Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Assorted and Colorful Macarons for Christmas


It seems like Christmas has been long gone, and with the New Year when everybody is busy trying to make resolutions or goals, or anything at all, who would remember anything about Christmas? Well, at least I do, especially when you had to make 5 batches of macarons with 6 different fillings in a half a day right before Christmas eve. It might sound "ah, that's nothing", but this is the first time for me making so many different kinds in such a short time.


Everytime I see a blog post when people are baking such pretty and oh-so-colorful macarons, it always left me wondered how can they make so many different ones and how would they find the time to do it, especially if you have to rest your macaron batter for some time and bake it one tray at a time? And what do they do with so many of macarons if they make one batch for one color? I tried to think and see if maybe they color the same batter a few different ones, but I don't think that's possible as the batter would be overmixed. In the end, I just thought that they made each color as different batch, which was what I did.


I made lots of macarons before, the last one being 200++, but they're different, they're for a wedding and the same flavor. I don't have to worry about making different batch of fillings, and what different flavors I want to make, but I've always wanted to make pretty colorful macarons too so that I can put them side by side and arranged them like little colorful soldiers just like those in a patisserie.

One of my friends asked me a month before Christmas (or maybe a bit before), if I would be willing to make some macarons for him to give as a Christmas and thank you gift for another person. That person happens to be a macaron fanatic (so I've heard) and she's been getting different macarons from different places every Christmas time. I couldn't commit at first since my December baking schedule is pretty full, leaving me no time left for just my personal baking. Besides, the thought of me making different batches of macarons scared me, and what would I do with so many leftovers? He persisted and tried to convince me every single day until I said yes (and it's not that hard really :D).



I decided to make four different flavors for him, and one more the next day just for me using the un-filled macarons:
1. Pink macarons - rose buttercream, lychee, and raspberry gelee cube
2. Yellow macarons - cream cheese frosting with tropical fruit puree added
3. White macarons - dark chocolate and gianduja ganache with hazelnut praline
4. Orange macarons 1 - salted caramel buttercream with vanilla bean fleur de sel
5. Orange macarons 2 - milk chocolate passion fruit ganache

If you notice, I tried to make each one to have different characteristic, sweet and floral, a little tart note, bittersweet, salty, sweet and sour. I was so tempted to make another one with green color, but I had no more time and had to stop. It was hard to decide which one I like the most as each of them is so different and I love them all!


This is my first time making salted caramel buttercream and I had no idea how it should taste, or how salty and sweet it should be. I was using salted butter and whipped it until light, then added the caramel I made. I think the sweetness is there, but it was a tad too salty, so I need to add more caramel next time. The tahitian vanillie fleur de sel on the top of the macaron added more saltiness to it, so I guess I really should add more caramel. I'm loving this combination and you bet I will make this flavor more in the future, maybe in the cake form.


I made the passion fruit milk chocolate ganache before, but ended up throwing it away because I thought it tasted weird. The passion fruit puree was so tart and that even the sweetness of milk chocolate couldn't compromise for it. I really want to try it again ever since, especially knowing that this flavor combo is so popular, even in Pierre Herme's shop! I added some sugar to the ganache this time and I think it was perfect! Love it!


I ended up with lots of leftover of course but my friends and family were at least more than happy to gobble them up during our Christmas Eve dinner. I recall one of them at least had ten in one sitting and wouldn't stop if we didn't stop him. We brought the leftover macarons (that we specifically reserved on purpose) on our road trip a few days after.

After this, I'm more excited to see what other flavor pair I can come up with and the possibilities are endless! So stay tuned to see what's next. How exciting!

Basic macaron recipe:

150 g almond powder
150 g confectioners' sugar
56 g fresh egg whites, room temperature
150 g granulated sugar
40 ml water
55 g old egg whites, room temperature

Sift the almond powder and confectioners' sugar together. Set aside.

Combine the granulated sugar and the water in a saucepan and cook until it reaches 245F. Don't stir the syrup as you will end up with crystallized mass.

Meanwhile, while the sugar is cooking, start whipping the aged egg white on medium speed until it forms a soft peak. When the sugar is ready, pour the cooked syrup in a steady stream over the meringue with the mixer running on slow. It will splatter, but don't try to scrape them into the meringue as you would get lumps. Increase the speed to high and continue beating until you have a stiff glossy meringue.

Mix the fresh egg white with the almond-sugar mixture and blend together. Fold in the meringue into this almond mixture in addition. Add about a third of the meringue and fold progressively, then proceed with another third of the meringue and fold it in. Don't overfold the batter as you would have a gloppy mess. Consistency is really important at this point, some people say that it should flow like a lava (I don't know how lava flows though). If you're not sure, try piping a little dollop and see if it leaves a peak that will not spread or if it spreads too fast. You should still see a little peak after you pipe, but the peak should disappear or almost disappear after you pipe a row of them.

Put the batter in a piping bag with round tip (I used a tip with approximately 9mm in diameter) and pipe the macaron batter on top of silpat or parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake at 325F for about 14-15 minutes. Once baked, slide the silpat or parchment paper onto a wire rack to cool slightly. Peel each macaron shell carefully.

You can fill them with ganache or flavored buttercream. Keep it in an airtight container in the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for a few minutes to soften up before consuming.

Milk Chocolate Passion Fruit Ganache
adapted from here

100 grams milk chocolate
40 grams passion fruit puree
20 grams heavy cream
sugar to sweetened it slightly
15 grams butter

Chop the milk chocolate into small pieces. Boil the passion fruit, heavy cream, and sugar together and pour over chocolate. Stir until incorporated and the ganache forms. Wait a couple of minutes for the ganache to cool a bit and add the softened butter. Stir to create and emulsion. Let it harden a bit until it is pipeable and fill the macarons.


Rose Italian Meringue Buttercream:

1/2 cup plus 1 Tbs. sugar (115 g)
1/4 cup water (60 ml)
4 egg whites, at room temperature
4 sticks unsalted butter, cut in cubes and at room temperature
rose water, to taste
  • Combine the water and the sugar in a small saucepan and boil on medium heat until the temperature reaches 235 F (softball stage)
  • When the temperature reaches around 230 F, starts whipping the egg whites until it has somewhat a soft peak in a stand mixer
  • When the sugar syrup has reached the desired temperature, turn off the heat and poor into the egg whites with the mixer still running on a medium-high speed (don't pour the syrup on the beater as it will splatter)
  • Keep on whipping until the bowl has cooled down to about room temperature
  • Add the cubes of butter a little at a time, waiting until the previous one is fully incorporated before adding another
  • Whip until the buttercream is soft and creamy
  • Add rose water to the taste and mix well.

Gianduja Ganache with Hazelnut Praline
no measurement was used when making this

dark chocolate
heavy cream
sugar
gianduja paste
hazelnut praline

Salted Caramel Buttercream
100 g sugar
115 g heavy cream
15 g + 70 g salted butter
  • Add some sugar in a saucepan, let this melt and add more sugar until you've used all of it
  • Let it caramelized until it has a dark amber color
  • Add 15 g of unsalted butter
  • Add the heavy cream. Be careful when doing this as the mixture will bubble and splatter
  • Continue cooking until it reaches 108 C
  • Remove from the heat and let it cool to room temperature (putting it in an ice bath helps the process to be faster)
  • Beat the remaining 70g of salted butter until creamy, then add the cooled caramel. Note: I didn't add all of them because I was afraid it's gonna be too sweet, but in the end, I should have added a little bit more because the end result was a bit on the salty side

27 comments:

Miriam said...

Wow, stunning array!

Zoe said...

I'm very impressed with your perfectly "crafted" macarons. They are so beautiful.

La Roquette said...

This is AMAZING... im dying to try these recipe... :) love the photography, Just prrrrrfect

Paris Pâtisseries said...

Very well done. So uniform and with such nice feet! I can't imagine making so many in such a short span of time, so color me impressed ;)

Beth said...

These are gorgeous, and the flavors sound fantastic. I've been wanting to make macarons for a long time, and your recipes might just be the catalyst I needed!

oliverde said...

Just stumbled across your blog: WOW! The macarons look amazing! Great photos, great colors.

Anonymous said...

Your macarons look simply amazing!!! And quite tasty too... I love macarons, so believe me, I've tried quite a few :)
This winter while in Paris I was disappointed by some I got from Pierre Hermé ( if interested, check them out here.) Yours seem much nicer.

Wilde in the Kitchen said...

What a pretty group of macarons. I love the pastels. I usually make one variety at a time, I couldn't handle making this many at once! Maybe once I get my technique down.

Jean said...

Beautiful macarons! Nice to see another bay area blogger, too. :-)

lynne said...

Wow. You are amazing. They look so beautiful!

Sara said...

The colors are so pretty!

CIA-Cooking In An Apron said...

I love the look of your macaroons!

Tiffany said...

beautiful macarons! may I ask what you used to color them? liquid or powdered dye?

Oak Dining Set said...

Yummy! Very cute macarons. Looks delicious perfect for giveaways.

Karlisha Gray said...

Beautiful and they look like they taste awesome!!!!!!!!!!!

If your selling I'm buying just time me how much

Sakya said...

Thank you they are so beautiful
I keep your blog on my favorite list

Sakya

Hannah S. said...

Wow! These are amazing!

Anonymous said...

Great pictures! I made your recipe and it was a success. I had feet! I will try your other flavors and fillings.Imake 24 meringue patties. I left the patties on my counter for one hour to have that thin film. Baked it at 325 for 13 mins. I switched the making try midway thru baking for even baking even though I had convection oven. Thanks

Bertha said...

Anonymous: I'm very glad to hear that you had a great success making it! I hope you will enjoy it as much as i do :)

Passion Delight said...

Love all your pics and all the desserts! For the macrons do you use gel food coloring or color food powder? Thanks

Bertha said...

Passion Delight: Thanks! I use gel food coloring for my macarons

Passion Delight said...

I been trying to look for passion fruit puree here in SJ and no luck. Can you suggest some places to get them. All your macarons looks amazing!!

Bertha said...

I got my passion fruit puree from Marina, Asian grocery store in South SJ in the frozen section, they are really cheap! Not all Marina stores have them. I also got my puree from bakery supply warehouse in Burlingame, but you'd have to order it first though

Passion Delight said...

Thank You so much :)

fiercefoodie said...

Beautiful! I've had some success with the uncooked sugar method and really want to get into the italian version because they have a look that is pretty rare when i scour the web for the french method. stunning! I am a little confused by the recipe though. Please clarify the steps to adding the meringue to the almond-sugar mixture and what I should see in the in between steps. Thank you!!

Bertha said...

fiercefoodie: to mix the meringue into the almond-sugar mixture, put some of the meringue in, and mix thoroughly (you will need to be a little rough with this). Once that's mixed, add the rest of the meringue in 2-3 additions and fold well.

When you first mix the meringue, the batter will feel very heavy and sticky, but should lighten up a little once you fold in the meringue

Rafael said...

This is great!