I’m going to make this a quick one, if I can. Not feeling too well lately cause of the stupid weather and the haze. Plus all the packing-stuffs-in-boxes is draining all my energy. LOL I’m not even halfway there in packing all these stuffs. Bah I shall not bore you with nonsensical details of my ‘moving-house’ month.
And the main reason I’m posting this up SO FAST (with my usual speed, it will end up somewhere in November) is cause Wendy wanted to make them (cause I managed to convert her. The last macaron she ate was so sweet till the roots of her teeth *being a little dramatic* and I kinda know where the last macaron she ate came from…. so, to know that I managed to change someone’s mind about something, it’s pretty AWESOME!) I bought these to a gathering with the bloggers some few weekends ago, the response was good.Just a hint, after all the moving-house thingamajig, I’ll be putting up a menu for macaron orders! Just bear with me for one more month 😉
(It really doesn’t look like it’s going to be a short post after all)
Anyway, as if you have notice in my entire blog-glossary, I haven’t made much macaron at all. Reason? Because it has not been working very well!! *angry face* It’s either too sweet, or too much air pocket, feet too short, uneven rising, stuck on the paper, oily crust, cracks, well just you name it. And you know, the myth is that macaron is a very temperamental little devil. But omg, it is like my BEST FRIEND now! *trying not to jinx it but I so love making macarons now* I have a whole page of flavours listed to try out. If you follow me on twitter (@sweesan), you would have known what flavours I’ve been experimenting with these days.
After few batches of the same recipe but different ingredients, I can say that
1. Fresh or aged egg whites, it doesn’t matter. Just have to be grease-free
2. There is no need to rest your tray of piped macarons for 1 hour prior to baking. (Let’s be honest, commercial kitchens don’t have the luxury of time) My first tray that went in was only 2 mins of waiting time. Subsequent trays were at 15 and 30, cause I have insufficient oven space)
3. It is absolutely crucial to get your mise en place right. Make sure you get your ingredients measured and tools ready before even turning on the mixer. But that’s just Kitchen 101.
4. You must really know your oven. I have a 20+ years old oven and I’m 26. Each oven works differently and only you can find out yourself on how your oven works on different bakes.
5. Maturing macaron is so important, the flavour tastes so much better.
6. Italian meringue method works fantastically well for me (and my oven) If you prefer the French Method, do check out BraveTart‘s post.
7. You should monitor your own baking time, it could be 14 mins for me, but might be 12 for you. So, back to no.4
8. Yes you still need to sift almond meal and icing sugar, once is enough.
9. Sugar ratio is rather important in keeping the entire structure, so add salt if you need to reduce sweetness instead.
10. Never bake with a stressed mind.
But well you can disagree or not believe me, after all, I’m not the master of macaron. LOL If the recipe and method works well for me, I’m happy. It’s up to you to find out what works for your oven, your mixer and you. This is just a rough guideline on what works for me. If it works for you too, then I’m happy too! I am however still working on to get an even thinner crust just so it cuts perfectly.
I had merely wanted to make the macaron as a decoration for an entremet I was working on. And while browsing for PH’s recipe, I found it in Kitchen Musings blog. So I tried, and oh it came out pretty nice, just a little air pocket in some of the shells. So I got a little too excited and made different flavours, which is why you are seeing 2 types of macaron shells here. the pink is a normal almond macaron shell, the other one has earl grey. Same recipe, just slightly different folding technique and some earl grey tea.
The basic recipe was adapted from Kitchen Musings and Pierre Herme. Combination of Earl Grey and Blueberry was from my flavour dictionary; my head.
Earl Grey Macaron with Blueberry Compote Buttercream
(Makes abt 45 macarons, 90-95 shells)
Earl Grey Macaron
200g Almond meal
200g icing sugar
2 sachets earl grey tea (I used to but I think it can take up to 4 sachets) (omit this if you want to make plain shells)
75g fresh egg whites (about 2 egg whites)
pinch of salt
200g caster sugar
75g aged egg whites (about 2 egg whites)
1.5g egg white powder
1. Sift almond meal, icing sugar and earl grey tea leaves in a wide bowl. Add in the egg white and salt and mix well. Do this only when you’re ready to cook the sugar, otherwise it gets hard. (Picture 1st row, left & right)
2. In a medium sized pot, pour in caster sugar and water. Bring to a boil and to 118 C. Which means that yes you need a candy thermometer. When the sugar syrup reaches 110 C, in a mixing bowl, whisk egg whites and egg white powder (I’ve tried without it, it’s alright) It should be somewhat medium peaks when the sugar syrup reaches 118 C.
3. While the mixer is still whisking (about medium speed), gradually pour in the sugar syrup. (To wash the pot, add in water and bring to a boil, it’s easier to wash) Then turn up the speed of the mixer for about 2 minutes till it turns glossy. Reduce the speed to medium and let it whisk till it’s stiffer. It should be somewhat stiff, but not so stiff. (Picture on row 3, left)
4. Now, add in 1/4 of the meringue into the almond mixture from step no.1. Whack it till it’s well incorporated. At this first step, I usually literally do it un-TLC-ly just to get some air out from the meringue and to lighten the almond mix.
5. With the remaining 3/4 of meringue, add into the almond mix and fold it in. This time, a little more TLC until it becomes lava like.
6. I’m using a 10mm nozzle. Fit into a piping bag and scoop the batter into the bag. Pipe onto a tray lined with parchment paper or silpat. Lightly tap the tray on a table top. Let it rest for about 5 minutes then bake at 150 C for 14 minutes.
7. When it’s cooked, remove from the oven and let it cool on a rack. Once it’s completely cool, it should be able to peel off easily.
8. Pair the right sizes and arrange them on a tray. If the macarons turn out right for you, then proceed to make the filling.
Blueberry Compote Italian Buttercream
(fills 50 macarons)
1 tbsp caster sugar
lemon juice (to taste)
36g egg white (1 egg white)
70g caster sugar
pinch of salt
1. Place blueberries, sugar and a squeeze of lemon juice into a pot. Let it cook for 2-3 minutes. Taste. Let it cool.
2. To make the Italian Buttercream, first cut butter into knob sizes and let it chill in the fridge until ready to use.
3. In a pot, add in caster sugar and water. Bring to a temperature of 118 C. When the temperature reaches 110 C, whisk the egg whites in a mixer. By the time the sugar reaches 118 C, the egg white should be in medium peaks. Gradually stream in the sugar syrup while the mixer is still on medium speed whisk.
4. Whisk till it’s somewhat glossy and that the bowl is not so hot, remove the butter from fridge. Add in a knob into the mixer (while the whisk is still running) one at a time. If you add the butter when the meringue is still very hot, it turns soupy. If you add int he butter when the meringue is cold, you get a split buttercream. After all the butter has been added, whisk for another further 2-3 minutes. If it’s still warm, chill in the fridge for 5 minutes before you whisk it up again.
5. The buttercream should be glossy and buttery. Now, add in the blueberry compote.
6. Pour buttercream into a piping bag and start piping dollops of creamy buttery goodness on the macaron shells.
7. Sandwich with another macaron shell, ligtly press it to secure. Then arrange them on a tray or plate or container and let it rest in the fridge, preferably overnight. It taste much better the next day. That’s when the flavours of the buttercream and macaron gets to know each other and infuses one another lol.
I did say it was going to be a quick one, didn’t I. Well I tried. It would have been much longer with all those other technical information. But there are already tons on the internet.
For me, the macaron shell should have some bite, a little chewy on the inside, not have too much air pocket, I would love thinner crust on these tho, and the filling should be delicious too! Many people pay too much attention on the shells but often neglect the filling sandwiched in between. It should not be like eating a meringue cookie / pavlova where it gets too marshmallowy on the inside. I didn’t say much about sweetness here actually, well, it is quite subjective. Macarons are suppose to be on the sweeter side (duh, it’s a dessert) but like any other cookie, cakes or dessert it should be moderate on the scale of sweetness.