Thursday, 23 June 2016

Bridal Shower Part 3 - Berry Cheesecake Macarons

As I wrote in my previous posts (here and here), I recently helped throw my very dear friend a Paris themed bridal shower. Of course I had to bake some macarons as part of the event’s dessert line up! The bride loves macarons, particularly the ones from Laduree, which she had for the first time when she went to Paris (and got engaged!).

I’m still on my macaron perfecting journey. I still cannot bake filled macarons (i.e., I end up with hollows). And I’m sad to say that I can’t bake them in the Winter/Fall/Spring because it’s so rainy and humid in Vancouver and I have a gas oven. After many trials and tears, I realized after talking to a foodie colleague, that gas ovens pump out moisture, which destroys macarons. I think it’s completely ridiculous that I can only bake them in the summer - to the point where I might change out my gas oven for an electric.

So good thing it’s summer! I decided on a berry cheesecake filling for the shower. Check out the verdict at the end of the post.

Berry Cheesecake Macarons

Macaron shells
1 ½ cups icing sugar
1 cup + 2 Tablespoons almond meal/ground almonds
3 egg whites
⅛ teaspoon cream of tartar
¼ + 2 Tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Gel food colouring

  1. Line three baking sheets with parchment. Wipe the inside of a metal bowl and whisk with vinegar to get rid of any grease. Insert a round tip # 2A into a pastry bag, place in a tall cup, and fold the edge over the outside of the cup.
  2. Combine icing sugar and almond meal in a blender or food processor and pulse a few times to mix and further grind the almonds. Set aside.
  3. Place egg whites in the bowl and beat until frothy. Add cream of tartar and whip to soft peaks. Gradually add sugar while whisking and continue to very stiff peaks.
  4. Add vanilla and combine. Add gel food colouring (I used a mix of pink and purple) and combine. Knock the meringue off the whisk by hitting it against the side of the bowl.
  5. Sift the almond-icing sugar blend into the meringue. Set timer for 30 seconds and mix with a spatula to deflate the air.
  6. Begin to fold and smear the mixture against the bottom/side of the bowl. Take your time and test the consistency periodically - hold some of the mixture up with the spatula and see if it flows down in a thick ribbon. If you can make a number 8 with the flow as it drips off the spatula, it’s ready. Check out this video for a reference on the consistency.
  7. Fill the pastry bag with half the mixture (now called a macaronage). Pipe small circles. Refill and repeat with remaining macaronage. Bang the baking sheet 2x on the counter to release bubbles. Set aside.
  8. Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees F. Let macarons sit and form a shell as the oven is pre-baking (15-30 minutes).
  9. Bake one sheet at a time for 15 minutes. The shells should easily release from the parchment. Cool on tray before filling.

Berry cream cheese filling
1 Tablespoon of butter, softened
¼ cup cream cheese, softened
2 Tablespoon of your favorite berry jam
2 Tablespoons icing sugar

Beat butter and cream cheese together until fluffy and combined. Add jam and icing sugar and mix to combine.

Spread jam on one macaron shell and add (or pipe) a dollop of cream cheese filling on the other. Combine. But wait, you’re not done! Be sure to ripen them in the fridge in a sealed container for a minimum of 24 hours. This will improve flavour and texture. Don’t skip this step! It’s worth it.

Verdict: The bride and the guests were delighted by the macarons, which of course made me really happy! It just added a really nice touch to the event. I send everyone home with leftover cake and macarons.

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