June 3, 2013

Macarons, macarons..

Influenced these days by French Open, I'm bringing you, probably, the most famous cookie in the world, French macaron. 

Pierre Hermes macarons


The most popular French sweets actually came from Italy, precisely Venice, according to Larousse Gastronomiques. Maccherone is Italian word that describes fine paste. 


As all big secrets, recipes was hidden for long time in Monastery Cormery where, according to the legend, monks made these biscuits in the shape of monks navels. Some French cities independently started to make its own popular and unique cookie. Nuns from Nancy, Sisters Marguerite and Marie-Elisabeth started to bake their own macarons because of its strict Oder food regiment that required no meat in their diet. They became known as the 'Macaron Sisters' (Les Soeurs Macarons). In 1952, the city of Nancy honored them by giving their name to the Rue de la Hache, where the macaron was invented. The store is still there today.

Ladurée Paris


These small, round biscuits, crunchy outside and soft inside, are made basically with only three ingredients- ground almonds, egg whites and sugar and sealed together by the filling of your choice.

Ladurée Paris macarons etc..

You can't miss them in Paris , anywhere you are, they are in every bakery or supermarket,. Of course the most famous are places like Ladurée and Pierre Hermes etc... 


Ladurée store on Champs-Élysées is "The Place" where you can have the best macarons and more of the best french confectionery. Every season, this patisserie make new macaron flavour, currently that is Yuzu ginger macaron! So, if you are in Paris, it should be on your list. Whole experience, original French chic,  is imprinted in every part of this store.  Lineups there are endless, be prepared, as everywhere you go around Paris, but c'est la vie! 
Atmosphere in Ladurée

Long linup for your Parisien macaron


So, beside macaron recipes, here are few photos I took around Laduree two years ago. I promised then that I'll write more, but writing about food in France is one long chapter book and here is another episode... 


Quite similar version, but softer,with more almond flavour, relatively unknown, compared to French cookies, are Italian Amaretto morbidi, my favourite cookie, whose recipe I must add on top of all these French sweets.

There is also Spanish version of these almond cookies that are lighter, less caloric, because they don't have filling like Italian amaretti as well, but they have quite a few "spices" that made them irresistible and quite easy to make. That recipe is here too.



So which one is No1? 

Well, I have my winner - pistachio macaron, and in tennis, well... we all know who is No1 there!



Street names dedicated to Serbes in France
 






Recipes




My macarons didn't look that good like the store bought, but they tasted quite good
 

Larousse Gastronomique Macaron recipe:

350g - 11/2 cup superfine sugar
250g - 21/2 cups ground almond
4 egg whites
pinch of salt

Whip egg whites with pinch of salt and incorporate that in previously mixed sugar/almond combination. Spoon the dough on a baking pan.



My macarons had iregular shapes and no added colors



Prepare oven on 400F/200C and bake cookies for about 12 minutes. Cool on rack and start filling with favourite filling. They can be stored for days in refrigerator or longer in a freezer.

TIP: To succeed in making macarons, you need to separate their egg yolks and egg whites for at least a day and store them in the refrigerator. Bring them to room temperature one hour before start making your macarons

Speculoos macaron




If you love gingerbread cookies or European Speculoos, this is recipe for you!

 

Recipe:
450g icing sugar
250g ground almonds
200 g egg whites (5 or 6 depending on size)
50g caster sugar
2 biscuit crumbs (Specolos or gingerbread)

Filling:

200 g of biscuit Speculoos  (1/2 jar)






Mix finely in a food processor, icing sugar and ground almonds. Sift them over a large sheet of parchment paper. Whip the egg whites until stiff, by gradually increasing speed, add the sugar, spoon after spoon. Beat at high speed until stiff.
Add the sifted almond sugar mix in egg white powder, mix with spatula. The mixture should be smooth and form a "ribbon".
Put the mix in a piping bag and draw up the macarons on baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Spread biscuit crumbs at a top of each macaron.  Let "crust" 45 minutes to 1 hour on room temperature. Turn the oven to 155 to 175 C°.  Bake the macarons 12 to 14 minutes. Let it cool on a rack.
Post Speculoos paste on each half-shell of a biscuit dough (with a spoon or pastry bag). Cover with another shell. Store in a cool place for at least 24 hours before serving.





Pistachio macarons


200g caster sugar
200g ground almonds
200g icing sugar
2 x 75g egg whites at room temperature
50 ml water
100 g cream
2 egg yolks
20 g pulp pistachio

2 sachets of vanilla sugar

Mix the icing sugar and ground almonds to get the best possible and homogeneous powder. Possibly sift the mixture. In a saucepan, place 200 g of sugar and 50 ml of water. Make the sugar water mixture heated to a temperature of 118 ° C. Meanwhile Whip 75 g of white whites until firm. When the syrup reaches 118 ° C, pour without waiting on the egg whites, beating at low speed at the start to avoid splashing hot syrup. When the syrup is fully paid, beat the mixture at high speed until the mixture is lukewarm. Preheat oven to 160 ° C.
Mix the other half of the white mixture almonds /icing sugar. Add the meringue (egg whites, syrup mixture) pouring into first third and the remainder to egg whites / almond powder mix sugar /.
Mix well while lifting the weight and scraping the sides and bottom until the mixture becomes shiny. Be careful not to mix too much not to liquefy the mixture! Place the mixture into a piping bag. Prepare sheets with parchment paper.
Bake for 12 min. (14 minutes maybe 16 minutes in my oven that heats less than normal). At the exit of the oven, let cool macaroons.


Hazelnut macarons


3 egg whites
200g icing sugar
60g ground almonds
65 g ground hazelnuts
30 g powdered sugar
15 g unsweetened cocoa
hazelnut aroma

15 g praline
120 g chocolate praline
15 g of hazelnuts
40g butter:
30 g heavy cream

Process together cocoa with the icing sugar and ground almonds. Beat the egg whites until stiff than start adding spoons of sugar until "beak"appears. Then add a few drops of hazelnut flavoring and mix well.
Prepare a sheet of parchment paper on a baking sheet.
Sprinkle a little praline on half shells. Allow crust to form twenty minutes at least, or even overnight.
Bake for 15 minutes at 150 ° C. (17 to 20 minutes for larger buttons)

Chocolate ganache praline
Melt over low heat (or microwave) chocolate, broken into pieces, butter and cream. Mix well, add the chopped hazelnuts. Cool.

The assembly
Cool a bit after baking
Paste hulls macaroons in pairs with nuts and hazelnut praline ganache



Cappuccino macarons



200g caster sugar
200g ground almonds
200g icing sugar
2 x 75g egg whites at room temperature
50 ml water
Turquoise blue dye (optional)

375 g good dark chocolate
300 g full cream
15 g of freeze-dried instant coffee powder

Heat the cream with the coffee powder. Just before boiling remove from heat and add chocolate. Melt 1 to 2 minutes. Then, using a whisk, mix preparation, until blended.
Chill for at least 1 hour as the mixture should be very cold.  Keep cool.
Preparation of shells:

 Mix the icing sugar and ground almonds to get the best possible and homogeneous powder. In a saucepan, place 200 g of sugar and 50 ml of water. Make the sugar water mixture heated to a temperature of 118 ° C. Meanwhile Whip 75 g of egg whites until firm. Put the dye now, if desired. When the syrup reaches 118 ° C, pour without waiting, the egg whites, beating at low speed at the start to avoid splashing, then beat the mixture at high speed until the mixture is lukewarm.
Preheat oven to 160 ° C. Mix the other half of the dry mixture almonds /icing sugar.
Add the meringue (egg whites, syrup mixture) pouring in parts until all is used. Mix well Place the mixture into a piping bag. Prepare sheets with parchment paper. Place small mounds of about 3 cm in diameter on sheets of parchment paper,. Bake for 12 min. (14 minutes maybe 16 minutes in my oven that heats less than normal)
Cool macaroons at a rack.


 Fill macaroons with cappuccino filling using a pastry bag!




Green tea and grapefruit macarons


105 g egg whites (whereby 1 egg white weighs + or - 30 g)
5 g of powdered green tea
125g ground almonds
200g icing sugar
40g caster sugar

1 pink grapefruit skin
175 g of pink grapefruit juice
350 g cream
1 vanilla pod
3 and a half sheets of gelatin
250 g of white chocolate
ow finely zesty pink grapefruit
Whip 100 g egg whites, incorporating the granulated sugar gradually. Add the mixture of ground almonds, icing sugar, green tea and 5 g of the remaining egg whites. Mix until smooth and shiny. Then pipe macaroon dough on a sheet of parchment paper 3 cm in diameter. Bake 10-12 minutes at 160 ° C. Place shells on a rack out of the oven.

Pink grapefruit comfit:

Cut the rind of the grapefruit and cut into small cubes 5 mm side. Blanch cubes 7 times starting in cold water each time to remove the bitterness of the fruit. Once blanched cubes, add sugar, then dry 2 to 3 minutes in a saucepan over high heat.

Cream of pink grapefruit:

Soak the gelatin in cold water. Meanwhile, chop the white chocolate. In a saucepan, boil the grapefruit juice, cream and vanilla bean, split and scraped, then add the drained gelatin. Gradually pour this mixture over the chopped chocolate. Add the grapefruit zest and leave it overnight in the refrigerator. The next day, fill the macaron shells with cream and cubes of candied grapefruit. Store in the refrigerator 12 hours to get a good macaroon soft inside. Take out to room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.




Raspberry macarons


90 g of egg white
45 g powdered sugar
1 pinch of salt
1 dash lemon juice
120 g of finely ground almonds mixed
195g icing sugar
2 drops of liquid red dye
Raspberry jam or jello

Mix and sift together the almond powder and icing sugar .
Beat the egg whites egg whites with a pinch of salt and squeeze of lemon,  gradually add the sugar end gradually increasing the mixer speed. The meringue must be white, shiny and form a "bird's beak" at the end of the whipping, Add drops of liquid dye if desired.
Pour half of the powder in egg white, then using a spatula, fold the egg whites gently without breaking a circular motion towards the interior side. When the mixture becomes homogeneous, add the remaining powder and "macaronner" it again

Preheat oven to 160 ° good 30 minutes before baking halfway. Bake the macarons for 10 min at 160 ° and then lower the temperature to 140 ° and bake another 6 minutes (cooking time is given as an indication, a good command of your oven is needed! Namely that the collars are only beginning to appear after 5/6 min). Wait until they have completely cooled gently to loosen (if they are properly cooked they should come off on their own).

Then seal 2 by 2 with a bit of raspberry jelly or jam.

Spanish Orange Macarons

2 1/4 cups blanched almonds, ground in a food processor
1 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
zest of two large orange
1/2 tsp almond extract
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1 large egg
3 egg whites

Preheat your oven to 350˚F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, mix together your ground almonds, sugar, and orange zest. In a smaller bowl, beat your whole egg and egg whites together, then add your almond extract and cinnamon and whisk to incorporate. Pour your liquid mix into your almond mixture, and use a large fork or spoon to incorporate everything together. Using the tips of your fingers, pinch off 1-inch pieces of the almond dough (similar to a heaping tablespoon) and roll into ball, press then into cookie shape and place on parchment paper lined baking pan, spaced in between. Bake on 350F/ 170 C for about 15 minutes until they start to become brown. cool on a rack.


Amaretti Morbidi Italian cookies

350 g sugar
300 g almond without skin
3 egg white
1 tablespoon plain flour
1 teaspoon potato starch
lemon, salt
bitter almond essence,
powdered sugar.
butter and flour for the oven tray 

Ground really finely the almonds with a food processor, add some sugar from the 350 gr you have in the recipe. Beat the egg withe with a pinch of salt and some drops of lemon until you reach a dense, white foam. Add the grounded almonds, sugar, plain flour and the potatoes starch (plain flour and potato starch should be without lumps, so you need a thin colander to break any lumps they have before adding ti the rest of the dough). Add now some bitter almond essence .
Blend well all together and in a buttered and flour dusted oven tray (you can use backing paper if you prefer) place little amount of the dough with some powdered sugar on top. Set apart for 4 to 5 hours.
Preheat the oven 100C and bake the amaretti for 30 minutes, turning the tray every now and then so you can have a more homogeneous amount of heat.
When they are done remove them and let them cool down on a wooden tray.
You can store them in a metal box.

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