Friday, 14 February 2014

Strawberries and Champagne Macarons

Happy Valentine's Day everyone!! I hope you all love someone and are loved by someone as well.
So, I tried to make macarons for the first time! It was not so difficult but if I had paid more attention to the recipe I think they would have turned out better. Firstly, I didn't have a food processor so, my macarons ended up having crumbly texture and I think I should have folded them a little more. But if you don't make mistakes, you don't learn. There is always next time. The taste was very very nice at least and they had the right consistency inside and the champagne ganache is amazing, just make sure that you use a kind of champagne/sparkling wine that you like and something that is on the sweet side. The appearance could be better but there's always next time. Anyway, I will surely make macarons again and experiment with different flavours and follow the instructions carefully. Here is the recipe that I used:

Strawberries and Champagne Macarons

For the shells:

Recipe from the book Macarons by Cecile Cannon

250 g (2 ¾ cups) almond flour
350 g (2 ¾ cups) icing sugar
6-8 egg whites (1 cup) at room temperature
150 g (¾ cup) granulated sugar
5 to 7 drops food coloring paste (optional)

For the champagne ganache:

Recipe from here

½ cup double cream
¼ cup champagne
120 g white chocolate

For the strawberry filling:

1 cup strawberries diced
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon corn starch
1 teaspoon vanilla sugar


For the egg whites, it would be better if you divide your eggs 1-2 days before put them in the fridge and let them stay in room temperature for  few hours.
Line 2-3 baking sheets with parchment paper. Blend the almond flour with the icing sugar in a food processor to make a fine powder (I don't own one so I couldn't do that). Sift the mixture through a strainer until it is as fine as you can get it.
Place the egg whites and the salt in your mixer bowl and beat with the wire whip attachment, starting slowly and then increasing the speed as the egg whites start to rise. Add the granulated sugar and the food coloring. Beat until the egg whites form stiff peaks and the meringue is firm and shiny. You should be able to turn it around and it shouldn't fall.
Pour the meringue into the almond mixture and gently fold them in using a rubber spatula. Move your spatula from the bottom to the edges with one hand, using the other hand to rotate the bowl. Now hit the spatula against the rim of the bowl until the batter falls in a wide ribbon when you raise the spatula. When you cant see any crambs of almond flour (oops here) and the mixture is shiny and flossy you are ready to start piping.
Fill your pastry bag with a number 8 tip. Start by squeezing a small amount of batter on your parchment-lined baking sheet to form a circle. I had already drawn 4 cm circles on paper, and placed it under the parchment paper so that they will all be the same size. Be sure to leave a few cm of space bewtween the macarons, so that they will not touch each other while they bake.
If the peak that forms on the macaron doesn't dissapear after piping it means the batter could have been beaten a little more.
To eliminate the peaks tap the baking sheet on the tabletop, making sure to hold the parchment paper with your thumb. Let the piped macarons rest for 15-30 minutes. Preheat your oven to 160°/ 320° F. Bake for 14 minutes. After the first 5 minutes open the ovn door briefly to let the steam out. Let the macarons cool completely on a rack before removing them from the parchment paper. Press the bottom of a cooled baked macaron with your finger. It should be soft. If it is hard reduce the baking time 1 minute for the rest of your macarons.

For the champagne ganache:
Heat the cream with the champagne in a small saucepan until small bubbles form. Remove from heat and let it rest for about an hour. Chop the chocolate in small pieces and place it in a bowl. Reheat the cream gently and pour over the chocolate. Let it stay for 2-3 minutes and then stir with a rubber spatula until it comes together. Put in the fridge and let it set overnight.

For the strawberry filling:
Put all the ingredients except the corn starch in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and microwave it for 2 minutes. Add the corn starch stir and put in the microwave uncovered for one more minute. Let it cool.

To assemble the macarons:
It would be better if the shells are chilled. I had them in the fridge overnight like the ganache. Take a cookie and pipe a circle of ganache and in the middle put some strawberry mixture. Then cover with another cookie. Don't press hard, the macarons are very easy to break. If you put too much filling it will spill and if you put too little it will seem like there is nothing inside when you eat it. To store keep them chilled in an airtight container and leave in room temperature before you serve. I hope you have good luck!!

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