Tag Archives: white chocolate

Cassis, chestnut and Valrhona Satilia Lactée ganache macarons


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Unlike the more premium Gran Cru line, the Valrhona Satilia range of chocolate is made from a blend of cocoa beans from different regions. Nonetheless, it is as delicious as ever: strong chocolate flavour with 35% cocoa, slightly sweet and a little biscuity. Kinder to the wallet so why not!

Here I’ve paired it with blackcurrants and chestnut, to simulate a Mont Blanc-esque flavour.

Macarons shell ingredients
(makes about 40 macarons)

  • 150 g icing sugar
  • 150 g almond meal
  • 110 g egg whites, split into 2 bowls of 55g each
  • 150 g caster sugar
  • 38 ml water
  • 1 g meringue powder
  • daffodil yellow gel colouring

Follow my basic recipe to make the shells.

Ingredients:

  • 120g Valrhona Satilia Lactée fèves
  • 80ml pure (heavy) cream
  • 3-4 tsp Cassis paste or blackcurrant jelly
  • a few whole cooked chestnut, broken into pieces

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Instructions:
Break up chocolate into small chunks. Bring cream up to a boil in a pan, and pour over the chocolate. Let it sit for a minute before stirring. Let it cool and thicken in the fridge.

Spread cassis paste on half of your shells. Add two pieces of broken up chestnut and pipe a teaspoon of ganache on top. Top with the remaining half of your shells.
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The filled macarons need to be kept in the fridge for 24 hours for the filling to flavour the shells. These freeze well (up to 3 months).

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Here’s my cone of macarons!

Creme brûlée macarons


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Thinking about creme brûlée desserts, what comes to your mind right away? For me it is the scent of caramel and vanilla, the beautiful golden colour of the brittle on top, the cracking sound of it breaking as you lightly but assertively knock it with your spoon and then the velvety creamy custard as you taste. Every spoonful is a delight. This is one dessert that occupies all of my senses and it sends shivers down my spine every time I find a good one.

I’ve been thinking about this and did a bit of research. Turns out this is just how food science researchers are describing the current trends and developments in the food industry. More and more chefs are recognising the importance of flavor science or neurogastronomy in improving the overall dining experience. Think Ferran Adrià and Heston Blumenthal. Inventive chefs making food so much more than it ever was by engaging all of our senses and enhancing our dining experience. This a great interview with Charles Spencer, a researcher in the study of how we experience our meals.

I wanted to recreate some of that multi-sensory experience in my macarons by making a vanilla bean chocolate and caramel filling. I also added salt flakes to my filling, essentially making a salted caramel filling, to punctuate the sweetness overall. The result: small morsels that reminds me of the joys and excitement of each creme brûlée which I can easily transport to my lucky tasters. After all you can’t readily carry around wobbly little pots and have a blow torch on hand all the time!

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Macarons shell ingredients
150 g icing sugar
150 g almond meal
110 g egg whites, split into 2 bowls of 55g each
150 g caster sugar
38 ml water
1 g meringue powder
a few drops of brown and white gel colouring
Follow my basic recipe to make the shells. I paired these with a salted caramel filling.

Filling Ingredients:
200g castor sugar
125ml fresh cream
50g butter, cubed
5g good quality salt flakes
A few drops of vanilla essence
100g white chocolate
50ml cream

Instructions:
Heat the sugar in a wide saucepan until it is melted. Be really careful and wait for it to turn amber/ golden and slightly smoke. Carefully add the cream in slowly, continuing to whisk but be aware of the resulting vigorous bubbling. Add the butter in gradually until it is melted and combined. Add in salt flakes and vanilla essence. Cool in the fridge for a few hours.
Make white chocolate ganache by heating cream and pouring over pieces of white chocolate. Let it sit and then stir till it thickens. Mix ganache with a few tablespoons of salted caramel. Return to the fridge for it to thicken. Fill half of your shells and top them with the remaining half of your shells. The filled macarons need to be kept in the fridge for 24 hours for the filling to flavour the shells. These freeze really well (up to 3 months).

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Lemon Lime and Bitters Macarons


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I adore the mix of sweet and sour flavours. Think raspberries and chocolate; cherries in a Black Forest cake; passionfruit and white chocolate. The sharpness of an ingredient contrasting with the sweetness and richness of chocolate – very effective in waking up taste buds I would say.

Angostura isn’t something one can add to anything. After making these macarons though, I think my bottle would be finished rather quickly as lemon lime and bitters macarons have risen to my top 10 flavours.

Watch this space too for a lime and bitters marshmallow demo after my session at Vinnie’s Restaurant, Auckland! (Geoff Scott invited me to their kitchen to make some, how awesome!)

Macarons shell ingredients
(makes about 40 macarons)

150 g icing sugar
150 g almond meal
110 g egg whites, split into 2 bowls of 55g each
150 g caster sugar
38 ml water
1 g meringue powder

Follow my basic recipe to make the shells.
Add daffodil yellow and kelly green gel colouring to separate bowls of macaron mix for different coloured shells.

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Ingredients:
120g whittakers 28% cocoa white chocolate, broken into small chunks
60ml pure (heavy) cream
2 -3 tbsp angostura bitters (add more to taste)

Instructions:
Break up chocolate into small chunks. Bring cream up to a boil in a pan, and pour over the chocolate. Let it sit for a minute before stirring. Stir and add bitters in a little at a time, until it has been incorporated. Let it cool and thicken in the fridge.

Spread or pipe a teaspoon of ganache on half of your shells and top them with the remaining half of your shells.

The filled macarons need to be kept in the fridge for 24 hours for the filling to flavour the shells. These freeze well (up to 3 months).

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Earl Grey macarons


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Finally I held my first macaron class this weekend!

After sampling my macarons at a gathering last week, a few of my friends asked for a class and as the saying goes ‘Strike while the iron is hot’ we organised for a class straight away.

While we did some of my usual flavours, like coffee and raspberry, we also tried making Earl Grey tea macarons.
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I’ve never been a fan of Earl Grey tea – my earlier memory of this tea was that of a bitter, overpowering flavour that I grew an instant dislike after a first sip.

Nevertheless we gave this a try. I decided to flavour both the shells and the filling by adding the crushed leaves from a Dilmah Strong Earl Grey tea bag, half into the shell mixture and half into the white chocolate ganache.

White chocolate was also chosen over dark chocolate as the latter could overwhelm the tea flavour.

I was pleasantly surprised by the subtlety of this flavour pairing and even tried a cup of Earl Grey with it – now I wouldn’t mind having this with a few macarons for afternoon tea! This little experiment had completely turned my head around Earl Grey. I think the key is to watch your brewing time – follow the suggested brewing instructions and the flavour should be very smooth and palate-pleasing. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
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Macarons shell ingredients

150 g icing sugar

150 g almond meal

110 g egg whites, split into 2 bowls of 55g each

150 g caster sugar

38 ml water

1 g meringue powder

a few drops of black gel colourings

1/2 Dilmah strong earl grey tea bag

Making macarons shells

Sift the almond meal and icing sugar, set aside in a large wide bowl.

Put the first lot of egg whites into your stand mixer.

Clip the sugar thermometer according to manufacturer’s instructions to a milk saucepan, put the water and caster sugar in and dissolve the sugar over a low heat. Leave it to heat up and don’t stir it.

Cook the sugar syrup until it reaches 70°C. You should monitor your sugar thermometer, and as it reaches this temperature, add your gel colourings add the meringue powder to the egg whites and whisk in medium speed until it becomes frothy.

Once the sugar syrup has reached 118°C (soft ball stage), take the saucepan off the heat, keep the mixer speed on medium and slowly trickle the sugar syrup in, down the side of the bowl. (Be warned not to get the syrup onto the whisk as you will then have spun sugar.) Increase speed to high and whisk until the bowl is warm to touch, about 8 minutes.

Add the second lot of egg whites to the almond meal mix, then add the meringue and use a large spatula to thoroughly combine it. Continue mixing the mixture to soften the meringue. Don’t be afraid to slap the mixture down.To achieve “macaronnage”, I mixed the batter about 25 times. Don’t over do this.

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Add the tea leaves in and give it a quick light mix.

Scoop half into a piping bag fitted with a #12 Wilton tip, and pipe. To get even rounds, hold the piping bag above the baking sheet, with the tip at a 45 degree angle. Squeeze the mixture in the centre of the rounds and as it is close to filling the circle, stop squeezing and flick the tip from three o’clock to 6 o’clock. This ensures a smooth top.

Allow 30 minutes for a skin to be formed.

Fan-bake them at 125°C, for 18 minutes. After a few minutes in the oven, you should see them rising nicely.

Once out of the oven, the macarons were left for 2 minutes on its trays before I checked them. They should peel off the baking paper quite easily. Slide the whole sheet off the baking sheet onto a cool counter top. This causes a thermal shock and will make it even easier to peel off.

Filling Ingredients:

120g whittakers white chocolate

120ml cream

1/2 Dilmah strong tea bag leaves

Instructions:

Break up chocolate into small chunks. Bring cream up to a boil in a pan, and pour over the chocolate. Let it sit for a minute before stirring. Let it cool and let it thicken in the fridge. Add the tea leaves.

Spread a teaspoon of ganache on half of your shells or pipe and top them with the remaining half of your shells.

The filled macarons need to be kept in the fridge for 24 hours for the filling to flavour the shells, so don’t eat it yet! These freeze well (up to 3 months).

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