Blog Archive

Saturday, October 31, 2009

French Macarons

The 2009 October Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to us by Ami S. She chose macarons from Claudia Fleming’s The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern as the challenge recipe.

Dating back to the 18th century, the macaron is a traditional French pastry, made of egg whites, almond powder, icing sugar and sugar. In the 1830s macarons were served two-by-two with the addition of jams, liqueurs, and spices. The double-decker macaron filled with cream that is popular today was invented by the French pâtisserie Ladurée.

I have only once had french macarons in my life. My friend Janice brought a bunch to my house-warming party a few months ago and we had fun trying to figure out the different flavors. The lavender was strange. The hazelnut with chocolate filling was my favorite. I decided on a Fall flavoring... something nutmeggy, cinamony, pumpkiny... These pumpkin-safron macarons looked fabulous... But then I forgot to put the saffron in... and the safron was replaced by turmeric... and the pumpkin-cream cheese filling was replaced by pumpkin buttercream... So the end result was completely different. Oh well.

As you can probably tell from the picture, my macarons didn't quite turn out. They didn't rise and didn't form that nice foot and that slightly crunchy crust good macarons have. They just kind-a baked and sprawled a bit. I think my egg whites were too small and the batter ended up too dense. But they still ended up being nicely chewy and the pumpkin buttercream was fantastic so everyone loved them and most of them promptly disappeared at the pre-U2 dinner last weekend. I would love to make them again, with bigger eggs and probably a different recipe.

French Macarons

2 1/4 C Icing sugar
2 C almond flour
2 Tbs granulated sugar
5 egg whites at room temperature
+ 1 tsp turmeric for color

Sift icing sugar and almond flour together. Beat egg whites to soft peaks. Slowly add granulated sugar and keep beating till hard peaks. Sift sugar/almond flower mixture in 2-3 parts and fold gently with the egg whites. Line baking sheet with wax paper. Pipe into 1-inch mounds 1-inch apart. Bake for 5 minutes at 200 F then turn the oven up to 375F and bake for another 8 minutes. Let them cool in the pan before removing.

Pumpkin Buttercream

1/2 C butter (1 stick)
1/2 C pumpkin puree
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 C confectioner’s sugar (more or less)

Mix. Beat. Eat.

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