Thursday, March 4, 2010

Le Macaron

Photo by Our Labor of Love

Macaroons or les macarons are most often associated with the French, while they are actually said to have originated in Italy and made their way to France with Catherine de Medici and her team of pastry chefs in the 16th century. Today, if you walk the streets of Paris, the windows of les p√Ętisseries are filled with playful macaroons of all colors, thanks to Catherine. Making a macaroon is not necessarily difficult, it just requires patient preparation and some creativity.

Photo by Rinne Allen

Shae's Macarons

Basic Ingredients:
Almond Flour (sometimes tough to find, if you are in town, come by Five & Ten and we can order some for you!)
Egg Whites
2 Piping bags (fitted with a #4 plain tip
2 sheet pans lined 2 sheets of parchment paper

Almond Macarons
125 grams Almond Flour
225 grams Powdered Sugar
100 grams Egg Whites (room temp)
1 pinch Cream of tartar
25 grams Sugar

* All in grams because macarons are delicate and you do need to be exact when making them.
1. Sift the almond flour and powdered sugar together
2. In a Kitchen Aid whisk the whites starting on low
3. When they begin to froth add the tartar and up the speed to medium
4. When there is no "liquid" left and the whites begin to get shape, add the sugar slowly
5. Increase the speed to medium high and whisk to medium glossy peaks
6. Add food coloring to desired color
7. Scoop mixture into a large bowl and fold in the powedered sugar and almond flour in five small batches
8. Scrape this mixture into a piping bag (fitted with a #4 plain tip) and pipe onto sheet pans lined with parchment. Pipe 1 inch circles with the tip about 1/2 inch above the surface.
9. Allow pans to rest for 30 minutes so that a skin develops
10. Preheat oven to 300 F
11. Bake at 300 F for 5 minutes

Color Variations:
Chocolate: add 5 grams of cocoa powder with the almond flour

Mathca (Green): add 1.5 tsps Matcha powder (really good with white chocolate ganache, see below)

Raspberry (Pink): add 2 tsps ground raspberry powder (use dehydrated raspberries and grind them in a spice machine).

While the macarons are resting, make filling.

Basic Chocolate Ganache:
4 ounces Semisweet Chocolate
4 ounces Heavy Cream

White Chocolate Ganache:
4 ounces White Chocolate
2 ounces Heavy Cream

Milk Chocolate Ganache:
4 ounces Milk Chocolate
2 ounces Heavy Cream

Bring heavy cream to a boil and pour over chopped chocolate. Allow to sit for a minute and then whisk until smooth. Allow to set up and then whisk more to thicken.

Spoon ganache into piping bag. Place small amount on the flat end of the cooled macaron and then sandwich another on top.

Photo by Rinne Allen

For more macaron inspiration, check out this book, I Love Macaron by Hisako Ogita, recently published by Chronicle Books. Cool pictures and layout, fun combinations. Shae found some of the techniques to not work as well as hers, but a helpful book nonetheless.

Click here to buy I Love Macaron at Amazon.
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