Baking| Blood Orange Macarons with Maple Orange Chocolate Pastry Creme … World Macaron Day

“Macarons should be eaten slowly with each mouthful savoured. They should be eaten somewhere pretty and refined.”
Yellow Magpie

Blood Orange Macarons with Maple Orange Chocolate Pastry Creme Nothing in the cookie world seems to have evoked as much interest and admiration as macarons! Sweet and pretty bites, inspirational to make, absolutely charming, yet intimidating for bakers like me. At MacTweets, our mac-obsessed kitchen, Jamie and I called to mark World Macaron Day on March 20th. These Blood Orange Macarons with Maple Orange Chocolate Pastry Creme are my tribute to this delightful invention!Blood Orange Macarons with Maple Orange Chocolate Pastry Creme I’ve missed making macarons for a while now and was happy to be faced with a MacTweets challenge for World Macaron Day. Been thinking long on what to make and what not to, and then thanks to sweet blogger friends like the lovely and talented Shayma, I made these addictive bites. They might not look perfect, but they tasted fabulous!Blood Orange Macarons with Maple Orange Chocolate Pastry Creme Life is busy and we have had family and friends from overseas visiting us over the past few months. They all know I food blog, so with them come delicious ingredients and kitchen stuff I might not ever dream of. I feel special … very special!Blood Orange Macarons with Maple Orange Chocolate Pastry Creme …and felt even more so when a few days ago the Spice Spoon girl tweeted to ask when my folk were visiting as she had something to send for me. My cousin from Pittsburgh flew in a few days later. With him came these beautiful spice boxes from William Sonoma – Dried Blood Orange Peel and Pure Maple Flakes.Blood Orange Macarons with Maple Orange Chocolate Pastry Creme The minute I saw the pretty little jars I knew what my macs were going to be – Blood Orange with Maple filling. I had already a thread of orange in my mind as my life is overflowing with tangerines. All the little shrubs have branches hanging heavy with this beautiful fruit … the little pooch seems to take a keen interest in the fruit too; little Coco who is ALL EYES!!Tangerines & CocoPretty orange life and there is only so much bitter marmalade I can make. I thought I would sweeten the filling mildly with maple flakes and add a dash of orange from the little bitter tangerines. The shells baked fine, the little feet appearing in a few minutes of baking, blushing a pastel orange. Blood Orange Macarons with Maple Orange Pastry CremeOf course we had a power cut again, but thankfully the frills had formed so no harm done! I was quite happy. What I wasn’t happy with was my choice of filling. A pastry creme obviously isn’t firm enough for these fiddly creatures. They got soft overnight and I had some fixing to do!Blood Orange Macarons with Maple Orange Pastry Creme I had a fix in mind … chocolate can fix anything, even a broken heart, and then I came across Mardi’s macaron post asking ‘Why do my macarons have hollow shells. That set me thinking! It was time to read up again. My macarons are also hollow at times and OK at other times even though my recipe is the same. So mac-obsessed me set off to try Mardis recipe.Blood Orange Macarons with Maple Orange Chocolate Pastry Creme I have to say they are the best tasting macarons I have ever made even though the shells weren’t anywhere near smooth. They looked so good 6 minutes into baking, just the perfect macs, but soon after threatened to crack up, but then shriveled slightly. Maybe it was because of undermixing, but the flavours were da bomb! You can find her recipe, perfect macarons and beautiful post here Blood Orange Macarons with Maple Orange Chocolate Pastry Creme To remedy the filling, I melted dark couverture chocolate and stirred it through the maple orange pastry creme, then chilled it. Delicieux!! There was a slight hint of bitterness from the tangerine peel and the balance of flavours was perfect! Thank you my sweet friend ShaymaThe Spice Spoon for adding wonderful spice to my life; inspiration too! I am sure you’ve been to her beautiful blog; it’s a treat in every sense!Blood Orange Macarons with Maple Orange Chocolate Pastry Creme

Do you want to join us making MACARONS?

If you do, you are most welcome to join us  for this challenge, or the next. You can find all the information at our dedicated macaron blog MacTweets. We generally post the round-up by the end of every month, following which a new challenge is posted!

Don’t miss a post
Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

Baking| Strawberry & Kiwi Bavarian Cake with Razzle Dazzle Macarons … Vanilla Bavarian Mousse with Strawberries & Basil

“If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins.”
Benjamin Franklin

Strawberry & Kiwi Bavarian Cake & Vanilla Bavarian Mousse... with Razzle Dazzle Macarons 1Some days I just dazzle myself with my efficiency, days that are few and far between, but it gives me confidence that I can still achieve quite a bit on better days!! It was a cake for my SILs birthday, AND macarons, all done on fast track. Inspiration came from our MacTweets theme for January and the Bavarian mousse on this Chocolate Bavarian Mousse Cake; that is how this Strawberry & Kiwi Bavarian Cake with Razzle Dazzle Macarons came about to be.Strawberry & Kiwi Bavarian Cake with Razzle Dazzle MacaronsOn a day like this I raced and baked a sponge, made a Bavarian cream, then a mousse, layered a cake and even had it chilling in a couple of hours!! Even more dazzling … got the macs piped even as the kids grumbled getting out of bed and into the shower; ffound ‘feet’ before 8am, just after I had banished the kids to school!! Strawberry & Kiwi Bavarian Cake with Razzle Dazzle MacaronsCake demoulded, ganached and snazzed up with my macs and I was a happy baker! The ganache wasn’t in my plan, limited as it seemed because of the time crunch, but the daughter begged for chocolate to be included in the master plan. I think the cake would have looked beautiful without the dark chocolate hues, but teens need to be kept happy, so…Strawberry & Kiwi Bavarian Cake with Razzle Dazzle MacaronsThe macarons ran with the basic colours of fruit in the cake, pink for strawberries and green for kiwi. I was lucky to find feet so early in the morning. For the boost of mac-confidence I have to applaud the uber talented Stella @ BraveTart…and she is brave. She bakes mean {read GORGOEUS!!}  macarons, and did away with many mac myths in a second.Strawberry & Kiwi Bavarian Cake with Razzle Dazzle Macarons; Vanilla Bavarian Mousse with Strawberries & BasilReading her post made me feel ultra confident, and a day old egg white out of the fridge did yield the frills or feet! I also dumped the granulated sugar in with the whites and whipped them altogether, but this time wasn’t nervous. Bravery is a strong emotion, and I was rewarded in under 10 minutes …pretty little mini macs.Strawberry & Kiwi Bavarian Cake with Razzle Dazzle MacaronsThe sponge is a basic one, a 3 egg recipe that lives in my head… 3 eggs + 1/2 cup sugar + 1/2 cup flour. Minimal ingredients {with the seed of 1/2 a vanilla bean} and minimal fuss that results in a light airy sponge. This is my to-go recipe for a Swiss roll too!Strawberry & Kiwi Bavarian Cake with Razzle Dazzle Macarons; Vanilla Bavarian Mousse with Strawberries & BasilI did try to rustle up some shimmer and glimmer to jazz the macarons to meet the razzle dazzle theme, but the shimmer is rather muted! Well the thoughts {and my morning} dazzled in any case. The macarons were sandwiched with some dark chocolate ganache reserved from the frosting.Vanilla Bavarian Mousse with Strawberries & BasilBavarian is fast becoming my choice of filling in cakes, one that finds its roots in a crème anglaise of sorts, as we still moan the lack of local whipping cream in India. The mousse compliments fresh fruit beautifully, and is delicately flavoured with vanilla bean. It was a little less firm in the filling as I used kiwi too {I think the high citric content in kiwi interferes with the setting of gelatin}. It did set though, but just. Next time I might stick to just strawberries to get a firmer mousse … like the one below!Vanilla Bavarian Mousse with Strawberries & BasilThe weather that whole day {week actually} was cold and rainy, hence the cake pictures aren’t bright and happy. I had some mousse left over as the cake was taller than my desert ring, so I set some in glasses. I absolutely love the idea of doing individual portions like these that can be made ahead, and dressed up with seasonal fruit, as in this case strawberries perked up with some fresh basil!Vanilla Bavarian Mousse with Strawberries & BasilThese were GOOD, oh so good! The Bavarian set perfectly, the little vanilla bean specks flavouring it beautifully. I topped the goblets with a strawberry puree, like the one layered in these White & Dark Chocolate Desserts with Strawberries. To add colour and flavour, I snipped in some fresh basil which I am fortunate to have these days. I left these in the fridge for a couple of hours again, and the strawberry, lime and basil flavours matured nicely!Vanilla Bavarian Mousse with Strawberries & BasilThe play of textures and the visual appeal was great! Dolled up with a macaron and I have never heard the fridge door opening SO MANY times! The kids were constantly in and out of the kitchen to look at it longingly. The minute dinner was done, it was a race to the fridge again. Door opened again! “Now?”

Do you want to join us making MACARONS?


If you do, you are most welcome to join us  for this challenge, or the next. You can find all the information at our dedicated macaron blog MacTweets. We generally do the round-up by the end of every month, following which a new challenge is posted!

Don’t miss a post
Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

Baking| Vanilla Macarons with Quark Kirsch & Tart Cherry Filling … Mactweets & a Best Blog Award!

Vanilla Macarons with Quark Kirsch & Tart Cherry Filling I’ve been itching to have a go at macarons again, our monthly ‘ritual‘ at MacTweets! I’ve had my failures often in the past few months thanks to the humidity, but the charm of these delightful feet spur me on. Met with some success yesterday – Vanilla Macarons with Quark, Kirsch & Tart Cherry Filling = BIG YUM!! Vanilla Macarons with Quark Kirsch & Tart Cherry FillingThe monthly Mactweets challenge that I co-host with the very talented MacQueen Jamie @ Lifes A Feast is inspiration enough. Despite all odds, I found success in these vanilla macarons. Warm and humid weather often plays spoilsport, though I manage to make these delightful Black Sesame Macarons with Cherry Chocolate Ganache in July for Shulie @ Food Wanderings for her tree nut free macaron series.Vanilla Macarons with Quark Kirsch & Tart Cherry FillingI sat there looking at my aging egg whites on the counter, now into day 2, as my world whizzed by. Mr PAB was dashing to catch a flight, the terrible teen dashing to catch the elusive school bus for her exam {the preteen is thankfully in the car 5 minutes before departure}, the pooch having discovered a new vocation … becoming a missile! Coco the cocker spanielShe climbs onto anything within reach and launches herself fearlessly across the room in the most alarming manner, hoping to scale the bed, the dining table … anything! Quite the entertainer, and ever charming, NAUGHTY is her middle name!Coco the cocker spanielIn the midst of this madness, I sat there thinking the month had flown and I hadn’t got to feet yet. It was going to be now or never! The minute Mr PAB put a foot out of the door, I slammed it shut and raced to whip the whites! Happiness is … seeing feet appear. Not poochy feet, not kidlet feet, not Mr PABs feet – but macaron feet of course!Vanilla Macarons with Quark Kirsch & Tart Cherry Filling

Flowers from my gardenPairing is always fun though my filling is always done on fast track as I’m never sure I’ll find the characteristic macaron frills. I wanted something light and white. Thought I’d do a white chocolate ganache this time around, but … sigh! Looked into the larder; poor stock keeping meant no white chocolate. Hmmm…Toulouse France Mr PAB was in France last month and I asked him to get me some kirsch, frangelico, kahlua etc. Lost in a HUGE French store, all he could locate in his 10 minute stopover was Kirsch as the cherries‘ caught his eye! Good enough as I had the occasional black forest cake in mind.Vanilla Macarons with Quark Kirsch & Tart Cherry Filling He got me a big bottle and a check on Monsieur Lebovitzs kirsch post tells me it’ll keep me happy for a decade! Quick brain storming and I zeroed in on kirsch to flavour some homemade quark cheese I had made day before. Quark is slightly tangy {since it is a curd cheese} so I thought dried tart cherries, chopped really fine, would compliment the sweetness of the shells!Vanilla Macarons with Quark Kirsch & Tart Cherry Filling My love for stone fruit makes kirsch one of my favourite liqueurs. I found nirvana in these beauties … taste, flavour, fruit {cherries=stone fruit}, colour and FEET of course! BINGO! Great great pairing for pretty little feet!Vanilla Macarons with Quark Kirsch & Tart Cherry Filling This August, for MacTweets, Jamie and I sent the call out for MAC ATTACK #22 – KICK IT UP!  We indulge in a little grown-up gratification, a dash of luxury, a hint of mischief. Candy is dandy, macarons are marvelous, but liqueur is the Mac Attack theme!Vanilla Macarons with Quark Kirsch & Tart Cherry Filling Whatever your tipple, create something intoxicating, heady with flavor … a macaron kissed by your favorite liqueur. If you prefer a non-alcoholic version, go ahead and replace the liqueur with an extract of your choice.

Do you want to join us making MACARONS?


If you do, you are most welcome to join us  for this challenge, or the next. You can find all the information at our dedicated macaron blog MacTweets. We generally post the round-up by the end of every month, following which a new challenge is posted!

Vanilla Macarons with Quark Kirsch & Tart Cherry Filling

I would like to thank the very sweet Alli at Pease Pudding for nominating me for this wonderful best blog award. I met Alli, who blogs from New Zealand, a while ago over this awesome ‘same day focaccia‘. I made a ‘Roasted Garlic Focaccia‘ that day, and was hooked to Alli’s beautiful blog.
The award invites you to answer a few questions about yourself, and then pass it on to 5 other bloggers. Here we go … first the Q & A session, and then the nominees!

Whats your favourite colour?
Black … I’ve tried to change it, but it’s so part of me!
Whats your favourite song?
I Feel Good {James Last} & Ain’t No Sunshine {Bob Marley’s version} … and so many more…
What is your favourite dessert?
Anything with coffee …
Whats pissing you off?
A cluttered kitchen
When you’re upset you…
Chop in a frenzy!
Black OR white?
B L A C K
Biggest fear?
Feetless macarons!
Your best feature?
A good memory {don’t know how long it’ll last though …} and the will to share whatever little I know
Everyday attitude….
Hit the ground running … and try make the most of everyday!
What is perfection?
Fruit bake in the oven {… I contemplated clean kids rooms? Nah, that’s perfection not possible}
Guilty pleasure…
Bitter chocolate

My nominated bloggers off the top of my head, all fun, talented food bloggers who share a similar passion … I ♥ their blogs!
Shulie @ Food Wanderings
Hana @ Heavenly Housewife
Ken @ Hungry Rabbit
Barbara @ Creative Culinary
Shaz @ Test With A Skewer

Don’t miss a post
Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The

Times of India


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