I think I’m quietly going mad at the moment. Although, perhaps not as quietly as I imagine, most days 😉
My head is filled with flavours, textures and recipe ideas for new chocolates, recipe ideas for a cookbook, ideas for protein bar flavours, ideas for this blog! All this is distracting me as I am trying to work my way through a number of tedious tasks I have to complete before I can indulge my creative side. You know that sudden urge to scream you get when you realise you’ve been doing multiple things at once but the things you are doing don’t lend themselves so well to multi-tasking? The sort of things that require some focus and undivided attention?
Just me? But here’s the upside …
1. I am super motivated and
2. After a protracted period of tumbleweeds rolling through this blog, I’ve become rather productive
Hey, that’s two upsides and everybody wins in that scenario. Well, I hope so. It might just be madness after all.
Speaking of madness … more macarons??? Yes … and why not? Isn’t everyone mad about macarons?
During the festive and holiday season, it pays to be prepared for unexpected visitors, parties, random gift giving, all that sort of thing. Macarons are a bit special, if rather commonplace now (rolls eyes in exasperation), but the craze continues unabated.
They are very pretty, and rather moreish, and perfect for a bit of wow factor gifting at this time of year.
Plus, I had a lot of left over egg whites recently and some more random gifting of my own to do 😉
So here’s a little macaron-porn for you.
I love yuzu paired with chocolate and hazelnut. I’ve been using them together for years now in various desserts at home. Dark chocolate works extremely well but the sharpness of the yuzu also provides an excellent foil for white chocolate. Hazelnuts are a gift from the gods, so they go with every kind of chocolate. Right? The flecks of hazelnut in the macaron shells looks rather lovely with the pale yellow colouring.
Go ahead and wow someone today with a gift box of these pretty babies
- 75 grams almond flour
- 75 grams hazelnut meal
- 150 grams icing sugar
- 55 grams egg white
- yellow food colouring q.b. (I used Americolor Lemon Yellow gel)
- 135 grams sugar
- 40 grams water
- 55 grams egg white
- pinch cream of tartar
- yuzu powder q.b. (I use S&B Yuzu Powder
- 240 grams white couverture
- 120 grams cream (35% milk fat)
- 30 grams 100% yuzu juice
- 10 grams unsalted butter, cubed, at room temperature
Preheat the oven to 140°C.
Line 2 large baking sheets with silpat sheets or baking paper. Set aside.
Place the almond meal, hazelnut meal, and icing sugar in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the mixture is very fine and silky in texture. You can test it between two fingers. I do this before sifting the mixture, but if you prefer, just sift the almond and hazelnut meal, and icing sugar together. Once done, place in a large mixing bowl.
Mix together the 55 grams of egg white and the food colouring, if using. Be sparing with the food colour if you wish to attain a pastel yellow hue. Flecks of hazelnut meal will show through, and they are quite pretty this way.
Add the egg white to the almond meal mixture and mix well with a spatula or pastry scraper until you get a smooth paste. Set aside.
Place the remaining 55 grams of egg white and cream of tartar into the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer and start whisking at low to medium speed.
Place the water into a saucepan and add the sugar. Dissolve the sugar, in the water, over a low heat. Bring to the boil and cook until the sugar reaches 118°C. By this stage the egg whites should have reached a soft peak stage.
Continue whisking at medium speed as you pour the syrup into the egg whites in a thin, steady stream. For best results, pour the syrup down the side of the bowl directly on to the egg white, but stay clear of the whisk. Keep whisking until the bowl cools to just warm.
I usually whisk the meringue for about 10 minutes or so and turn up the speed for a minute or two at the end. The meringue should be fairly stiff but not dry. When you lift the whisk, there should be a solid clump on the whisk. It should be able to look you in the eye without flinching.
Scrape a small amount of the meringue into the bowl with the almond mixture and work it into the mixture to lighten it, using a spatula or pastry scraper. I prefer the scraper. Scrape the remaining meringue into the bowl and fold it into the almond mixture, flipping it over on to itself, and turning the bowl with each fold. Scrape any mixture down the bowl to make sure the whole mixture is homogenous, and there are no streaks of meringue or almonds. Continue folding until the macaronage is at the stage where a little mixture, lifted, will fall back into itself slowly. Be careful not to overmix the macaronage.
Fit a large piping bag with a plain tip and pipe small mounds on to the baking sheets. Rap the baking sheets hard on to the bench to expel any air bubbles. Rap it again, harder, if you’re not sure.
Lightly sprinkle some yuzu powder over the shells to finish.
You can pop them straight into the oven or leave until the mixture forms a light crust. It’s up to you. Won’t matter either way. I like to leave them for about 30 minutes or so. In the event that you have over mixed the macaronage, allowing a skin to form on the shells before baking can help them to rise and have proper feet as they will not be spreading out while also trying to rise!
Bake for about 15 minutes or until done. Depending on your oven, they may need another minute or so.
Cool completely before filling with the Yuzu Ganache.
Place the white couverture in a microwave-safe plastic bowl (BPA free). Microwave for 60 seconds and stir. Return to the microwave for another 30 seconds, if required, until the couverture is about three-quarters melted. Stir until the chocolate is fully melted, and set aside.
Place the cream into a saucepan and bring to the boil over a low to medium heat.
At the same time, place the yuzu juice into a separate saucepan and heat until it reaches a simmer.
If using freshly squeezed juice (lucky you!), this will help pasteurise the juice. Check that the temperature is above 90°C.
Heating the juice will pasteurise it and will stop the it curdling the cream when the two are mixed.
Remove both the juice and cream from the heat. Add the yuzu juice to the cream and stir.
Pour a little of the the cream mixture over the melted couverture and whisk gently to combine. Continue adding the cream in a steady stream as you whisk it until smooth.
You can also use a stick blender on low speed to emulsify the ganache until smooth.
Let the ganache cool to 35°C and then add the cubed butter.
Emulsify until smooth and glossy with a whisk or stick blender.
Use the ganache immediately.
Match up pairs of macaron shells.
Pipe a little ganache on to one half of the shells and gently top each with its matching pair.
Twist gently to adhere the shells to the ganache.
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 24 hours before serving for best results.
They will keep for a week stored this way, in the refrigerator.
Allow the macarons to come to room temperature before serving.