Brown tops and sticky bottoms

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Calm down, I’m talking about le macaron here (are macarons feminine or masculine?).  Pecan Pie macarons and Sweet Potato Crumble macarons to be exact.

My first foray into the world of the macaron happened thanks to Deeba from Passionate about Baking. I’d eaten macarons, thought about macarons and ogled many, many macarons but had never been game to make any until Deeba’s tweets about her “feet quest” intrigued me so much, I had to jump in. With the post already written in my head, even titled - Midnight Macaron Madness, the Daring Baker’s October challengewas announced! So I sat on the post and went mental with macronage instead. I can now completely understand the obsession that takes over macaron fans (fanatics?).

So when Deeba teamed up with Jamie from Life’s a Feast and set up the great MacTweet, I was definitely in.

Here’s my contribution, inspired by Thanksgiving.

I’ve never celebrated Thanksgiving, but the word associations that spring to mind are pie and sweet potatoes (for some odd reason). And when I think of pie, it’s pecan pie, not pumpkin.

The Pecan Pie macaron was pretty straightforward, I substituted pecans instead of almond meal. Ratios I used are given below but for the method, I followed steps on Helen/ Tartelette’s blog, so I won’t post it here. (Interesting aside: ingredients are not usually subject to copyright protection but the technique or method of making something may be. There’s a great post written by David Lebovitz on the issue of recipe attributtion, which can be found here on the Foodblog Alliance).

These macarons had feet but only tiny ones, probably because the pecans were so oily. They dried out well though, but I ran into trouble when I tried to sandwich them with some caramel crème patisserie. Too wet! Luckily I only sandwiched a small test batch, so back to the drawing board. I made up a simple caramel buttercream - equal parts butter, brown sugar and icing sugar, in my case 50g of each. The brown sugar was a bit grainy but once I’d sandwiched all the macarons together, it wasn’t noticeable. I took them along to a gathering and they disappeared at the speed of light so I’m calling it a success!

The next batch of Sweet Potato Crumble macarons took me two tries. First up, I tried substituting some dried, powdered sweet potato into the macaron shells. Didn’t really work and I couldn’t taste the sweet potato flavour, plus they all ended up either really sticky (from a lower oven temp) or crispy brown on top (higher oven temp). Fail! We didn’t even try to eat this batch (well, I did sample a few just in case they could be salvaged ☺).

Next up, I tried to incorporate the crumble ingredients (breadcrumbs, dried powdered parsley and nutmeg) into the shells instead. I had an inkling this would work because I’d seen it done on Lemonpi,when she made toast flavoured macarons! They did dry out quite well, but I probably should have added a touch more breadcrumbs or almond meal because I struggled a bit with the brown top/ sticky bottom dilemma as the last batch but not as drastic. They look and taste fine, albeit a little bit chewier than usual. Sandwiched with a sweet potato buter, they are pretty darn tasty. Although I still think they don’t really taste sweet-potato-ey enough. Toasty certainly, but not quite potatoey.

Now back to more macaron scheming. To all the North Americans out there, have a very happy and sweet Thanksgiving!

Pecan Pie Macaron
60g pecans (well toasted and ground to a powder)
10g almond meal
135g icing sugar
20 g caster sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
65g egg whites

(For macaron method, please visit either the MacTweet blog for a tutorial, or Tartelette's blog)

Sweet Potato Crumble Macaron

For shells
Breadcrumbs 30g (I used storebought as I had some in the pantry. I find it drier, and the salty flavour complements the sweetness of the macaron. If using home-made, make sure it is extremely dry).
Almond meal 40g (possibly needed a touch more)
1 tablespoon dried, powdered parsley
135g icing sugar
20g caster sugar.
65g egg whites

For sweet potato "butter"
There are many recipes online. For my version, I cooked equal parts (450g) sweet potato puree and sugar, with a couple of tablespoons water. (For sweet potato puree, steam then mash sweet potato and push through sieve. ) Season with nutmeg. Keep stirring puree, sugar and water over low heat until mixture is thick and jamlike.


Ellie said...

It's macarons time!! Love the pecan pie flavour. Your macarons are perfect!! I haven't been making them for a while... time to get back to it.

Trissa said...

I thought I was tired of macarons until I saw your post! Not anymore! Oh yum - pecan pie - love it!

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Your flavours are amazing and they look perfect too! Amazing job Shaz! :D

Jamie said...

Wow what brilliant flavor combos! You are so talented! And love the Thanksgiving theme. Excellent addition to our MacTweets roundup mid-December. But now I need to put on my thinking cap so I can come up with macs THIS creative!

What I've found is that when feet seem tiny, once they are sandwiched together they look so much "feetier"! Yours are perfect!

Julia @Mélanger said...

Très délicieux! J'adore your holiday inspiration pour le macaron (I believe you are right, masculine!). :)

Hungry Dog said...

Sounds like you had fun experimenting. How do you find the time to make such impressive and complicated things?! Amazing.

shaz said...

Thanks Ellie, looking forward to seeing what you come up with :)

Thank you so much Lorraine

Hi Jamie, that is so true, the feet did look much "feetier" after the sandwiching. And apologies again for jumping the gun!

Merci beaucoup Julia!

Thanks Hungry Dog - at the risk of sounding boastful, the macarons were actually pretty quick to put togther once I got the hang of it. There's just lots of waiting around for things to dry/age. Having said that I do keep vampirish hours!

Thanks so much Trissa - love your square Christmas macs!

Barbara Bakes said...

So creative and such brave flavors! They look fabulous!

moonglowgardens said...

Wow, I think I was November 2009 when I started making macarons. And it was Thanksgiving inspired as well: Pecans, pumpkin spice, caramel...

Your look great!