October Issue – Part two: Le doux voyage

Good Saturday folks,
How is your October’s main course? We hope you all enjoy our ravioli recipe from last week post and, of course, sorry for letting you guys waiting too long for the dessert. However, the best is yet to come! Now let’s go with us, heading all the way from Italy to the glamorous Paris to discover one of the world’s most delicate confections, the Macaron. What is a better way enjoying your weekend than a lunch in Milan and explosively flavorful macarons for tea break in Paris, our dear food lovers?
Vous êtes prêts? Allons-y!


OCTOBER RECIPE – FIVE FLAVORS FRENCH MACARONS by Xuan Ha


We do not own this recipe. Recipe adopted from several sources.


INGREDIENTS

We are going to make five French Macaron flavors: Lemon, Chocolate, Vanilla, Pomegranate and Mint. The recipe for each flavor are basically the same, there are just some slight modifications which will be mentioned later on.

A batter of 100 g egg whites should yield about 50 shells. Cut this recipe in half if you don’t feel confident for the very first try.

FOR THE MACARON SHELL

Lemon/ Vanilla/ Pomegranate/ Mint macaron
100 g egg whites (room temperature)
120 g almond meal
170 g icing sugar
80 g castor sugar
Food colouring: Yellow for Lemon macaron, Red for Pomegranate macaron, Green for Mint macaron and no colouring needed for Vanilla macaron
Flavouring: 1 tsp very finely chopped lemon zest for Lemon macaron, extracted seeds from 1 vanilla bean for Vanilla macaron, no flavouring needed for Pomegranate and Mint macaron

Chocolate macaron
100 g egg whites
100 g almond meal
170 g icing sugar
80 g castor sugar
Colouring and flavouring: 20 g cocoa powder

FOR THE FILLING

Chocolate/ Vanilla macaron: Chocolate ganache
50 g dark chocolate (for Chocolate macaron) or white chocolate (for Vanilla macaron)
60 g whipping cream
extracted seeds of 1 vanilla bean (for Vanilla macaron only)

Lemon/ Mint macaron: Swiss meringue buttercream
55 g egg whites
110 g caster sugar
220 g unsalted butter (room temperature)
1 tsp mint extract (for Mint macaron only)
1/4 tsp finely chopped lemon zest and juice of 1 lemon (for Lemon macaron only)

Pomegranate macaron: Pomegranate jelly
240 ml pomegranate juice
400 g caster sugar
22 ml fruit pectin
1/2 lemon, juiced


DIRECTIONS

For the macaron shell

In a food processor, mix the icing sugar and almond meal at highest speed to obtain a fine dry mixture, then sift to eliminate any lumps of powder.

In a bowl, beat the egg whites until foamy, then gradually add the castor sugar, spoon by spoon, on medium speed until achieving a firm and glossy stiff peak meringue. You can add colourings and flavourings during this step (except cocoa powder, which will be incorporated later together with the dry mixture).

Add half of the dry mixture into the meringue and fold in with a spatula. Repeat with the remaining half. Remember to incorporate the dry mixture quickly to avoid over-mixing. The result should be a pale, smooth and thick batter. If the batter looks slightly translucent, it means you have over-mixed the batter, avoid over-mixing since many air bubbles in the beaten egg whites will be deflated. If the batter looks lumpy and super dense, which does not reach the right ‘magma-like’ consistency, fold it more to avoid under-mixing.

Stack two baking trays and line the top tray with non-stick baking paper.

Spoon the batter into a piping bag with a medium size round piping nozzle and pipe evenly onto the baking paper, spaced about 3 cm apart. Tap the tray repeatedly on a flat surface until batter peaks have settled back into themselves. The batter will spread a little and not supposed to be runny and rapidly flatten out.

Leave the piped batter to dry for about one to two hours or until the surface is almost hard and not sticky anymore.

Once ready, preheat the oven (for convectional/ fan-assisted oven) to 160 ºC. Remember to cover an oven shelf with double foil and place it in the upper rack, right above the macaron tray in the oven to avoid undesirable quick browning.

Place the macaron tray in the center rack of the oven. After about 5 minute mark, the shells should start to lift and develop ‘feet’, avoid opening the oven door during this time. After the 7 – 9 minute mark, the macarons are supposed to develop their maximum ‘feet’, drop the temperature to 140 ºC to avoid browning. The macarons should be ready if they are lifted easily from the baking paper in the oven when you try to do so with the tip of a small knife.

Once ready, remove the macaron tray from the oven and leave aside for about two minutes, then try to peel each shell off the baking paper. Once removed, leave the shells face up on a wire rack to cool.

For the chocolate ganache

Break the dark or white chocolate into a bowl. In a saucepan, warm the whipping cream to a simmer (about 50 ºC), then pour it over the chocolate. For the white chocolate ganache, remember to add vanilla seeds and whole vanilla pod into the whipping cream during simmering. Leave for a few minutes, then mix together with a spatula, remember to stir occasionally until completely cool. Spoon the ganache into a piping bag with a medium size round piping nozzle. Keep at room temperature later use.

For the Swiss meringue buttercream

Combine egg whites and sugar in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water (about 50 ºC). Whisk constantly until mixture is warm and sugar has completely dissolved, then get off the heat.

Beat the mixture right away on low speed, then gradually increase to medium-high speed until achieving stiff but not dry peak. Continue mixing until the mixture completely cool. Once already cool, decrease the mixer speed to medium-low, add the butter in and mix well, spoon after spoon. Once all butter has been added, whisk in lemon zest and juice (for Lemon macaron) or mint extract (for Mint macaron), continue to beat until the buttercream is completely smooth. Spoon the buttercream into a piping bag with a medium size round piping nozzle. Keep at room temperature for later use.

For the pomegranate jelly

In a saucepan, combine pomegranate juice, lemon juice and sugar, then bring to a boil over high heat, and at once stir in fruit pectin. Bring the mixture to a full boil for 30 seconds. Remove from heat, skim off foam and allow to cool. Keep at room temperature for later use.

 Assembly

Pipe a small amount of filling on one shell, for the pomegranate jelly, use a small teaspoon instead. Then gently apply another shell on top. Store in a sealed container, refrigerate for three days for the best flavor and texture.


ESSENTIAL TIPS

Avoid making macarons on humid days as the batter will tend to be too damp and cannot dry out properly.

You might use a small pinch of cream of tartar or salt or both during beating to strengthen the egg white foam.

Within the restriction of this post, we cannot provide you all the needed information to successfully making macarons and filling, please consult professional bakers or search for You Tube tutorials for more information.


Photos Luminous     Concept & Words Team Luminary

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