5.25.2014

Pistachio and Blackberry Macarons


03.29.14 
It’s been a long while since I’ve made macarons. To be perfectly honest, they sort of lost their appeal to me. It wasn’t until Macaron Day a couple of months ago that got my wheels turning again. Everyone was posting about their macaron haul and because I couldn’t make it downtown, I decided to make my own! Being so out of practice already, I figured why not make it more complicated by trying the recipe in the Bouchon Bakery cookbook? Because that sounds like a good idea.


Bouchon Bakery Cookbook (Thomas Keller and Sebastien Rouxel):


The basic recipe in the cookbook is for vanilla macarons but I wanted more “special” flavours. That’s why I went with pistachio and blackberry. For the former, I could’ve used ground pistachios in the macaron but that’d mean making two batches of macarons on top of two types of buttercreams. 


Feeling a bit lazy, I stuck with the basic macaron ingredients. Roasted pistachios, ground to a paste and used in the buttercream. I wanted to make a blackberry white chocolate ganache but with no cream at home and it being late at night, blackberry sauce in buttercream it is! Yeah, this baking adventure quickly became wrought with substitutions and adaptations. 


 
Macarons (slightly adapted from Bouchon Bakery Cookbook)
212 g     Almond flour/meal
212 g     Powdered sugar
82 g       Egg whites
90 g       Egg whites
236 g     Granulated sugar, plus a pinch for the egg whites
158 g     Water

 
1. Preheat the oven to 350oF (convection) or 400oF (standard).
2. Grind almond flour as fine as possible in a food processor.
3. Sift the almond flour and powdered sugar into a large bowl and whisk together. 
4. Mound the almond flour mixture, make a hole in the center, leaving a layer
of the flour at the bottom.
5. Pour in the 82g egg whites and combine with a spatula. Set aside.


6. Place the 90g egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the
whisk attachment.
7. Combine granulated sugar and water in small saucepan. Heat over medium-high
heat til syrup reaches 203oF/110oC. 


8. Let syrup continue to cook. Add the pinch of sugar to the egg whites and whip to soft peaks.
9. If the whites reach soft peaks before the syrup reaches 248oF, reduce the speed
to the lowest setting, just to keep them moving. 


10. When syrup reaches 248oF/120oC, remove the pan from the heat. Turn the mixer on
medium-low speed; slowly adding the syrup, pouring it between the side of the
bowl and the whisk; the meringue will deflate. 
11. Increase speed to medium and whip 5 min, til stiff, glossy peaks.
Although the bowl will still be warm to the touch, the meringue should have cooled;
If not, continue to whip until it’s cool. 


12. Fold one-third of the meringue into the almond mixture, then continue adding
the whites a little at a time (you may not use them all) until when you fold a portion
of the batter over on itself, the “ribbon” slowly moves. 
I’m still struggling with getting the right viscosity in this macaronage stage. Fun. 


13. The mixture shouldn’t be so stiff that it holds its shape without moving at all, but
it shouldn’t be so loose that it dissolves into itself and doesn’t maintain the ribbon.
14. Transfer mixture to the pastry bag with the ½-inch tip. Hold the bag upright ½ inch
Above the center of one of the traced circles and pipe out enough to fill it. 
Used gel food colouring to colour the batter in preparation for the two different macarons flavours I'll realize.

 
15. Lift away the pastry bag and fill the remaining circles on the first pan.
16. Lift up the sheet pan and tap the bottom of the pan to spread the batter evenly
and smooth any peaks left by the pastry bag. 



17. If using a convection oven, bake 8-10min, til the tops are shiny and crisp. If using a
standard oven, place the sheet pan in the oven, immediately lower the oven  temperature
to 325oF, and bake for 9-12 min, til the tops are shiny and crisp. Set the pan on a cooling
rack and cool completely. If using a standard oven, preheat it to 350oF again.
18. Pipe the remaining meringue mixture into the circles on the second sheet pan and
bake as directed above. Let cool completely. 


Filling:
19. Place buttercream in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment
and mix on medium-low speed until smooth and fluffy. Scrape the seeds from the
vanilla bean, add them to the buttercream, and mix on low for about 30 sec to distribute
the seeds evenly. 

For the filling, I used the French buttercream recipe (also from the Bouchon Bakery Cookbook) with the addition of the pistachio paste and blackberry "jam" that I mentioned earlier.


To fill the cookies:
20. Transfer buttercream to the pastry bag with the ⅜-inch tip.
21. Remove the macarons from pachment paper. Turn half of them over.
22. Starting in the center, pipe 15g/1 tbsp of the buttercream in a spiral pattern on one
upside-down macaron, not quite reach the edges. 


23. Top with a second macaron and press gently to spread the buttercream to the edges.
Repeat with the remaining macarons and filling.
24. The macarons are best if wrapped individually in a few layers of plastic wrap and
frozen for at least 24 hrs or up to 2 weeks. 
Not ideal looking but the taste is there! Should I get to practice more often, I'll definitely get better. :)

25. Defrost in fridge for 3 hrs, then bring to room temp before serving.
26. Can be served the day they’re made or stored in covered container in fridge up to 2 days.  


I get it now. Macarons to me used to be just another food trend, a dainty patisserie enjoying its time in the spotlight. Though that is true, macarons are genuinely good. They take skill to make, the flavour possibilities are endless, they're not too sweet, crispy, creamy, it's a complete dessert! They've finally won me over.


28 comments:

  1. This is extremely helpful info!! Very good work. Everything is very interesting to learn and easy to understood. Thank you for giving information.

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