But I’ll try some of the recipes in it and I hope I’ll be able to post a few here on my blog.
Last week was my mother in law’s birthday, I thought about making a birthday cake for her, but she likes to bake and she was happy to make one for us to celebrate her birthday on Sunday. Still I wanted to do something special for her anyway, so I decided to make a batch of French macarons.
She’s French, so I was certain that she would like them and I made them pink because October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
They were delicious, with a moist center and a beautiful color. All of them disappeared on the same afternoon!
So here they are a special treat for a very special Lady.
Makes about 30 assembled macarons
- 3 egg whites (from large eggs), aged (separated at least 24 hours in advance and kept in the refrigerator)
- 210 g powdered sugar
- 125 g almond meal
- 30 g regular granulated sugar
- Good quality raspberry marmalade or jam
- Mascarpone cheese
The first step is separate the eggs a few days before making the macarons, putting the whites in a clean airtight container and reserving the yolks for another use. Put them in the fridge for at least 24h (up to 5 days).
The morning of the day you plan to make your macarons take your egg whites out of the refrigerator and leave them to temper at room temperature for several hours.
Measure the powdered sugar and almond meal and put them in the bowl of your food processor. Finely grind the two together for a minute or two. Stop the processor, scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl, and process again for a minute.
After processing the powdered sugar and almond meal, you have to sieve the mixture to get rid of the remaining bigger bits and ensure a smooth batter. Set aside.
Make sure the bowl of your mixer is cold and that your granulated sugar is measured and close to your working area.
Put your egg whites in the bowl. Start beating them at medium/high speed. Once they start to get bubbly and white and you see your whisk is lightly leaving marks, add a tablespoon of the granulated sugar.
Continue beating and add the remaining sugar slowly over the next minute or two. Continue beating at high speed until peaks form and remain up when you take out your whisk. When the egg whites are ready, you’ll notice that they seem dense and creamy and not as bubbly anymore.
If you wish to add color, now is the time to do so. I added just a bit of pink gel food coloring (the color of your batter should be at least as intense as you want the final macaron to be. So it is up to you). Gently fold in the color using a spatula: slide your spatula on the side of the bowl under the egg whites and bring the bottom up to the top. Repeat this until the color is evenly blended.
Continuing your folding motion, start mixing in your dry ingredients a little at a time (you should add the whole thing in 4 or 5 additions). Carefully blend everything together, always sliding your spatula to the bottom of the bowl and back up to make sure no pockets of dry ingredients remain.
When your batter is evenly blended, it will look shiny and creamy.
Double the baking sheets (helps macarons rise and cook more evenly) then cover each with a well-measured sheet of parchment paper.
Pour de macarons over the baking sheets, trying to keep them all of the same size. You can use a template just to make sure, like the one in my post for raspberry and white chocolate macarons.
After that you have to let your macarons rest on the baking sheets at room temperature for at least 20 minutes.
Halfway through the wait, preheat your oven between 275 and 300°F (135-150°C), but remember that every oven behaves differently. I baked these macarons at 285°F (140°C) for 14 minutes. But you should start looking after 12 minutes or so.
When they are done, take the sheets out of the oven and let them cool on a rack.
Once cooled to room temperature, your macarons are ready to be assembled.
As I said before, the filling is a combination of raspberry marmalade and mascarpone cheese. First I heated the marmalade and whisk it to a coulis consistency, allow it cool a bit and then add the mascarpone. If it curdles, whisk again for a few seconds before transferring to a piping bag and filling the shells.
On this occasion I followed the recipe and instructions from foodnouveau.com. A great site. What I liked the most was that the shells turned out the right shade of pink, without any dark spots; what I didn’t like was that they were a little too tall for my taste and a bit grainy, but that was probably because I didn’t fold the mixture enough. Also I thought they were a bit too sweet, normally the proportion between icing sugar and almond is more balanced. For instance, Ladurée uses a proportion of 275/250 almond and icing sugar and this recipe is 125/210. But that can be mended with a more acid or tart filling. All in all, it was very helpful, with very detailed and clear explanations.