Tag Archives: Macaron

Happy New Year-Hazelnut Macarons

1 Jan

New Years started off beautifully with the sun beaming down on frost laiden Vancouver. Brrrrrr…it certainly cold outside. I hate to be the one who has to scrape the ice of the car in order to go somewhere. Vancouver was back in New Years Eve tradition yesterday as it hosted a family New Years Eve Bash complete with Music and, at the stroke of midnight, fireworks. The beauty and sounds of the fireworks could been seen and heard at Boundary Road. The streets were filled with people honking their horns shouting, “Happy New Year!!!”

To mark this festive day, I decided to make macarons again. This time I am making Hazelnut Macarons. Unlike most macarons sold outside which uses ground almonds as a base, I am using freshly toasted ground hazelnuts to make the macarons.

Key to make Hazelnut Macarons
-use stale egg whites (fresh ones will do but older egg whites produce better results)
-when boiling the sugar syrup to pour over the meringue Pierre Herme suggests boil till 118C approx 240F then pour over the egg whites while beating and cool down to 50C.
-fold the italian meringue to the almond/egg white mixture
-let the pipped macarons develop a skin prior to baking them. (Tip to help the skin develop faster, preheat the oven and place the uncooked macaron sheets ontop of the warm oven for faster results)
-Bake at 285 F

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The recipe could be found here and instead of using almonds substitute hazelnuts.

Results: The macarons were light and chewy on the inside. They have a distinct taste of hazelnuts. The recipe is a keeper.

Happy New Year!!!!

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Chocolate Entremet

2 Sep

Fascinated by the scintillating and beautiful photos seen in books by Pierre Herme and Hidemi Sugino, I have always dreamt of making a entremet myself. Hesitation always played a part as it was very taxing and time consuming since there were various steps involved. Sure Herme made it sound easy; he’s practically the king of pastry after all. With a wave of his magical whisk, another masterpiece arises. Here you have little old me, wide eyed and twitchy nosed like a mouse peering at these photos. While the popular choice was to purchase an entremet at Thomas Haas, a wonderful chef with a flair for beautiful creations, the thought lingered on the back burner; I really wanted to try my hands at it. The opportunity arose when students had to prepare a cake for decoration as mentioned from the previous post.

I first made the milk chocolate mousse by creating a sabayon. Eggs and sugar were mixed on top of a double boiler till luke warm and then whipped to light and frothy. The gelatin was then placed in cold water while the chocolate was melted. With all these mixtures taking place, it was then time to whip up the cream. The mixtures were then assembled. Gelatin sets quickly so work quickly. Next came the white chocolate mousse. The method was just the same as the milk chocolate. When it came to assembling the cake, I poured the chocolate mousse and then the white chocolate mousse. The cake was placed in the fridge to cool. Making of the chocolate glaze came next. Milk and cream were first heated up and then poured onto the dark chocolate to make the ganache. The key to glazing the entremet was to let the glaze cool but still smooth enough to coat the cake. As a tip, one could use a ladle and pour the ganache onto the cake. Once one ladled the smooth ganache onto the cake, work fast as the glaze sets rapidly on the cool cake exterior.

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I had a large cake left too. Guess what that meant :). This time I caramelized some hazelnuts to make pralined hazelnuts. Macarons were then added to create a border.

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Chocolate Glaze

200 ml Cream Whipping
60 ml Milk
110 g Sugar (I used approx. 50 g)
300 g Dark Chocolate
110 g Glucose Sugar ( I used honey)
110 g Butter

Macaron Madness 2-Pierre Herme Ispahan Macaron

19 Jun

I have always been a fan of fruit. Summer always excited me as it’s fruits galore season. What made my tummy sing were lychees and mangoes ahhhh!!! To my hearts content, I decided take on Pierre Herme again. I had a profound fondness for macarons and they always tug at my heart strings. A Parisian friend of mine raved about Herme’s wonderful rose macaron. Finally I had his book, Macarons. Herme, to me, was undoubtedly the King of Macarons. I literally drooled over the stunning photographs and couldn’t take my eyes of The Ispahan macaron as it jumped out at me. The exquisitely sweet floral combination of rose, raspberry and lychee had my lips smacking everytime I thought of it. Atlas my knees got weak but boy did my heart sing. They were such beautiful and delightful morsels with a crunch and a chew.

For the first step, rose colouring was added to the macaron mixture. I then made the jelly. While the recipe called for raspberry jelly, I opted for strawberry puree. To make square jellies, I settled on silicone molds to form the jelly first and then sliced them. Silicone molds were so verastile. Once the jelly was set, I assembled them on the macarons. The lychee rose ganache came next. Herme suggested canned lychees, I supposed for a stronger flavour, I used lychee puree instead. Cream was then boiled. The puree and rose extract were then added. The ganache would not be perfect without white chocolate.

So pretty, once they were assembled!!! One taste, had me coming back for more like Oliver. It was a delicious combination; delicately balanced as well.

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Ispahan Macaron(adapted from Pierre Herme)

Macaron
300 g almonds
300 g icing sugar
110 g egg whites
4 g approx. strawberry food colouring ( I chose to use Rose food colouring)
4 g approx. carmine red
300 g caster sugar
75 g water
110 g egg whites
NoteYou will get better volume with old egg whites as the proteins are more relaxed.

Raspberry Jelly
420g raspberries ( I opted for strawberry puree)
35g caster sugar
2 leaves of gelatin weighing 2 g each ( I used about 4 sheets as jelly did not set for me)

Lychee and Rose Ganache
410 g White chocolate (I used Valhrona and Callebaut)
400 g lychees-preserved in syrup (I used lychee puree)
60 whipping cream
3 g rose essence (I used rose extract)

To finish
100 g granulated sugar (I used red sanding sugar)
or Edible ruby glitter

As for extra shells, I used raspberry jam as filling to make raspberry macarons. I encourage you all to try Herme’s macaron recipes you won’t regret it :).

Macaron Madness-Maple Walnut Macaron

17 Jun

There was a tradition in our family, when family visits, I bake up a storm. I am planning to make two kinds of macarons for her to savour and share. Instead of traditional flavorings, Maple Walnut Macarons were made. Toasted walnut meal were substituted for almonds as they would intensify the flavour. Macarons consisted of two parts, the almond meal mixture and Italian meringue mixture. I made one after another and combined the two prior to piping them. One could use parchment paper or silicone mat, honestly both worked equally well; however, I found the silicone mat produced a better rise or foot. Feuilletine were used for decorations on top of the macaron.

Keys:
-Rest the pipped macarons at least 20 minutes prior to baking to develop a skin.
-To shorten the resting time, preheat the oven and rest the macaron sheet on top of the element.
-I found toasting and grinding the almonds in a coffee grinder produced a finer meal resulting in better texture
-Bake at 280-285F for about 15-18 minutes
-Once the macarons were baked leave them to cool down on the sheet prior to removing them

The ganache was made after the macarons were baked. There are tonnes of fillings to choose from; one could use buttercream or custard but I chose to make a ganache instead. Because the maple syrup and white chocolate were extremely sweet, I opted for maple sugar instead for a subtle maple flavour. The macarons were then assembled.

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Maple Walnut Macaron (Found here)
3 egg whites (from large eggs)
205 g powdered sugar
62.5 g almond meal
62.5 g pecan nut meal
30 g granulated sugar
Brown food coloring

Happy Macaron Baking!!!

Bye Bye Summer, Hello Fall and Macarons.

10 Oct

Sigh :(.  Summer has come and gone finally.  Gone were the warm days filled with bright sunshine, high temperatures, fireworks,  long line ups for ice cream and in their place are the shorter sun filled days, crisper air and lower temperatures at night.  Brrrrr.    The beauty of it was that Vancouver remained beautiful as it transitioned from a sunlit warm bright blue sky to a multitude of colours ranging from golden yellows, to oranges, red and dark red.  Fall was here alas.  Soon there would be kids jumping around on piles of raked leaves and having a marvelous time.  A sight that will be!!

I was in Steveston last weekend to gorge myself on food while market hopping at the last outdoor Farmer’s Market in Steveston; another sign that the seasons are changing.   Steveston has always been an attraction for me as everything was centralized.  All the fresh seafood, pastry shops, coffee bars, restaurants, parks and condos were located within a 10-15 minute walk and because of the convenience, Steveston attracted hundreds of locals almost every day or weekend for that matter.  What made it even more appealing was the Farmer’s Market that happened every two weeks.  It  was a gathering of artisan vendors stemming from jewellery, bakery and farmers showcasing what they had to offer to attract dollar signs from the public. 🙂   I got some really nice peaches for the road and boy were they plump and juicy.   Next up was walking down to Gary Point Park for a nice stroll around the seawall.

Gary Point Park was another favorite destination amongst locals, besides Pajos Fish and Chips, as evident by the number of people strolling  side by side chattering away, families lounging on the lush green grassy turf and kite fliers flying their kites while relaxing in the distant.  It was a place where individuals and I went to unwind in quiet solitude.   There was nothing more calming than to look out at the glistening water while listening to the sound of waves crashing softly onto the shoreline.  The experience was quite tranquil and serene.  As always, all good things come to an end.  I had to work that evening sniff sniff.

On the other hand once I got off work, I used what was left of my time to make more goodies.  A good way to end the week on a high note don’t you think?  I have been flipping through pages of my pastry book by Laduree recently and have been salivating at some of the morsels again.  Even worst, I found myself surfing the net looking at macaron pictures and drooling.  I think if anybody looked any closer they would see me salivating.  Pretty horrible wasn’t it?  I was like the puppy in Pavlov’s experiment, all that was missing was the bell 🙂  I guess it was time for me to make macarons again.  Well…that’s not really true, I made it for friends as well.

This time I decided to half the recipe so that I could make two types of macarons.  As a fan of caramel and chocolate, I decided to make a dark chocolate macaron with a dark chocolate caramel ganache.  Tips on making macarons could be found here https://evasbakingpassion.wordpress.com/2012/07/31/summerbiking-beaches-berry-picking-and-baking/.   The chocolate macaron batter was made  first by adding cocoa power to the almond meal and icing sugar.   Through observation, I found the batter quite thick and dry after adding the cocoa hence will reduce the cocoa next time.  The batter had to be smooth and flowing.  Nonetheless, the macarons developed feet when baking and didn’t  crack; I had somewhat succeeded.  The caramel for the dark chocolate ganache was first prepared, then combined with the ganache and piped  onto the chocolate macarons. 

For the other half of the recipe, I decided to make my favorite flavour pistachio.  I have recently been craving the aroma of fresh roasted coconut thus I made a roasted coconut ganache to go with the pistachio macaron.  In preparing to make the ganache, I first toasted the coconut, then boiled some cream and infused the coconut with the cream.  I then combined the coconut mixture to the chocolate to make the ganache.  Once the pistachio macarons where ready, I simply piped the coconut ganache onto the macarons and garnished them with raspberries.  Not bad for a weekends worth of market hopping, relaxing and baking ehh….

Chocolate Macarons adapted from Laduree

260 g ground almonds (I roasted and ground my almonds; finer texture)

2 50 g icing sugar (I sifted the icing sugar)

15 g cocoa power (I used 3.5 tablespoons)

6 egg whites

210 g granulated sugar

Enjoy!!!

Summer=Biking, Beaches, Berry Picking and Baking

31 Jul

Summer is here and what better way to enjoy the good weather by biking around town and immerse in the warm beaches and picturesque beauty of the city.  I went biking over the weekend and wow, to say the least, I have forgotten how pretty Vancouver looks in the bright warm summer sun.  Everyone was either strolling, biking, roller blading around the sea wall or basking on the beaches soaking in the warm fresh air.  Ahhh…this is life.  On top of that, it was the first night for Celebration of Lights Fireworks.  As usual, everyone and anyone who was interested in fireworks arrived early; nonetheless, that did not dissuade sun loving individuals.  I encourage anyone interested in biking to try;  just seeing the city in the summer and feeling the gentle warm breeze is amazing and relaxing.

I also went berry picking at Emma Lea Farms over the weekend.  Their fields were literally planted with hundreds of blueberry bushes; all ready for the picking.  Imagine fresh sweet plump succulent blueberries for pies, ice cream and  muffins.    Mmmm…. I can’t emphasize enough that local grown products which ripen on the vine or plant is far superior than imported ones.   As mentioned before, you get to choose the quality of the berries or fruits first hand thus picking only the biggest or brightest, most fragrant fruit.    This time I went to the pick blueberries and to get the last of the strawberries.  I was amazed by the size of the blueberries when compared to the ones from a supermarket.  The fields were swarming with enthusiastic berry pickers as evident by the packed parking lot.  Kids were skirting from bush to bush with their little pails picking berries and stuffing them in their mouths.  Smiles were everywhere.

As a bonus Emma Lea Farms also has a little booth fashioned like the early 1900’s ice cream stand which serves ice cream and sundaes for the ice cream lover; an ideal and sweet way to end the day with a wonderful refreshing treat.   Here is a link to their website and directions to get there.  http://www.emmaleafarms.com.

To end this fabulous weekend, I decided to make Macarons.  I recently bought Pierre Herme’s Macaron Book and have been salivating over the photos and recipes.  I finally had time to try one of the recipes and decided to make the Pierre Herme’s Montebello.

The keys to making macarons are as follows:

  •   temperature and humidity

.  egg whites which have been left overnight or for a few days

  • Resting time allowed for piped macarons to develop their skin prior to baking-key for a foot to develop
  • Ensure there are not lumps sift icing sugar.

I first did the green pistachio shells first.  The recipe calls for almond meal but I am a fan of pistachios and wanted a more pronounced pistachio flavor; hence I substituted pistachios for almond meal.

When making the Italian meringue, make sure you boil the sugar syrup to at least 240F prior to adding it to the egg whites and whip until medium to stiff peak.  Pipe out onto disks and let sit for least 20 minutes for skins to develop.  The resting time could be more and then bake the shells.   It was rewarding to see the feet appear at the bottom of the macarons.  It’s a sign I did not screw up :).   My next step was making the strawberry flavoured macarons.  As an addition, I added some freeze dried strawberries to the mixture to add some color and hopefully flavor.  Same methodology to the pistachio mixture and ended up with piped macarons  resting like the photo below.

Here is the recipe for Pistachio Macaron adapted from Pierre Heme:

150 g of ground almonds (I used pistachios)

150 g of icing sugar

55 g egg whites-old

1 g yellow food colouring

2 g pistachio green food colouring

150 g castor sugar (I used icing sugar)

38 g mineral water (I used water)

55 g egg whites-old

Pipe out into circles and rest form at least 20 minutes.  Touch the top of the macarons to feel for dryness.  Bake at 285-290F for about 15-20 minutues.

As for the ganache, you could really do any type of ganache.  Ganache consists of chocolate, cream, butter and flavouring.   I just happened to make a pistachio ganache.  Macarons are timing consuming to make as there are numerous steps and key points to pay attention to, but the end results are amazing.  I guess that is why bakeries charge an arm and leg for these little morsels.

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