It must be time for Macattack 9, where mac-passionate bakers across blogland look to their favourite tunes for inspiration. Our fabulous hostesses Deeba and Jamie have asked us to turn our favourite song into a macaron.
Referenced a score found here
This posed a slight challenge as the music I listen to changes drastically depending on the kind of mood I’m in. There’s hardly a genre I won’t turn my ears to, except perhaps heavy metal. How to choose?
So instead of picking a favourite song, I’ve picked a melody to match my macarons. And just in time for Bastille Day too (what with macarons being French and all). Even though this is not technically a song that one can sing along to, the mere mention of it can set off a case of humming. I’m talking about the Cancan, or to be more precise, The Galop.
Ironically, I used the Italian meringue method for these macarons and they turned out without a hitch (apart from a slight overbrowning when I wasn’t paying attention). I used a recipe that I’d had success with in the past, but tried a new baking technique – the oven is preheated to 200˚C, then when the tray of macarons is put into the oven, turn the oven off. Leave for 10 minutes, then turn the temperature back to 155˚C and bake a few more minutes until macarons are firm and don’t move when touched. (The recipe says for another 9 minutes, but my oven is cantankerous and I only needed another 5 or so minutes, otherwise it browned too much).
Both the recipes are by well known Sydney pâtissier, Adriano Zumbo. With all the publicity surrounding the Masterchef TV series, it was hard to miss that one of the challenges thrown to the contestants involved building a macaron “tower of terror”, coached by Zumbo. I still haven’t gotten around to watching the series, but the power of Google meant that I could still look up the recipe☺
Thus my tricolor (and triflavour) Cancan macarons were born. The white macarons had vanilla bean in the shells, and a salted caramel filling. The blue ones were based on Tarte au Citron, but I used leftover orange curd instead of lemon for the filling, and the red ones were ; quatre epices flavoured shells, filled with red wine ganache.
Again, Google helped enormously as I discovered how to make a wine flavoured ganache. While reading some forum threads on eGullet, I noticed someone had mentioned that they made water ganache by stirring spoonfuls of water into melted chocolate until it “looked right?
What? After every single piece of advice I’d read saying never to mix water with melted chocolate, I find out you can actually make a creamless “ganache” this way?
Nothing to lose as they say, so I hunted around and found a forgotten half-block of dark chocolate, only 40% cocoa solids but it would have to do. I popped it into a microwave safe jug and melted it. Then I stirred in a spoonful of cabernet merlot. As I stirred, the chocolate started clumping (seizing) . It didn’t look grainy though, and I picked out a piece to taste and found the texture was still smooth. Deciding to persevere, I added another tablespoon of merlot into the still warm chocolate and kept stirring. The lump started to “dissolve” again. Two more tablespoons of wine later (total of 4 in all) and I had what looked like shiny ganache! Amazing.
I kept the “ganache” in an airtight container at room temperature and it had solidified the next day, but a quick warm up in the microwave returned it to the glossy spreadable texture that I’d initially achieved. And much to my surprise, the flavours worked really well together! Even Mr. Kitchen Hand, who is a bit of a wine buff, had to admit that the chocolate and merlot really did make a great combination.
I’m definitely going to have to experiment more with this water/wine method and see if I can replicate it again. Talk about rocking my world ☺
As for the salted caramel filling, I made caramel (1/2 cup sugar and a couple of tbsp water), then stirred in a good pinch of salt and enough butter to make a glossy sauce. I also added a tablespoon or two of warm milk (forgot to buy cream).
Thanks for joining me on the mactweet ride.
If you do have a spare moment this weekend, how about making something Malaysian and join in our Muhibbah Monday blog event?
Have a great weekend.