20 hours ago
Thursday, February 11, 2010
For my very first post I will do away with my mini obsession for macarons. The feeling of making something from scratch and seeing the finishing product is very rewarding. Especially, when it turn out just right. My moto in cooking or baking is that “If it look good, it taste good” therefore look is everything. The most delicious dish will not show it true flavor if it is not presented right. .
Macarons…macarons…macarons what can I say? I have a mini obsession for macarons. It all started one day when I was just browsing through delicious looking food at foodgwaker.com and saw this cute looking French pastry. So I decide to jogged down the recipe and try it. Let just say that it was horrific! You see macaron is one of those pastries that require you to follow direction down to perfection or it will not turn out right. One wrong measurement or too many stirring of the batter or wrong temperature will not do. As for when my obsession really started, it is the moment I asked to my sister (who live in France and understand what a true macarons is about) if she ever make macaron. Her first reaction was a laugh not the loud kind, but the I know what you’re talking about kind. Anyway, she said that she love macarons and she loving making it. She also mention how hard it is to make and that it took her 15 tried to finally got the result she was looking for.
Then she sent me some recipe in French and link to the technique of making them. The only problem is, my two year of French didn’t help much. I can’t decipher what it was saying. So I decided to do my own research by reading every recipes, techniques and tips from every macarons experts online. I was craving any information from tips, techniques to details and errors. Finally I stumble upon a book that is very easy to follow and have a step-by-step photo called “I Love Macarons” by Hisako Ogita. Her book give you tidiest detail down to the tee. And so my journal to perfecting the perfect macarons began….
Now when I mention perfecting macarons, it just my definition of what a perfect macarons should look and taste like. The perfect macaron to me is pretty to look at and have a taste of crispy shell with chewy texture inside. The filling is just to compliment the rich and intense flavor of the macarons. When I said rich and intense I really mean it. It is very sweet cookies that are not to be indulge too many in one sitting. It is best to savored one at a time. Of course telling that to my two years old daughter Jassi is impossible. She doesn’t believe in one or two, because at these stages everything belongs to her. Making the word MINE meaning it belonging to her and only her. Alas, she a great asset to all my baking experiment. We always manage to finish everything together since the boy don’t really care for dessert!
For those of you who doesn’t like to bake you can always find it in a store near you, unless you happen to live in a small town like me…there none. So you really have to start baking or at least attempt to bake. lol
Vanilla Macarons (French Style)
Make 24 halves depending on the sizes or 2 dozens
¼ plus 3 tbs cup of almond meal (flour)
¼ cup of powdered sugar
1 large egg (leave it out for room temperature for 24 hours)
3 tbsp granulated sugar
½ tsp of vanilla extract
1 or 2 drop of desire food coloring ( I used yellow in this one)
A pinch of meringue powder (optional, this will stabilize the shell better, but harder)
Whip cream filling:
¼ cup of heavy whipping cream
¼ cup of icing sugar
½ tbsp mango puree (too much the whip cream will not stiff)
*After the shell is baked. Whip the heavy cream on high until it starting to take shape then slowly added the powder sugar and flavor. Continue whipping until it stiff and glossy whip cream texture like. I like my filling light since the cookies are very rich.
Let get started:
* Prepared by drawing a quarter or half dollar size circles on wax parchment paper. Put aside.
1. Mix the almond flour and the powdered sugar together. Put it a food processor and pulse it 4 to 5 pulsed or until fine. Do not over grind or it will get oily. Take it out and shift it and place it aside.
2. Next separate the egg yolk from the white. Put the white part in a clean and dry metal bowl. Whip the egg white on high until it started to foam then add the granulated sugar slowly. Whip until stiff peak and glossy then add food coloring. When egg white on the whip will not fall off when lift up.
3. Add in the dry mixture and fold gently until it is fully blended. Then stirred it about 20 times until the mixture is right. It should have a thick paste like consistency also known as “magma”. Over stirring will make it oily.
4. Pour the mixture into the piping bag with round tip and squeeze down to make sure to let the bubbles out. Pipe out batter onto the pre drawn circle on the parchment paper. Now pick up the baking pan and bang it on the table once or twice to let the bubbles out. This also help for a better forming shell and pied. Using double baking tray will ensure that it will not get burn on the bottom.
5. Let it air dry for at least 15 to 30 minutes. This step is to ensure that the shell is dry and take it shape. Drying process is completed when touching it will not stick to your finger.
6. Preheat the oven to bake at 300 F to 325 F (depending how hot your oven and double tray. I put mine on 315 F for 13 minutes). When the shell is hard when touch, put it in the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes. Removed and cool. When the macarons is starting to form pie or feet put a aluminum foil or wax parchment paper on top of it to prevent burn top.
As mention above, I have tried making these cuties pie many time and many different way. Due to the fact, that I love a good challenge I never quite. So this is what I noticed.
• Make sure to use room temperature egg that is left out at least 24 hours. Old eggs whip better therefore making better shell. Fresh egg will make the shell fragile and crack.
• Make sure to use all the sugar that call for or it won’t form feet or also know as pied. (from experiences)
• If used the higher temperature don’t bake the whole 15 minutes or it will burn the top.
• Over stirring of the batter will make the shell oily. So don’t get stirring happy!
*Bonus: Keep the yolk for other dessert like cream brulee..
Now if you do mess up, don’t worry. We’ll never know. Just start over again. lol
There I did it! Hope you will enjoy making and experimenting with it just as much as I do. Take lots of picture and relish your accomplishment..
Now it time to prepared myself for Chinese New Year meal.