A passion for macarons

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I’m late! I’m late! I’m almost very late!

Squeaking in with a last minute entry for this month’s Mactweet #15 project.  Find some macinspiration, said Deeba and Jamie. “Combine or integrate your macarons into any dessert, making it a new part of an old favorite, or turn your macarons into your favorite dessert,” said the post.

Sorry, but inspiration don’t live round here no more.

Actually, it’s probably just gone on holiday along with the rest of my brain.

But wait, what’s this? It’s an Australian public holiday tomorrow - a day when pavlova and lamingtons will be out in force.  Well then, I think my pavlova inspired, passionfruit ice-cream sandwich macaron will feel right at home then.

The passionfruit ice-cream recipe is from The Perfect Scoop (by David Lebovitz). I’d been itching to make something from the book ever since I received it from my almost (just a technicality) sister-in-law for Christmas.  Even without an ice-cream machine, the ice-cream turned out beautifully creamy and oh-so-zingy. It was also very simple to pull together, I just needed to remember to beat it a couple of times so that it didn’t freeze solid. (You can find some tips on how to make ice-cream without a machine here).

For the macarons, I finally unwrapped my copy of the most recent Larousse Gastronomique (English translation). I’ve mentioned previously that I don’t actually buy cookbooks on a whim, but just couldn’t resist when I saw this one on sale for half price.

The first entry I turned to? Macarons of course. Oh wait, they call them macaroons here. I double checked, perhaps macaron came later? Nope, there’s macaroni, but no macaron. I read through the method. Yes, sounded like macarons alright.

Ok, so I’m no expert, but I thought macaron (single “O”) was the proper French term for these little morsels. There’s even been newspaper articles about it. And I thought macaroons referred to something else entirely  - those chewy coconut and egg white concoctions.

Feeling curious, I of course turned to Google, and found this very informative post about the book. Recommended reading if you’re thinking about buying yourself a copy.

My curiosity still slightly piqued, I decided to follow the given recipe to see what type of macarons they produced. Not wanting to waste 7 egg whites as required, I reduced the quantities to: 140g icing sugar, 80g ground almonds and 60g eggwites (based on the assumption that 30g = 1 eggwhite) and added a teeny bit of grated orange zest for flavour.

The instructions were very brief , to paraphrase : sift icing sugar and almonds together, beat egg whites till stiff, sprinkle the icing sugar over eggwhites and fold in. Pipe circles and leave to set for 15 minutes. No mention of lava-like flow, no mention of pulsing icing sugar and almond meal together in food processor, no mention of ageing eggwhites. (All of which I did anyway).

I baked the first tray at 150˚C as recommended, and ended up with frilly footed, browned macaron shells. Oops, I rechecked the instructions, and I’d missed the part where they recommended leaving the oven door ajar when baking.

Tray 1

For the second tray, I covered the rack above the tray with some baking paper, and slipped an oven glove in between the oven seal and the door for the duration on baking. This time, the feet behaved better and I had less browning.

The resulting shells were very, very delicate and slightly chewier than the ones I’ve made using the Italian meringue method. I’ve never been to Ladurée but I’m guessing these shells are what proper French macaron shells should feel like.



And here endeth my foray into the geeky side of macaron baking.

MC Senior didn’t really care what they are called, she just enjoyed sinking her teeth into them :)


Deeba PAB said...

Inspired, YES...and delicious too! Love them Shaz and so glad you got a foot in the door. I don't have any of the 2 books, and would LOVE to own them, half price, even better! That passion fruit ice cream does look delish! I've never seen a passion fruit & now would love to lay my hands on some. xoxo

Jeannie said...

I must say your macarons look really delicate and light...bet they tasted real good with your homemade icecream...:)

Marine Loves Papi... said...

Oh my Lord they look deliciously perfect!

msihua said...

I'm so jealous and envious you can make macarons! I've tried 4 times now and still my feet are wonky and macarons are flat :)

Heavenly Housewife said...

Not to shabby for someone who is having a hard time finding inspiration (me too by the way, but I keep trudging along, inspiration will strike). These look yummy!
*kisses* HH

Vanille said...

Have a nice Australia Day Shaz !

shaz said...

Deeba PAB - I'm so glad I made it in time too dearie. Hope you get a chance to try some passionfruit. I love it, but it's quite tangy and some people find it too tart. It smells amazing though.

Jeannie - they did! I'm so glad I made ice-cream, it's been sweltering hot here, and we have been digging into the ice-cream very happily.

Marine Loves Papi- aw thank you.

msihua - oh, good luck. They are such tricky things, I've only been completely happy with one or two batches of mine. Even though I get feet and shape, sometimes the texture is not quite right and sometimes they brown too quick. That's why I love making them, because they challenge me :)

Heavenly Housewife - aw thank you. Iwill get there. It's this summer heat, I don't really want to turn the oven on if I can help it.

Vanille - thanks dear.

Lisa H. said...

Bravo Shaz,

I have been reading and re-read the macarons book, bought the ingredients even the candy thermometer... yet I am still waiting for that courage to sweep me off my 'bottom' to make one :D..

Indie.Tea said...

Oh, those passionfruit macaron ice cream sandwiches sound INCREDIBLE. I made some passionfruit ice cream last summer - and it was terrific...I can imagine that combined with a macaron cookie, it would be out-of-this-world! So original and delicious.

Beth said...

However they came together, they look wonderful! Enjoy your holiday!

lora said...

Passionfruit always sounds so exotic. Love the ice cream macsandwich idea. Also great tip with the baking paper to prevent browning. thanks!

grace said...

i love that you're confident enough in your baking prowess to experiment like this--excellent work! :)

Megan @ FeastingonArt said...

Your ice cream looks so creamy! Mmm passion fruit!

Cecilia said...

Shaz, I guess both of us were thinking passion fruit for this challenge! I love purple passion fruits, but they are hard to come by here in the US. My grandmother (in Panama) used to have a vine of purple passion fruits so I was lucky to have them available all throughout my childhood. I have David's book, and it's magnificent. I used passion fruit concentrate for my passion fruit curd, I may have to try making the ice cream!