Sunday, June 10, 2012

Earl Grey Macarons with Lemon Curd Filling

clearly, after my last encounter with bolo's macarons coupled with the 34 frozen egg whites in my freezer, i finally succumbed to the macaron-making journey. i did my research and read many different experiences, and was quite intimidated by all the failed recounts. it sounded simple enough. but i didn't want to take any risk. so i did thorough research, watched youtube videos and read various recipes. 

as i mentioned before, i'm not crazy about sweets. so i was careful in picking the recipe, comparing recipes and picking the ones with relatively lesser sugar. 

my very first attempt was a disaster. i had followed a recipe i chanced upon on youtube (Earl Grey Macarons with Honey Butter Filling) which looked mad pretty!! but the recipe stated 300º and i assumed it to be Celsius BUT IT WAS FAHRENHEIT. *faints* and i had confidently popped the trays into the oven and went to shower after adjusting the temperature in my oven (max at 240ºc), only to discover a whole batch of burnt macarons. :'( all my effort </3 and i think i was quite dumb because i came up with a theory that since it had to be round, why not pipe them into cupcake pans? REGRET. i completely forgot they would rise in the oven and they got stuck to the sides and because they burnt i almost had to throw the whole cupcake pan away because it was stuck so bad. i ended up soaking them with water and soap and they managed to slip out much better after that. phew. i was so discouraged. ._.

but no i refuse to give up, especially not with over 30egg whites still in the fridge. so i tried another recipe this time. less sugar (because i managed to try a couple of less burnt ones the previous time and found them SUPER SWEET). second round i ended up undercooking them. they looked cooked but refused to get off the baking paper. they tasted really good though, from the caps that i could remove.. so again, another batch down the chute. all that expensive TWG earl grey tea sachets and ground almonds.... sigh. 

this, is my third attempt. and after the first two attempts, i developed a couple of rules for myself.

1. Better to underfold than overfold.
2. Better to bake longer and let them brown a little than risking them undercook (because you won't be able to remove them at all) - i've heard that it's possible to pop them back into the oven but i didn't do so at that time.
3. Don't squeeze the whole batch of batter into a piping bag. split them into halves. you get better control of the batter that way.
4. After baking, cool macarons with baking paper on a cooling rack for 5 minutes then transfer to the top of a damp cloth to stop cooking. Remove macarons and they should come off really easily. 

i filled them with homemade lemon curd using Rei's recipe which i halved (they are amazing by the way)

Earl Grey Macarons 
- Recipe from What The Fruitcake! (she has absolutely gorgeous pictures hop over to view!)

90g Egg Whites
145g Confectioners/Icing Sugar
70g Granulated Sugar
115g Almond Meal/Ground Almonds
3 Earl Grey Tea Bags
Black, purple or blue paste colouring (Optional) -  (i didn't use)

  • Grind the contents of the tea bags until mostly fine (skipped this step as i used tea leaves from TWG which were already very fine.)
  • Process the confectioners sugar, almond meal & tea until the almond meal is fine then sift into a medium bowl to remove any large bits of tea or nuts.
  • Tip: If grinding your own nuts, combine nuts and a cup of confectioners’ sugar in the bowl of a food processor and grind until nuts are very fine and powdery.
  • Whisk the egg whites with the granulated sugar in a clean dry bowl until the mixture is glossy and holds stiff peaks.
  • If colouring, whisk in small amounts of paste colouring until desired shade is reached
  • Tip: If you turn the bowl upside down they should make no move to fall out
  • Tip: Don't worry about your meringue being a bit dry or over beaten, against popular belief that macarons are a pain to make, they're actually fairly forgiving
  • Fold half of the almond flour mixture into the meringue, starting quite vigorously then folding more carefully.
  • Add the remaining almond meal mixture and fold in carefully.
  • Tip: The macronage process is probably the only part of making macarons that determines if they'll be a fail or success. A good way to tell if the batter is ready is when you fold it onto itself, it should blend back into itself in about 30seconds. Rather under mix than over mix!
  • Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a plain half-inch tip. You can also use a Ziploc bag with a corner cut off.
  • Tip: It’s easiest to fill your bag if you stand it up in a tall glass and fold the top down before spooning in the batter.
  • Pipe 1 1/2 inch mounds of batter onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
  • Tip: I don't recommend using a silicon mat, I had trouble taking the macarons off each time I used it.
  • Once piped, bang the sheet down on a counter top a couple times to flatten any mounds and bring up air bubbles, also to settle the almond meal to the bottom giving smooth tops. (this is important to prevent cracking due to trapped air bubbles as well)
  • (Optional) Sprinkle the shells with a bit of Earl Grey tea
  • Leave the unbaked macarons out to dry, between 30min - 1 1/2 hours.
  • Tip: If you have a fan assisted oven you can dry them in less time by just having the fan turned on with the macarons in the oven.
  • While the macarons are drying, preheat the oven to 140°C (120°C Fan Assisted)
  • Once dry, bake for 15-22mins depending on their size (don't hesitate to bake longer if it's not ready)
  • Tip: They're ready when you push them and they move very slightly on their feet or if you can easily peel one off the baking tray 
  • Cool on a rack before removing from the parchment, 15-30mins
  • (Optional) If not sprinkled with Earl Grey tea earlier, paint each shell with a brushstroke of edible silver lustre paint
  • Tip: You can buy little pots of already made edible silver paint, or simply mix silver lustre dust with a bit of vodka, the alcohol will evaporate leaving the lustre dust behind
  • Pipe or spoon with filling and sandwich

as you can see, they did form some feet. not as pretty as store bought ones of course but i was pretty happy with them, considering my past two failed attempts. :)
very yummy i must say. :D

1 comment:

  1. Great job on these! Especially seeing that there isn't a huge hollow gap just under the shell, seems like you did a pretty great job with temperature control!!