I've Moved!

Friday, December 17, 2010

macarons take #2.

Hey hey hey~ Take a look at these babies! I think I've made some improvements! They look so much better than my first attempt that's for sure. These are breakfast-tea macarons with a breakfast-tea-infused bittersweet ganache.
This time, the shells had feet, not frills. I discovered the reason behind that was not letting the piped batter sit out long enough. And, there were no cracks on the tops! Well, at least some of them didn't...
The Uglies
I have been researching on the possible reasons behind the cracks. I might have over-mixed the batter since I couldn't have under-mixed it because some turned out perfectly fine. I'm also contemplating too high an oven temperature. In my batch, those shells that didn't crack were those in the middle of the tray, away from the oven's hotspot. I might have also positioned the tray too far from the bottom. I used the middle rack but in my two tries, the tops of the shells always dries out before the bottoms finish cooking- some parts of the shells stick to the parchment paper.

The recipe I used was the same basic recipe which I cut down to a third but with the addition of 1 teaspoon of tea leaves (for a third of the recipe).

Breakfast-Tea Macarons
makes 14 macarons, 28 shells
recipe adapted from Tartelette

1 egg white
10 gr granulated sugar
67 gr powdered sugar
37 gr almonds

For the whites: the day before (24hrs), separate your eggs and store the whites at room temperature in a covered container. If you want to use 48hrs (or more) egg whites, you can store them in the fridge.
In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites to a foam, gradually add the sugar until you obtain a glossy meringue. Do not overbeat your meringue or it will be too dry. Combine the almonds and powdered sugar in a food processor and give them a good pulse until the nuts are finely ground. Add them to the meringue, give it a quick fold to break some of the air and then fold the mass carefully until you obtain a batter that flows like lava or a thick ribbon. Give quick strokes at first to break the mass and slow down. The whole process should not take more than 50 strokes. Test a small amount on a plate: if the tops flattens on its own you are good to go. If there is a small peak, give the batter a couple of turns.
Fill a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip (Ateco #807 or #809) with the batter and pipe small rounds (1.5 inches in diameter) onto parchment paper or silicone mats lined baking sheets. Sprinkle with the crushed sugar or violet petals. Preheat the oven to 280F. Let the macarons sit out for 30 minutes to an hour to harden their shells a bit and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, depending on their size. Let cool. If you have trouble removing the shells, pour a couple of drops of water under the parchment paper while the sheet is still a bit warm and the macarons will lift up more easily do to the moisture. Don't let them sit there in it too long or they will become soggy. Once baked and if you are not using them right away, store them in an airtight container out of the fridge for a couple of days or in the freezer. 

Breakfast-Tea Infused Bittersweet Ganache
recipe adapted from Chocci's

250g double cream
250g Greenbecks chocolate 66% cocoa (dark chocolate) chopped roughly
50g unsalted cold butter
4 tablespoons earl grey tea leaves

Place the chocolate in a metal bowl which is large enough to sit comfortably over a saucepan of simmering water without the base touching the water. Slowly melt the chocolate, stirring steadily.

In another saucepan (preferably at the same time) heat up the double cream with the Earl Grey tea leaves over medium heat.

Let the tea leaves infuse into the cream until the cream is a lovely milky tea colour. The cream will taste quite bitter but it will be balanced by the chocolate and the macaroon.

Strain the double cream and slowly mix into the melted chocolate. Stir until the cream has been mixed into the chocolate.
Add in the butter and stir, you can either use a hand blender or mix by hand. Apparently using a hand blender you end up with a more glossy ganache!

Pop it into the fridge to cool until it firms up a little so that it is easier to pipe into your macaroons.

The battle's not over yet...

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