Macarons… that tiny lovely delicious, elusive traditional French pastry that got the whole world raving about. How something this small, made up of only egg white, ground almonds and tons of sugar managed to command such worldwide admiration? I don’t know… I guess it’s the variety of flavours and colours and of course, sugar is always addictive! Personally I didn’t find anything special about it. LOL! Perhaps it’s because I’m sweet enough as it is; any more of it, I’ll make the world go ditzy like the macs.
The history of macarons goes all the way back to the 18th century and the popular sandwich macaron filled with cream we devour today was invented by the French pâtisserie Ladurée. Many have tried to make these macarons, some succeeded while others failed. Those who failed tried to understand where they went wrong, why their macarons cracked, had no feet, oozed out etc. There are many possible reasons but diagnostic is always hard for the baker. The only thing you can do is to try again and again, tweaking this and that, going by trial and error, then cross your fingers and hope for the best. And of course, anyone who managed to get the infamous mac FEET, will, without fail, do the MAC FEET DANCE in their kitchen like they have won a million dollar lotto, laughing and shouting to the whole world ‘I GOT FEET! I GOT FEET! WOOHOO!’ – that exhilarating feeling, adrenaline shooting in every parts of our body… you get so excited that you would even kiss a toad if it was right there at that moment (erhm… maybe not on 2nd thoughts).
I remember when I got my FEET at my 2nd attempt at making macarons. Boy, was I feeling on top of the world. I was doing the MAC FEET DANCE in my kitchen, shouting, jumping and laughing ‘I GOT FEET, honey! I GOT FEET!’ nonstop. All this time, Pierre was upstairs in his office thinking that the macaron fever had made me go nuts. LOL! Like all trends, my macaron fever came and went as fast.
It wasn’t until recently, Jamie and Deeba got caught up with the macaron fever and dared each other to make it. Jamie got hers right at first try but sweet determined Deeba had to go through 6 egg whites before she finally got her FEET. However, poor Aprna, she still couldn’t find her FEET. She felt very despondent over it. Don’t give up, Aprna. You’ll definitely find your feet. Their enthusiasm over macs soon spread and reached out to others, hence the birth of MACTWEETS a virtual Mac Kitchen, a place where all of us could gather, share advice and share laughs, find encouragement and solace, cheers or pats on the backs. So tell me, how could I not join in their fun?
This time around, I decided to try my hands on tea flavoured macs – 1st batch is red fruits tea infusion flavoured (a mix of strawberries, raspberries etc.) and 2nd batch is green tea matcha.
Red Fruits Infusion Macaron & Matcha (Japanese Green Tea) Macarons
- 1 egg white (sit out and aged 24 hours)
- ½ cup icing/powdered sugar
- ¼ cup ground almond
- 2½ tbsp sugar
- 1 packet Red Fruit Infusion or 1 tsp matcha (Japanese Green Tea) powder
- 1 egg white
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 60 g sugar
- 110 g salted butter, softened
- Put ground almond, icing sugar and red fruit infusion or matcha (green tea) in the food processor and pulse it a few times until they are finely ground. Alternatively, you can mill the infusion before mixing it together with icing sugar and ground almonds.
- Sieve the ingredients and set it aside.
- In a big bowl, whisk egg white until very frotty (foamy), then slowly add in the sugar. Continue to whisk the egg white until you obtain a glossy meringue or a stiff peak.
- Fold in the dry ingredients and food colouring (if you are using) with the egg white with quick strokes until you don’t see any white or dry streaks on the batter (or the colour is blend). You don’t need to fold it gently like you are making a sponge cake.
- The batter should flow like a thick ribbon. Test a small amount of batter on plate. If the top flattens, the batter is ready. If there is a small beak, give the batter a few more foldings.
- Put your batter in a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip (Ateco #807 or #809). And if you don’t have one like me, place 1 «V» end of a freezer plastic bag in a cup (helps it to stand), fill it with batter. Then snip the ‘V’ tip off.
- Pipe small rounds onto parchment paper or on non-stick reusable baking sheet. Tap your tray a few times to let any bubbles in the macarons surface.
- Let the macarons rest for 30 minutes to an hour to harden their shells a little.
- Preheat oven to 170°C (325°F – gas mark 3).
- Once the macarons are in oven, lower temperature to 150°C (300°F – gas mark 2). Bake it for 10 to 15 minutes, depending on how small or big are your macarons.
- Let it cool before lifting the macarons off the paper.
- However, if you have trouble removing the shells, pour a bit of water under the baking paper while the sheet is still warm and the macarons can be easily removed. Do not let macarons sit on it too long before removing or else it will become soggy.
- The macaron shells are ready for filling.
Making Vanilla Buttercream
- Whisk egg white until foamy. Then add in the sugar.
- Continue to whisk the mixture on bain-marie until all sugar dissolves, the mixture becomes whitish and hot to touch.
- Remove it from bain-marie and continue to whisk until the mixture cools down.
- Add vanilla extract, then butter bit by bit while continuing whisking the mixture until all butter is well incorporated.
- Put your buttercream in a pipping bag with a small nozzle or freezer plastic bag.
- Your buttercream is ready to be piped.
Assembling your macarons
- Find matching shell size and arrange them in rows with one facing up and the other facing down. This way, you will know which shell to pipe the fillings on.
- Pipe a small amount of buttercream in the centre of your macaron shell. Then cover it with another shell.
- Voilà your macarons is complete and ready for degustation.
- Macarons taste best if let sit in the fridge for a day.
I love both versions. The red fruit infusion macaron is very aromatic and sweet. One doesn’t even have to bite it to savour the flavour, the smell is enough! The mixture of this fruity macarons with vanilla buttercream is sublime. It’s my little girl’s favourite.
The taste of green tea macarons is a bit special if you haven’t had Japanese green tea before. It tastes slightly bitter (as expected) but I simply love the seaweed flavour that it oozes out with each bite. As you can see from the picture, my green tea macarons didn’t quite turned out right as I was experimenting with new recipe and temperature. Pierre always told me not to mess around with my recipe if it isn’t broken but did I ever listen. LOL!
Sandwiched macarons keep for a week in the fridge. Let the macarons comes to room temperature before serving. That said, we ate it right out from fridge and it’s as good.
If you aren’t using the macaron shells right away, store them in an airtight container at room temperature for a few days or you can freeze them.
I find baking macarons on non-stick reusable baking sheet works best for me. I can lift them off easily sans problem. And it is best not to make macarons during rainy days due to high humidity.
Lastly know your oven well. Some oven heats up real fast. If need be, play around with the temperature of your oven to see which temperature gives you the best results for your macarons.
To avoid your macarons from getting brown too quickly, either put your tray at the lowest rack or put another tray above your macaron.
For more information on troubleshooting your macarons, read the following : Syrup & Tang, Joe Pastry, David Lebovitz, Tartelette, Kitchen Musings & Mactweets