4.04.2012

Grapefruit Macarons

03.28.12 

I love macarons! I haven’t had that many compared to some, but I’m a goner when I see pretty looking ones in a display case at a pâtisserie (ie. La Bamboche). Here’s me trying grapefruit macarons. 
Yes I know I've got major room for improvement! The taste was good though..;)

My friend was having an end of the year potluck in his French class (YES to people pursuing French! C’est une langue tellement belle qui devrait être connue par chaque Canadien. ;D) and he asked me if I wanted to help him concoct a “dessert". I’m game.



Naturally, I decided to challenge myself by baking macarons. Last time, I slightly failed at the miette recipe for pistachio macarons so I decided to thoroughly research a tried-and-true basic macaron recipe (at the bottom). With a few tweaks, I was hoping to come out with grapefruit macarons.
My versioni of the recipe...I enjoy writing them out by hand. Not sure why.
  

Sorry, I feel like this will be a wordy post. Seriously though, macarons are not easy to make; each step has a tremendous amount of technique to it. So the next time your friend complains about the price, you should challenge them to a macaron-off! ;) Who knows, maybe they’re naturally talented and you’ll get some awesome macarons out of it!

 
To age egg whites, I left them out at room temperature for several hours, covered with plastic wrap. Supposedly you can age them for up to 3 days (in the fridge, then return to room temp by setting them out). 




Swiss Buttercream: I went a bit overboard with the vanilla bean and put in an entire vanilla bean’s worth of scrapings. ^_^  It wasn't overpowering though. Probably because I had the beans from a few months ago.




So first four ingredients—egg whites + sugar + salt + vanilla bean scrapings—go into a bowl over warm water. There will be some foaming action as it warms up. Whisk frequently to avoid cooked egg whites on the sides. 




The egg whites mixture whips up really nicely! Just be careful if you’ve got a stainless steel bowl like me.




If your butter isn’t completely at room temperature, the bowl will act like a styrofoam cup, insulating the cold from the butter and you’ll get a curdled mixture. Don’t worry, just pop some of the mixture into the microwave, add it back in, whip, and you should be good to go. ;D




Grapefruit macaron time! I don’t have almond powder so I made do with ground almonds. Yeah no that didn’t fly so well. In the bottom right photo you’ll see my sketch mortar and pestle contraption (ladle + bowl) to grind up the big pieces of almonds that still remained. Avoid the hassle and get your hands on almond powder! ;)




The ingredients for macarons aren’t expensive at all! It’s the prep time and skill required that makes them so delicate and valuable. 




Mardi of “eat.live.travel.write.” made it super easy-to-follow in her instructions. 2 min on every speed as follows: 2, 4, 6, 8. Add you flavourings, then 1 min at the highest speed (speed 10). The egg whites will be stiff at this point. I think you’re supposed to use food colour powder instead of the liquid drops but I didn’t have the former. 




The “macaronage” stage is also very testy. It’s the stage where you fold in the dry ingredients into the wet. You want to press the air out of the mixture. Even though I folded exactly 40 strokes, I think I should’ve done a few more since there was still more air in the mixture than is preferred. 




Piped onto my Silpat. Here’s where I missed a crucial step (step 12). I forget to rap the tray!! This meant that I didn’t force the air from the macaron mixture to rise to the top…and subsequently I got cracked macarons as you’ll see. :( booo!




About three-quarters of the shells were cracked. So sad. 




I didn’t tweak the vanilla swiss buttercream in any way, just re-whipped and piped. 




The taste, I seriously am not bragging (my friend and his classmates gave their stamp of approval!!), was bang-on. Bright grapefruit flavour contrasted with the light texture of both the macaron and buttercream. 



 
Unfortunately, there were several blunders. Gotta remember to rap the tray next time plus check the baking time. I left them in there an extra minute and the bottoms were browned. The following morning, I woke up early again to attempt green tea pistachio macarons…that post’ll come soontimes! ;D

P.S. They truly do taste better overnight!! :D

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Grapefruit Macarons (adapted from Mardi Michels, adapted from Stella Parks)
makes 20
58 g    almond powder
115 g  icing sugar
72 g    egg whites (approx 3)
36 g    granulated sugar
½ tsp   grapefruit zest
3 drops red food colouring
5-6 drops yellow food colouring


1.      Line a baking tray with parchment paper or cookie sheet.
2.      Prepare a 14” piping bag with a plain tip; twist the bag at the tip end and place inside a tall glass to facilitate filling the bag.
3.      Combine almond flour and powdered sugar in a food processor, pulsing about 10 times for a few seconds, until all ingredients thoroughly incorporated.
4.      Sift dry ingredients twice using a fine sieve and pressing the mixture through with your hands and set aside.
5.      Use stand mixer beat egg whites and sugar at a low speed (speed 4) for 2 min, medium speed (speed 6) for 2 min and a high speed (speed 8) for 2 min. The egg whites will be very stiff at this point.
6.      Add grapefruit zest and red/yellow food colouring (as desired) and mix 1 min at the highest speed (speed 10).
7.      Add all the dry ingredients to the egg whites at once.
8.      Fold the mixture, pressing it against the sides of the bowl to deflate the mixture. Fold about 40 times (count single strokes), stopping every couple of strokes after 25 to check the consistency. It should be lava-like, flowing in ribbons off the spatula.
9.      Transfer the mixture to the piping bag, sealing the open end with a twist and holding firmly with the hand that won’t be actively piping.
10. If using parchment paper, pipe 4 tiny dots under the corners of the paper to make sure it stays put.
11. Pipe macarons, holding the piping tip at an angle to the baking sheet, about 2 cm in diameter (they’ll spread); quickly removing the tip when you have finished piping, making a shape like a comma.
12. Rap the tray 3-4 times on a hard surface. Air bubbles will come to the surface.
13. REST the trays of macaron shells for 30 min before baking. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 320˚F.
14. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 12 min, turning the tray from back to front halfway through.
15. Remove from oven and let the tray sit for a few min.
16. Remove the parchment/cookie sheet from the tray and allow to sit on a cool surface for at least 30 min, then remove macaron shells to a cooling rack.
17. Store in an airtight container overnight.
18. Pair up like shells to facilitate the filling process.
19. Once completely cool, fill with ganache or cream filling of your choice.
20. Best enjoyed 24 hours after filling 

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Swiss Buttercream (adapted from Stella Parks)
Makes 3 cups
3 oz     egg whites, room temp
3 oz     sugar
tsp   salt
½         vanilla bean, scraped
275 g  unsalted butter, room temp

1.      Combine first 4 ingredients together in a clean bowl.
2.      Set bowl over a pan of water and turn the heat on medium low. (Don’t need to simmer, just hot enough to steam)
3.      Whisk frequently; get the mixture to at least a 145° (food safety reasons).
4.      Remove from heat and whip on med-high til doubled in volume and snowy white.
5.      Continue whipping until the meringue is cool. Feel temp of bowl; it should be perfectly cool to the touch with no trace of warmth.
6.      On med-low, add butter one chunk at a time.
7.      Finally, splash in some vanilla extract as desired.. 

**The buttercream freezes beautifully. To use: Divide into thirds. Melt 2/3 of the buttercream completely (microwave or water bath), and then put it on the mixer to whip on low speed with the remaining 1/3 that is still frozen. If the mixture seems slightly curdled, it’s still too cold. Take out about 1/4 cup, melt it, and add it back into the mix. 
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4 out of 5 NOMs
nomnomnomnom

3 comments:

  1. These look beautiful - well done! (I might add that it looks as though your batter might have needed a few more strokes before piping out as well as the rapping the trays it might have prevented the cracks and help the feet rise higher). I can't wait to see the green tea ones!

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    1. Thank you!! That's what I figured out too! lol except the epiphany came too late. The green tea ones are a little better. Had another blunder, this time with the egg whites.. :S

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