Since posting this last night, the lovely Angie from The Novice Gardener asked me if I would like to join her Fiesta Friday party. I am of course very excited for this and am super excited to see everyone’s contribution this week. It is such a great idea and looks like such fun! So here is my first ever Fiesta Friday contribution…
I made these little beauties weeks ago and have been putting off writing about them. I have no idea why but all I know is that I have been putting off doing everything for a few weeks. I have never been so lazy as to not clean the kitchen before going to bed but the last two days I did just that and this morning I woke up to find the dog fed and watered and little elves had cleaned the kitchen to perfection. By little elves I of course mean D. With his wonderful clean up job and a calm puppy, I was actually able to think positively and start my day off nicely. It is D’s birthday this week and I have been combing through my cook books and magazines to find nice things to make for him for birthday dinner. I have made my lists and time plans and am feeling energized. So while D is working, I have a few hours to catch up on my blog. I am going to post about Macarons. If you can remember I made raspberry macaroons a while back. I wanted to get them right before I attempted traditional french Macarons. They are called similar names but are totally different little bites of heaven. The Macaron is meant to be super difficult to make. I have watched them being made on popular shows like Masterchef and they look so scary to make. But actually in real, they are not too difficult. You just have to be very organised and precise. And they do take a lot of time to make! I scoured the internet for recipes but decided to use the very first one I looked at. I found this recipe on the West Australian Life and Style website. I remember sitting down and watching the Australian masterchef series and Adriano Zumbo presented his macarons and asked the contestants to recreate it. Wow did they struggle and now I have every understanding as to why. I think they had a limited time like three hours, and I know that I take way over that much time to make them but add the pressure of a contest to that, man I don’t know how they did it! Anyway I decided to make this recipe as it is after all celebrity chef Adriano Zumbo’s recipe. Lets just say they were good, very very good!
ADRIANO ZUMBO’S STRAWBERRY MACARONS
Since making these my first macarons, I have made several different batches to try different flavours and fillings. While they all turned out delicious, some of them had a few minor issues. A couple of times, the shells cracked slightly. It’s nothing to be alarmed about, but it meant that my mixture was a touch too wet. There are a few other things that can happen. If you are having problems, click here for Adriano’s troubleshooting page. Really it does help, and there is always a solution.
For the shells:
- 125 g caster sugar
- 40 g water
- 50 g egg whites
- 135 g pure icing sugar, sieved
- 135 g almond meal, sieved
- 45 g egg whites
- Food colouring
For the filling:
- 40 g cream
- 1 vanilla bean, scraped
- 80 g strawberry puree
- 200 g white chocolate, grated
Weigh all of your ingredients first. Label them if you need. Pre heat your oven to 140ºC (fan oven). Start with your shells. Take the sugar and water and boil together until it reaches 118 ºC. If you don’t have a thermometer, I counted about 10 minutes from start on a medium heat in a medium saucepan (hope this helps).
In a food processor, blend your ground almond for a minute to make it extra fine. Add the icing sugar and blitz for about 30 seconds to combine. Tip into a sieve over a medium mixing bowl. Any bits that don’t pass through easily, discard. Set the bowl aside.
Clean and dry the food processor to the point of being OCD. It has to be clean and dry for the eggs to properly whisk. Attach the whisk attachment to the processor. Whisk the egg whites (50 g measurement). But don’t over whisk. You want soft peaks.
While still beating pour very slowly the boiled sugar and water into it. Once it is all added, keep whisking until cool, about 8 minutes.
Meanwhile, take your mixed almond and icing sugar. Add a drop or two of the red food colouring, depending on how strong you want the colour. Add the egg whites (45 g) and combine until smooth. Once your whisked egg and sugar is cool enough (about 50ºC) add a spoon at a time and fold into your almond mix until it is all incorporated and smooth.
Next take your baking paper and on the opposite side, draw small circles spaced an inch from each other. I used a shot glass. Turn the paper around the right way and place on a baking tray, use a drop of macaron mixture in each corner to seal the paper to the tray. This stops it from moving. Using a piping bag, pipe small amounts onto each circle. Don’t fill right to the edge as when this is done, bang the baking tray several times on the counter to rid the macarons of any air bubbles. The mixture will spread a little during this and should now meet your circle outlines.
Leave the little macarons out in the air to dry for anywhere between 30 and 60 minutes. This helps them form a skin before being placed in the oven. They should be touch dry. Depending on the humidity of your kitchen it may take the 30 minutes for the film to develop or it may take longer.
While the macaron shells are drying, make the ganache filling. Bring the cream, vanilla and strawberry puree to the boil. Pour the hot cream mixture over the white chocolate and mix, add in the butter and mix thoroughly again until all is well combined. Leave to cool.
Once touch dry, place the macarons into the oven for 16 minutes. Do not open the oven before at least 12 minutes or they won’t cook inside properly. Take them out of the oven and cool.
Once cool pair them according to shape and size and then pipe the ganache mixture onto the centre of each one and press gently together.
Eh voila! French almond macarons…