Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Ispahan macarons

One of Pierre Herme originality,the Lychee, Rose & Raspberry macaron but I added a twist because I didn't have enough raspberries, I used fresh strawberries as well with the frozen raspberries I had left over.I would be frank about this beautiful french sweet,I had a crazy time doing this. Firstly, not knowing the right temperature to bake these macarons was a trial & error thing for me, then came the lychee and rose ganache.The ganache was a disaster,I wasted so much because the ganache went wrong. I was my fault for using normal eating chocolate instead of the usual couverture chocolate used. I made my own lychee and rose filling in the end because the ganache did not set. Even the raspberry & strawberry jelly did not set.But the taste was pretty alright and it did come out good for a first timer.

excuse the slight crack,I was testing the perfect temperature for the macarons.
Adapted from Pierre Herme: Macarons ( I only made half the recipe) & Poh's Kitchen
For the raspberry and strawberry jelly:
210g raspberries + strawberries
40g caster sugar
2 leaves of gelatine weighing 2g each

For the macaron shells:
150g sifted ground almonds*
150g sifted icing sugar
55g 'liquefied' egg whites**
red food colouring paste
150g caster sugar
75g water
55g 'liquefied' egg whites

For the lychee & rose buttercream
150g unsalted butter
100g icing sugar
7 lychees (from a tin),squeeze excess syrup out from the lychees
2 drops oil based rose essence

* make sure you have 150g of sifted almond meal, the coarser grains from the almond meal can be used in other recipes.

** liquefied egg whites are aged egg whites meaning that egg whites kept in the fridge for several days, egg whites will lose their elasticity.I used frozen egg whites. I normally keep extra egg whites in the freezer until needed.

1 egg white = 30g

For decorations:
edible dust
sugar sprinkles
  1. Start by preparing the raspberry jelly.Soak the gelatine leaves in cold water to soften. Using a hand blender,blend the raspberries, strawberries and sugar to a puree. Strain the puree to remove the pips. Heat a quarter of the puree to 45 C. Drain and dry the gelatine and add to the hot puree. Stir and add the rest of the raspberry puree.
  2. Pour it into a gratin dish lined with clingflim to a depth of 4mm. Allow to cool for an hour at room temperature then put the dish into the freeze for 2 hours. Turn out the jelly and cut into 1.5cm squares. Return the jelly squares to the freezer.
  3. To make the macarons shells: Sift together the sifted almond meal and icing sugar together.Add egg whites & red colouring to the almond meal and icing sugar.Mix vigorously.
  4. Bring water and sugar to boil at 118 C. When the syrup reaches 115 C,simultaneously start whisking the second portion of egg whites to soft peaks. When the syrup reaches 118 C, pour it over the egg whites. Whisk and allow the meringue to cool down to 50 C, then fold it into the almond & icing sugar mixture. Spoon the batter into a piping bag fitted with a plain nozzle.
  5. Pipe rounds of batter with a template as a guideline underneath the parchment paper or silpat or alternatively pipe rounds of batter about 3.5cm in diameter spacing them 2 cm apart onto baking trays lined parchment paper or silpat. Slightly drop baking trays on a hard surface to get an even looking shell. Sprinkle with decorations of your preferences and leave shells to stand for at least 30 minutes or until they form a skin.
  6. Preheat oven at 150C for conventional ovens and 180C for fan forced ovens then put trays in the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes.Leave oven door slightly ajar to allow steam to escape.
  7. Remove from oven and slide the shells on to a work surface.
  8. To make lychee & rose buttercream, squeeze excess water out from the lychee. Blend lychee to a puree.Cream butter & sugar until light & fluffy, add the puree into the cream and continue to the mixture. Add your desired amount of rose essence.Start off by adding few drops at a time as the flavour of rose can be overpowering if too much essence is added.
  9. To pipe the macaron shells:Spoon buttercream into a pipping bag fitted with a plain nozzle. Pipe a mound of buttercream on to half the shells. Lightly press a square of the frozen jelly into the centre and finish with a dot of buttercream.(I found this very difficult to do and my frozen jelly was melting into the heat of Malaysia.) Top with the remaining shells.
  10. Store the macarons for 24 hours in the fridge and bring them out at point of serving.

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