for about 30mins. While waiting pre-heat oven to 135C/275F
    • when ready, bake for 16mins, turning the trays around after 10mins
    • leave the shells to cool before removing from the sheets, and pairing them up in prep for the popcorn and the filling!

    For decorating the macarons:
    1 bag microwavable popcorn plain or butter flavoured (I went for buttered)

    Melted, unsalted butter (I ended up using about 50g)

    • cook popcorn according to instructions, place about half into a food processor and process until desired size
    • brush cooled, melted butter onto the tops of each macaron shell, and dip into the popcorn crumbs, leave to set in fridge.

    Salted Buttercream
    100g caster sugar

    38g water
    75g lightly beaten whole egg
    45g egg yolk
    200g unsalted butter, cubed and softened
    3g sea salt flakes (I used Maldon)

    • place caster sugar and water into a pan, heat on low until sugar has dissolved. turn up to high and heat up to 121C/250F
    • place egg and yolks into your stand mixer with whisk attachment, and mix at medium speed for 2mins
    • when sugar is at 121C, pour gently down the side of the mixer bowl, and whisk mixture on high speed until the temp drops to around 50C/122F
    • while still mixing, slowly add cubes of butter, one at a time, and mix further until you are sure the lumps of butter have completely worked through the butter cream. Fold in the sea salt
    • transfer to a piping bag with a 9mm nozzle, and pipe buttercream onto half of shells, then gently stick the other half of the shells on top. Place assembled macs onto a tray and leave to set in the fridge
    • Bring to room temp, serve and devour!

    Yeah… LONG recipe! One which I thoroughly enjoyed working through.

    This really is one for the dedicated!

    Let me tell you one thing. These macarons are YUM!! A perfect sweet/salty combination that balances fun factor with refinement.

    Who knew popcorn could be so classy?

    As you can see above, I decided to play around a little with the macs, leaving a few shells bare and coating the edges of the buttercream filling in the popcorn crumbs 🙂