We're talking colours and folding mixtures today.
Recently, I've had loads of leftover egg whites. A whole container full of it stashed somewhere in the back of the fridge because mummy and I have been baking so much Kueh Lapis. In case you guys don't know how much eggs each recipe calls for, it's 15 eggs and you can do the math. Since it's been awhile since I last made macarons and my family loves to have little nibbles of them in between the day and after meals, I thought I'd resume my place as the resident pastry chef of Casa Eng.
I have also been trying my ultimate best to clear my pastry pantry and I figured I'd put my previously wrongly bought but lovely frozen IQF groseilles (red currants) to good use by making a confiture out of it. As for the shells, I've always wanted to make a dual-toned macaron but I never did because it can be a little tricky.
Thing about making macarons is that arriving at near perfect ones is in itself, très très très difficult. I think everyone who's attempted to make macarons, or who even are experienced at making them, can all agree they're extremely hard to understand and some of the most difficult things to achieve with splendid results. So to make two different colours using the same batter, just complicates things a lot more. Especially since we do everything in small amounts at home that if you split the batter in two and colour them separately, there's going to be lots of mixing to do which might cause:
1. an over mixed batter, (which leads to)
2. a batter too watery, (which results in)
3. flat and massive macarons with ugly feet hanging out
But being the very bold me that I am, I decided to risk it and devised a way to control the consistency of the batter by making sure it doesn't get too runny from all that folding and I am thrilled! by how they turned out pretty close to perfection. All it takes is patience, a good eye, and my little tip on how to do so! ;)
I included the red currant confiture because macarons by themselves are so sweet that I always love to have something acidic to balance all that sugar out. It sometimes can be quite toothachingly painful and I am honestly glad I did because the vanilla ganache that I adapted from Pierre Hermé was ridiculous. That probably isn't his real recipe anyway. But I fret not because J just handed me his lovely base ganache recipe for me to play with in the future. It's so nice, light, and isn't overly sweet. I can't wait to experiment with it.
Once you've incorporated the last of the Italian meringue into your almond-icing sugar mixture, instead of knocking the air out and getting a ribbon consistency, just fold it till it's homogeneous because once you separate it out into two to add in the colourings, you are going to have to keep mixing it to evenly distribute all that colour.
When the colouring is added in, start by folding to distribute the colour so that you won't knock so much air out at the beginning and it gives you more leeway to mix more in the later part should you need to.
i.e in case there's not enough colouring
People always think if you just let the batter sit there, it's bad for it because it will go watery. However, that is not true because with the incorporation of the Italian meringue, you have a pretty stable mixture. It isn't like the french meringue where it splits easily and goes all liquid on you. What I did was to mix one color first, pipe it all out, leave it to rest for about 10 minutes and start baking them. Only towards the end of the baking time of the last tray or so, I start to mix my other shell to a ribbon consistency and start piping them out. Why?
Depending on your recipe and if you do macaronage, which is the vigorous mixing of the batter to knock the air out so you get a ribbon consistency, you don't have to wait till the shells are completely dry. In fact within 10 minutes (when the surface is till slightly wet to touch), you should already start baking them. Once it forms a crust and you put them into the oven, the "crust" separates from the rest of the batter and you're left with pretty ugly looking macaron shells.
Try to use powdered hydrosoluble colouring as it's a lot better and you get beautiful colours out of them. Even better if it's intense colouring since a small amount tints the batter very well and we all don't like to use too much food colouring.
After a day of aging in the refrigerator, these were just absolutely wonderful! The texture was amazing, they look beautiful and tasted smashing. Slightly on the sweet side but it was much more do-able with my confiture in it. It's the holidays for the majority of the people in Singapore right now so take this time to make a round of these fantastic macarons!
Also, in case you're wondering how I did the shimmer brush stroke across the top of the macaron shells, it's basically good scintillant (shimmer) mixed with some alcohol because alcohol evaporates very fast and it leaves you with a completely dry shell after.
I coudn't wait to the next day to take a photo of the cross-section so I cut it nicely into half. As you can tell from the photo it doesn't look very matured in texture yet but I assure you it was such a delight to bite into when I tried them today! But as you can see, no air gaps. Just lovely!
J'adore!! I hope you lovely folks out there are just as captivated as I am with these Vanilla + Red Currant Macarons. I mean visually, it's stunning. Tastewise, amazing. So try yours out today! ♥
On a side note, to everyone around this globe who's in celebration of this year's Lunar New Year and happen to read my blog as well, have a lovely lovely galloping and blessed start to this (马) horse year.
Vanilla + Red Currant Macarons:
For the Shells:
almond powder - 300g
icing sugar - 300g
egg white - 220g
caster sugar - 300g
water - 75g
colouring (optional) I left one batter plain and the other coloured in Rouge Fraise
For the Vanilla Ganache:
(best to make a day in advance)
tahition vanilla pods (or any good vanillas) - 1 no.
vanilla bean paste - 2 tsp
cream - 200g
valrhona white chocolate - 220g
For the Red Currant Confiture:
(best to make a day in advance)
frozen IQF red currants - 500g
water - 175g
sugar - 225g
yellow pectin (or jam pectin) - 3g
lemon juice - 3g
For the Ganache:
Scrape the vanilla beans out from the pod and add it to the cream. Add in the vanilla bean paste as well. Leave to infuse for about 10 minutes.
Heat the infused cream till it boils and with a strainer set over your chocolate, pour the heated milk over it in 2 additions. Mix using a spatula till smooth and emulsified. Using an immersion blender, blend the ganache till it is completely free of bubbles and smooth. Pour it over a tray, cling wrap upon contact and refrigerate till hardened.
For the Confiture:
Portion the sugar into two. 200g and 25g.
In a saucepan, combine the water and the 200g of sugar and boil over medium high heat till 118C.
Mix the remaining 25g of sugar together with the pectin and set aside.
Once the sugar syrup is at 118C, add in your frozen red currants till all the juices have been released and then sprinkle in your sugar-pectin mixture while whisking constantly. Boil it over medium heat till 104C. Be careful as the mixture may bubble quite violently and splatter about. Once it has reached the desired temperature, take it off the heat and stir in the lemon juice. Using an immersion blender, blend the mixture while it's hot till smooth and strain out all the seeds. Transfer into a bowl and cling wrap it upon contact. Refrigerate it till ready for use or store in the freezer for up to 1 month.
For the shells:
Prepare several trays (about 4-5) and line it with silpat (recommended) or baking paper.
Combine your colouring, sifted almond powder and icing sugar together in a bowl big enough to hold the meringue later on.
Half the egg whites and place 110g in the bowl of a standing mixer and the other 110g together with your dry ingredients. Using a spatula, briefly combine it together.
In a saucepan, combine your sugar and water together and heat to 118C. Once your syrup reaches 115C, you can start whisking your egg whites on high. Once the syrup hits 118C, take it off the heat and wait till the bubbles disappear. Pour in the syrup slowly, streaming it down from the side of the bowl. Let it whisk till it cools to about (40-50)C.
Working in three additions of the meringue, add the one-third of the meringue into your almond-sugar paste and mix vigorously till well combined and the mixture loosens up. Add in the second third and start folding the mixture. Add in the third and fold till the mixture is thick, airy and almost heaving.
Separate the batter into two bowls and set one of it aside, plain and untouched.
In the other bowl, add in your colouring (depending on how red you want the shell to be) and fold it gently till homogeneous. Once you've achieved your desired colour, knock the air out till you get a ribbon consistency. The mixture should be shiny, glossy and pretty runny. It should flow down nicely and continuously when you lift your spatula from a height.
Preheat your oven to 160C with fan, top and bottom heat.
Using a plain round nozzle of about 11 or 12mm, pipe rounds of 3cm (not too much as they will spread) and space them at least 2cm apart. Once you have piped an entire tray, tap it lightly to remove the air bubbles in it and flatten them slightly. Set it aside for 10 minutes and continue piping the rest of the trays.
Bake for about 12-13 minutes till it’s firm on top and the feet don’t wriggle too much. Remove the silpat/baking paper from the hot tray and place it directly on a cool surface.
Repeat for the rest of the trays.
Once your last tray of the coloured macarons are in the oven, start folding the the plain batter that was set side in the other bowl. Likewise, knock the air out till you get a ribbon consistency. The mixture should be shiny, glossy and pretty runny. It should flow down nicely and continuously when you lift your spatula from a height. Repeat all the steps as you did for the first round of coloured shells.
Once they’re cool, you can start removing them from the silpats and match their sizes. One white shell for one red shell.
Pipe a ring of the vanilla ganache on the edge of one half of the macaron shell and fill the centre with the confiture, after which sandwich with the other half. You may decorate it however you like or leave them plain. Leave to chill in the refrigerator overnight.
// Note: Macarons are best eaten at least a day old in the fridge. //
// Note II: For long term storage, you may fill them and freeze them for several months and thaw them in the refrigerator the day before serving. //