First, the obligatory words:
The 2009 October Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to us by Ami S. She chose macarons from Claudia Fleming’s The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern as the challenge recipe.
I'd been gathering up the courage to try these fiddly french fancies and made an attempt three days before the challenge was announced. Talk about hitting the ground running. I used a recipe by Helen of Tartelette and whaddaya know - my first ever batch of macarons had feet! You could have heard the whooping a mile away! So sure was I that my macarons wouldn't rise to the occasion, there was no filling ready for them. A quick slap of the multi-purpose chocolate ganache and we were set.
My first try : Hazelnut macarons with dark chocolate ganache. (Subbed all the almond meal with hazelnut meal)
Then I tried this month's challenge. The DB method and ratio differed from Tartelette's recipe, but I gamely gave it a go. Umm...no feet - tasted good but not what I was hoping for. Usually, I'm quite tenacious when it comes to working my way through to the bitter end, but this time I chose to stick with the successful recipe. To be fair, many other Daring Baker's made the challenge recipe work so do check out their success stories.
DB Footless Macs- Orange and clove macarons dipped in dark chocolate.
I kept practising with Helen's recipe and I think I am officially obsessed. Didn't realise quite how many macarons I'd made until I compiled all the photos together...errr...to avoid a massive post, I'll try to do most of it in pictures. As for the recipe and method, I urge you to visit Tartelette and follow any of her macaron recipes. I used 2/3 of the recommended ratios.
Some things I found helpful:
1) Weigh the egg whites - I found that the weight differed greatly between eggs even from the same carton. I estimated each egg white to weigh roughly 30gms or so (give or take).
2) I did age the egg whites and this seemed to have a noticeable effect on the "feet". Older egg whites - taller feet. Fresh egg whites - frilly feet. To age, I left my bowl of eggwhites in the fridge, covered loosely with plastic wrap. Remember to bring the eggs to room temperature before using.
3) Size matters! Using a thin and whippy spatula to fold the almond into the egg whites - I seemed to go over the recommended amount of "strokes" all the time but the macaron mixture didn't look ready. Using a heavier spatula, I achieved the recommended flow much sooner. (This will make sense when you read the macaron method).
4) I didn't draw circles for the macs, instead I timed the flow when piping, counting about 10 "counts" per macaron to try and ensure all the macs ended up the same size.
5) To colour the macarons, I used a cake decorating trick to tint the sugar first. Mix some paste colour into the sugar and sieve it to get a uniform colour. The sugar needs to be really dry so if using liquid colour, make sure to spread the sugar on a tray to dry out before using.
And in case you're wondering where all the egg whites came from? I made ice-cream (6 egg yolks), and mango and lime curd (4 egg yolks) + I already had some lurking in the freezer.
Thank you very much Queen Helen, undisputed Monarch of the Macaron. And thank you to the Macaron fairy who must be hiding somewhere in the kitchen..I'm still pinching myself that my mac attempts were successful.(Edit: And d'uh where are my manners? Thank you Ami for a great challenge!)
Enjoy these flavours, I'm sure you'll see more in time to come.
Coconut macaron with mango lime curd filling
Subbed a little of the almond meal with toasted, dessicated coconut. Made a mango and lime curd based on my favourite lemon curd recipe - and used 100ml of sieved mango puree + juice of half a lime.
Teh-Hallia (Ginger Tea) Macaron
Based on a Malaysian beverage. Macaron shells flavoured with Black Tea. Crystallised ginger sandwiched in ginger white cocolate ganache (just add some ground ginger to the ganache).
Inspired by Indian Rice Pudding/ Kheer. Subbed a bit of the almond meal with toasted ground rice (50g almond meal + 20g rice for recipe calling for about 70g almond meal). Flavoured the shell with finely ground cardamom pods (2). Sandwiched with some of the white chocolate ganache from above. Pistachio hidden in centre.
This is my favourite macaron out of all the ones I made. the rice gives it a gritty but not unpleasant aftertaste.
Rose and lemon macaron
This was inspired by the Persian drink Sharbat - the shells are flavoured with dried rose petals and the filling is lemon caramel. I was really trying to make a tiny batch of lemon marmalade but it didn't quite work out. The lemon caramel tastes fantastic though - very tangy and complemented the rose scent very well.
I really wanted to make use of the spring blooms in the garden and attempted these Nasturtium flavoured macs. I added some dried leaves and flowers plus a sliver of petal on top. The filling was cream cheese, a pinch of salt and 3 nasturtium flowers. The flavour was interesting and if you didn't know what was in them - it was quite indefinable
I air-dried the nasturtiums, then finished them off in a low oven (I put them on the lowest rack while a batch of macarons were in the oven)
Thanks for visiting! Have a sweet day :)