So this is my absolute first post here! I am a French Master student at the University of Louisville. While in Paris this summer I fell in LOVE with macarons. In fact, I ate them every single day for two months while I was in France. It is a wonder I didn’t gain 40lbs. I just was mesmerized by their cuteness and complexity and wealth of flavors and colors and so on. They are so simple looking yet so perfect and special. They are magic and I love them! This is my journey through this particular French pastry and I will sprinkle in a few others here and there as well. But I am focused on the macaron. I am playful and enjoy beauty simply for the fact that it is beautiful. I am going to explore Parisian macarons with classic American flavors and fun new combinations. I will of course make the classics but I like to play around and explore and create new flavor ideas! My goal is to have one post a week. Let’s see if I can make that happen! Expensive habit!
The recipe I use for the macarons is the Pierre Hermé recipe just halved. I alter it often though to make it more of my own. The filling in this recipe I invented. I took a crème anglaise recipe and went wild! Don’t be afraid to tweak it to your liking. I kept tasting the filling to see when it had reached the point at which I thought it tasted like Dreamsicle. The measurements are estimates! Keep tasting the filling! This is the third time I have attempted to bake macarons and I think these came out almost perfect! I had too much left over batter and not enough baking trays so I tried to add more batter to the macarons after they had crusted too long. That is why the some of the shells are not perfectly smooth 😦 But other than that they were PERFECT! I was soooooooo excited! I hope you love and try them! They ended up tasting exactly like Dreamsicle! I couldn’t be more proud!
150 g Almond Flour
150 g Powdered Sugar
150 g Super-Fine Sugar
110 g Egg Whites (Aged)
37.5 g Water
1 Tbsp Orange Zest (2 Oranges)
1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract
160 g Heavy Whipping Cream
2 Egg Yolks
30 g Super-Fine Sugar
¾ packet Gelatin
15 g Butter
2 tsp Orange Extract
1 ½ Juice From Orange
60 g Orange Marmalade
5 g Orange Food Coloring (Gel Or Powder)
The Vanilla Macarons
1) Mix the almond flour and powdered sugar together and sift into a large mixing bowl. Zest two oranges and place the orange zest on parchment paper on a backing sheet and dry the zest as much as possible at a low temperature such as 170°F-200°F. When the zest is pretty dry, but not burnt, mix it with the powdered sugar and almond flour. Lastly divide the egg whites into two 55 gram portions and mix one of these portions into the dry ingredients and mix together with the vanilla extract until you have a homogenous batter.
2) Pour the water and super-fine sugar together in a sauce pan and stir together. Then add the other 55 gram portion of egg whites to an empty mixing bowl. Cook the sugar-water syrup to 118°C. Once the syrup reaches around 110-115°C start whipping the egg whites on high until they form stiff peaks at which point the syrup should have reached 118°C. Carefully pour in a thin stream of the syrup to the egg whites while continuously beating them on high.
3) Continue to beat the meringue on high until the side of the bowl is no longer hot and the meringue is only mildly warm. Then add it to the mixture.
4) Use a large spatula to fold the meringue and almond/sugar mixture together until the mixture is completely smooth and homogenous. The mixture should shine, flow like “magma” and be able to form a ribbon that stays visible for 30 seconds.
5) Add the mixture to a piping bag and pipe the macarons onto Silipat on an air bake baking sheet in around 1 to 1.5 inch circles. Set the macarons aside to crust for at least 30 minutes but I leave mine for an hour. If the room is humid then leave them to crust even longer. You should be able to touch the macaron and have it not be sticky and already forming a hard shell that doesn’t leave a finger print or indention. Also lightly tap the backing sheets to release and air bubbles or use a toothpick to pop them. Do this early though because if you wait too long the macarons will have already formed enough of a shell that when you pop the bubble, the batter wont smooth out to fill in the bubble.
6) While the macarons are drying preheat the oven to 140°C (284°F). Once the macarons are sufficiently dry bake them for around 14 minutes. Around 5-7 minutes into the baking process open the oven door to let the trapped steam escape. The baking time depends on several things. If the macarons are too moist they will need extra time to bake. The bigger they are piped the longer they need to bake, smaller macarons bake faster. After around 15-16 minutes take the macarons out and let them sit on the baking tray for a few minutes and then slide the paper off the baking tray.
7) Let the macarons cool COMPLETELY before attempting to remove them. Otherwise they will break and then all that work was for nothing! If they seem gooey put them back in the oven and let them bake some more. You would rather have the macarons be overcooked than undercooked.
8) Once the macarons are completely cooled attempt to remove them from the Silipat.
9) Once the macaron shells are dried and cool and your Dreamsicle cream is thick and cool, you are ready to assemble the macarons! Place the cream in a piping bag and pipe the cream onto one shell and then twist the another shell on top! I pre divide all of my macaron shells in half that way I can distribute the cream more evenly because I can more easily visualize exactly how much cream I have and how many shells I have to fill. Then refrigerate them for 24-48 hours and enjoy!
*notes* If you are unsure if your macarons are cooked it is alway better to over bake them because when you mature the macarons (place them in the fridge for 24-48 hours) they absorb moisture from the cream and this moistens the cookies. You want to leave the macarons longer to mature in the fridge the more dry they are. They are ready when they have absorbed enough moisture from the cream. Also only use gel or powder food colorings because the water kind will make the batter too moist. You can add as much or as little food coloring as you want according to how bright you want your macarons to be.
The Dreamsicle Cream
1) Heat the cream and add the sugar and the egg yolks.
2) Once the mixture is heated add the orange juice, orange extract, orange marmalade, orange food coloring, butter and gelatin. Reheat the mixture to 82/84°C.
3) If the mixture is too runny add ½ a teaspoon of cornstarch and mix. After the mixture is smooth and thin but not runny refrigerate it until it is cool. The mixture will thicken and so if it is a little thin on the stove don’t worry it will thicken. And if it is still too thin after cooling reheat it and add more cornstarch.
*notes* taste your cream! If it doesn’t taste like what you imagine a Dreamsicle tastes like add more of what you think is missing! Dreamsicles are very sweet so I added a lot of sugar!