Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Raspberry Macarons

I must admit, I'm a sucker for reality TV and especially one that concerns food. So I love MasterChef. Much to their protest, the boys know that when MasterChef comes on telly every night at 7.30pm, they give up the reign of the TV remote control. And they play their air guitar and dance along to Katy Perry's Hot and Cold, the theme song.

So when Adriano Zumbo brought out his macaron tower for one of the pressure test challenges, and hubby sitting next to me making ooohhh and aaahhh noises, I knew I had been "pressured" to make some. And I have never made macarons before in my life. I researched on the web for a recipe, and there are millions out there! The MasterChef recipe seems a little complicated and requires a few ingredients that are somewhat peculiar to me (powdered egg whites and beetroot powder?) So as I was about to abandon this task, a friend send me a link to this site on Serious Eats: How To Make Macarons (Thanks Jas!). There were a few handy tips and tricks for optimum macaron creation, and only 4 ingredients to a basic macaron recipe. How hard could it be? After sifting through a few more recipes, I settled on one from My Tartelette because her pictures look pretty, and the recipe looks similar enough to the basic recipe. And raspberry why? Because they are my hubby's absolute favourite.

Raspberry Macarons and Raspberry Buttercream
Inspired by MasterChef and My Tartelette.

For the shells:
90 g egg whites (From about 4 eggs)
25 g castor sugar
200 g pure icing sugar
110 g ground almonds
1 tsp of rose pink food coloring

Here are a few tips:
  • Use eggs whites that have been preferably left 3-5 days in the fridge. I left mine to "age" overnight on the kitchen bench at (wintry) room temperature.
  • Put the almonds and icing sugar in the food processor and give it a few good pulses to make sure that they are super fine to give the batter a smoother finish.
  • Preferably, use powdered food colouring.
Prepare the macarons:

In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites to a foam, gradually add the castor sugar until you obtain a glossy meringue. Do not overbeat your meringue or it will be too dry.

Fold the almonds and icing sugar mixture, and colouring into the meringue until fully incorporated.

Fill a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip with the batter and pipe small rounds (1.5 inches in diameter) onto parchment paper or silicone mats lined baking sheets. Let the macarons sit out for 30 minutes to an hour to harden their shells a bit.

In the meantime, preheat the oven to 155 degrees Celcius. When ready, bake for 15 to 20 minutes, depending on their size with the oven door slightly ajar (Use a wooden spoon). Let cool. Once baked and if you are not using them right away, store them in an airtight container out of the fridge for a couple of days or in the freezer.

Raspberry Buttercream

125g butter
2 tbsp good quality raspberry preserve
1 tbsp icing sugar
1 tbsp milk

I kind of made this recipe up as I went along. Just whip up the butter and icing sugar until as pale as possible, light and fluffy. Fold through the raspberry preserve and milk until fully incorporated. Add enough milk to the right consistency to pipe.

Fill another piping bag with the buttercream and pipe a small dollop onto the centre of a macaron shell. Sandwich the cream with another shell. There you have it, a raspberry macaron!

So here's the story of how I actually went creating these little fluffy puffy pink buttons. It was somewhat disastrous to be honest, and don't be fooled by the prettiness in the picture. These 8 macarons are what was left, salvageable. You see, I don't own a piping set, and honestly my piping skills are close to none. Sometime ago, I bought a pack of disposable piping bags that comes with 3 plastic tips that I have kept. I've been recycling those tips every now and then, using zip lock bags instead and I thought it has worked marvellously well over the years.

The consistency of these macaron batter are like "magma" and should "flow like hot lava" as Matt Preston once said, so the thickness of it meant that it needed a bit more force to pipe them out. Needless to say, my "ziplock piping bag" burst open when I started to pipe and I had lava flowing everywhere. It was very very messy. I contemplated making one HUGE macaron instead.

Oh well, I manage to salvage some batter and with another dodgy piping bag, I got some done.

The outcome was delightful. Light and crisp on the outside, a slight acidic note from the raspberry cream, chewy and creamy on the inside. The flavours come together very well.

Now, on to my next task. That is to get a good piping set, one that will not explode on me. I hope you are reading this my dear hubby.

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Lins said...

Good job Grace! We haven't even attempted to make them yet. Hehe. Soon I hope.

Grace Lee said...

OOOH I tried macarons! BUT like 4 times.. ok I lie. 3. AND ALL fail. I was in feutal position, sucking on my thumb and sooking when Dave came home, confused as to what had happened to me.

OOH as for the piping bag... I have KUHN Rikon Switzerland one, and its really good. Easy to wash out and the set I got has mini piping things that Missy A has a good hand on so may be good for your kids to play with.