Thursday, 14 April 2011

Macaron Madness

My apologies for neglecting the blog this week, I have been spending way too much time in the kitchen making things to even think of getting on the computer to write it! Let me just say that I'm in love with the Macaron and the Macaron bug has well and truly bit me. I think the most appealing thing about Macarons is that in terms of flavour the sky is the limit. 

My mind is just buzzing with the possible flavours and textures that I can play with and I can't wait to make them all. At this point I think it's only fair that I say a big thank you to my flavour Guinea Pigs (family, long suffering colleagues & husband's colleagues) who have devoured more than their fair share of Macarons this week without complaint. 

My Macaron breakthrough occurred on Tuesday evening when I decided to give a different shell recipe a go and for some reason everything fell in to place, suddenly making these seemed like the most simple, natural thing in the world. Making Tant Pour Tant (or TPT as it is known which is simply a mix of equal parts icing sugar and almond meal) which is then mixed with a fresh egg white, heating a sugar syrup to 115 Celsius, whisking egg whites to soft peaks, slowly adding the hot sugar syrup to the egg whites, then beating the meringue until it is impossibly thick and glossy, folding the meringue through the TPT paste, piping the shells out, leaving them to rest, baking and matching them up. 

Then comes the fun part where you get to play around with the flavour and texture of the filling. This week I've played around with making caramels, ganache & buttercreams, experiencing their different feel in the mouth, level of sweetness and adaptability. Personally I think that the salted caramel I made on Sunday was an absolute winner and very hard to beat in terms of flavour. White cholocate ganache is a little too sweet for me especially when combined with the already sweet Macaron shells but others seemed to love it. I believe the overall winner in terms of a brilliant vessel for other flavours would be the buttercream mainly because there is the ability to mediate the level of sweetness relative to the other flavours in the Macaron. Having said that I'm keen to explore the use of flavour infused marscapone, citrus curds & fruit jams. 

So without further ado please enjoy a few shots of what I have made so far this week.

White Chocolate & Raspberry Macarons

Tasty but the white chocolate made the ganache a little too sweet for me. But they do look perfect!

Fairy Bread Macarons

The idea for these actually came from a colleague of my brother's girlfriend and I have to say that they are very appealing to me, who doesn't secretly still love fairy bread?!

The little ones resting and forming their crust, I was a little concerned that the colour of the 100's & 1000's would bleed on to the mixture.

But luckily it didn't! I just love how whimsical they look.

Filled with a vanilla buttercream with more 100's & 1000's mixed through.

Yum, nuff said.

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