Baking | Matcha Macarons with Preserved Brandied Cherries & Mascarpone … tribute to the spirit of Japan

“Food supports a story. Remember, there is a story behind everything you shoot.”
Adam Pearson

Matcha Macarons with Mascarpone Cherry FillingMarch 20th is marked as World Macaron Day / Jour de Macaron, a day that celebrates the very elegant and much applauded French cookie that is often referred to as the ‘new cupcake‘. Nothing appears to get close to shaking the macaron off its lofty perch as it continues to mesmerise and charm the world with delightful flavour combinations.Matcha Macarons with Mascarpone Cherry FillingAt MacTweets nothing gives us as much joy as celebrating this exquisite creation, and we do it every month with a great bunch of passionate macaron bakers.  This March, Jamie & I call for a new beginning. March welcomes the first changes from one season to the next, hinting at warmth and sunshine, the coming of springtime for some of us, the chilly days of winter for others.Matcha Macarons with Mascarpone Cherry FillingWe ask you to add a bit of spice to our lives with this change of season challenge at MacTweets. To make it even more fun, we call for you to be the harbingers of the coming season with something new, fresh and lively, incorporating both fruit and spice into one magnificent Macaron.Matcha Macarons with Mascarpone Cherry FillingI had many thoughts when the month began, leaping between the umpteen spices the spice-box offered, making it a difficult choice. I had thoughts of pink peppercorn with strawberries, black pepper & sour orange marmalade, cinnamon and apple. Then tragedy struck Japan and my thought pattern changed completely.My macarons had to be a tribute to the spirit of Japan, a brave and resilient nation which has stood up and faced the horrific natural disaster that hit it over a week ago. As tales of trauma and destruction continue to haunt the world, tales of bravery and rescue offer much needed joy. 9 days after calamity struck, an 80 year old lady and her grandson were rescued today. H O P E …

Matcha Macarons with Mascarpone Cherry FillingThe macaron shells are matcha flavoured, the filling some home preserved brandied cherries nestled in home made mascarpone. Matcha, though not a true spice, is sometimes referred to as a tea spice. The jar of brandied cherries in my fridge completed my tribute to Japan, a reference to cherry blossoms or sakura. Cherry blossom is an omen of good fortune and is also an emblem of love, affection and represents spring. Cherry blossoms are an enduring metaphor for the fleeting nature of life, and as such are frequently depicted in art.Matcha Macarons with Mascarpone Cherry FillingThe beginning of the year has hit Japan very hard, but they are a people that have risen above all odds, displaying strength and dignity in the face of unimaginable adversity. Sending good wishes  their way with these  macarons and four little rosebuds from my rambling rose.

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!

♥ Thank you for stopping by ♥

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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

Baking| Mousse-a-cotta with Macs in the Air!

“Women are made to be loved, not understood.”
Oscar Wilde

Mousse-a-cotta with Sesame MacaronsAs usual a fight to the finish! Another month almost gone; one would think the New Year had just begun! MacTweets time again. Over at our mac-obsessed kitchen, it’s time to share some special mac love . Jamie and I called for just that this February to honour St Valentine.  Even though  I’ve had loads of mac luck the past few months, this time the feet proved elusive.

Mac Attack #16 – MACS ARE IN THE AIR … With Chet Baker crooning My Funny Valentine, take your romantic heart and scurry into your kitchen and bake a batch of French macarons for that special someone, the lover, the spouse, the best friend, the children, the one whom you want to offer up something special, the one whom you want to make smile.

Create something new, something exciting, something wildly romantic! Nothing says I Love You like a sweet little something, the size of a kiss, the flavor of your wildest desire, the macaron.

mousse-a-cotta & sesame macaronsMy black sesame valentine macarons struggled at high sea, after 2 batches of failure, I managed one with a little success. My fault as I tried stupid tricks. Thermomix experiments with 1 egg white=FAIL. Sesame and almond meal with lofty dreams also failed, well almost. Thankfully got a few feet in a tray, the pop macs didn’t work, so I had to be happy with 2 pairs! I think I overworked the sesame seeds while grinding.Chocolate mousseMy mac experiments coincided with another experiment, an attempted fast track dessert. The teens diet has had severe repercussions on our sweet life. Desserts have been reduced to pitiable levels and the lad is whining all the time. Couldn’t take his pressure the other day, and in a hurry whipped up some eggless chocolate mousse of some sort. While Mr PAB enjoyed it oodles, the kids were a little iffy as in some parts the melted chocolate became grainy as I didn’t whisk it in too fast.Mousse-a-cotta with Sesame MacaronsI had some left and decided to redo it for the starving dwarfs. Mousse-a-cotta or panna-mousse is what eventually found its way back into the goblets, and found its way into the dwarfs tummies at express speed too! They loved the second fast track attempt, one that I added a dash of espresso to as well. I served them with my pair of precious feet, the failed ones vainly trying to fly the flag on sticks! Posting these now, with hope for a brighter mac future!

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!

Black Sesame MacaronsBlack Sesame Macarons with Nutella
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup powdered almonds
1 tbsp black sesame seeds
1 large egg white, at room temperature
2 1/2 tbsp granulated sugar
1/2 tsp egg white powder
Method:
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Grind together the powdered sugar with the almond powder and sesame seeds so there are no lumps; use a blender or food processor since almond meal that you buy isn’t quite fine enough.
In the bowl of a standing electric mixer, beat the egg whites until they begin to rise and hold their shape. While whipping, beat in the granulated sugar until very stiff and firm, about 2 minutes.
Carefully fold the dry ingredients, in two batches, into the beaten egg whites with a flexible rubber spatula. When the mixture is just smooth and there are no streaks of egg white, stop folding.
Using a teaspoon, or piping bag, drop / pipe the batter on the parchment-lined baking sheets in 1″ circles evenly spaced one-inch apart.
Rap the baking sheet a few times firmly on the counter top to flatten the macarons, then rest for about an hour.
Preheat oven to 140C. Bake them for 15-18 minutes.
Let cool completely then remove from baking sheet. Sandwich with Nutella.
Mousse-a-cotta Mousse-a-cotta
Serves 4
250ml low-fat cream
100gm dark chocolate
1/2 tsp espresso powder
1 tbsp sugar
1 sheet of gelatin
Method:
Soak gelatin sheet in cold water for 5 minutes, until soft.
Put cream, espresso powder, sugar and chocolate in a pan and simmer for 5-7 minutes until the chocolate has melted.
Squeeze out the gelatin sheet and stir into hot cream mixture. Take off heat and stir till the sheet is completely dissolved. {Don’t let the cream come to a boil}
Cool slightly and pour into goblets. Chill for at least 4 hours. Serve chilled.

Mousse-a-cotta with Sesame Macarons
Thank you for stopping by

~

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Baking| Strawberries & Cream Mac-O-range Cake … Macinspirations

“The power of imagination makes us infinite.”
John Muir

Strawberries & Cream Mac-o-range CakeIt was definitely inspiring and a great wrap on 2010. I’m talking about the Donna Hay Strawberry & Vanilla Macaron Trifle I made over Christmas. It made me look at the endless charm that macarons offer with wonder. Having won sort of won the battle with feet, or rather managing the frills on the fiddly macs more often than never {100% success is yet to land on my platter}, I wanted to explore different ways of incorporating macarons in dessert.Strawberries & Cream Mac-o-range CakeLaduree in Paris might have introduced some delicious made in France cupcakes, and the tables might look to be turning around once again making cupcakes the new macarons! Been hearing that sort of mild buzz on the net recently; also that these cupcakes are ‘out-of-this-world‘ good. They do look novel, creative & pretty, but then that’s Laduree for you! Nothing but the best!!Laduree CupcakesHowever, in my mind,  I’m not ready to give up my macaron ‘fascination bordering on obsession’ just yet. Feet still give me endless joy; each batch popped into the oven still a heart-stopping adventure. The kids walk by nonchalantly exclaiming, “Oooh pretty, you got feet! Can I have one?So many failed batches later and we are a well versed mac household who know the importance and the mood swings that come with the failures & success of the pitter patter!Strawberries & Cream Mac-o-range CakeI made this cake, inspired by mac thoughts for a sweet old lady who lives near by. She’s over 80, sprightly as can be and bursting with positive energy. Two days without seeing me and she’s at my gate with her walking stick checking  if all is well, filling me up on the neighbourhood happenings, telling me that the lime tree is full of fruit etc. She sends me tangerines from her tree each year to make Bitter Orange Marmalade … one of my absolute favourite pass-times. It gives me as much joy, well almost, as finding feet! Seeing translucent pretty marmalade take shape from the very tart tangerines is in my mind, priceless!Strawberries & Cream Mac-o-range CakeIt was her birthday a few days ago, and I knew the cake had everything she would love … strawberries, cream and orange. I added macarons around and on top for effect as I was elated to have found enough feet to go around a cake! Gosh, it isn’t often that I find so much mac-success, so mac-inspiration was in order.

Mac-Inspiration is our theme for our monthly macaron event on Mactweets this month … STARTING THE NEW YEAR WITH THE OLD AND THE NEW : MACINSPIRATION! You can combine or integrate your macarons into any dessert, making it a new part of an old favorite, or turn your macarons into your favorite dessert, inspired in flavor, texture, color.

Strawberries & Cream Mac-o-range CakeWhat dessert would you be inspired to see recreated in macarons? I continue to be inspired by fruit in season, the colour palette that nature amazingly offers, textures … and of course macarons! Ever since sweet Jamie & I got together and launched MacTweets {a blog dedicated to making macarons}, there has been no dearth of inspiration! This time, my macarons are inspired by strawberries & cream, a simple dessert that we love to love. I made vanilla bean macarons, and filled them with slices of strawberries and cream {also did a few with candied orange slices and cream}.

Strawberries & Cream Mac-o-range Cake

Do you want to join us making MACARONS?

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

Strawberries & Cream Mac-O-range CakeStrawberries & Cream Mac-o-range Cake
Serves 6-8
Orange Sponge
1/2 cup plain flour
1/8 cup cornflour
1/2 + 1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
3 large eggs, separated
1/8cup oil {I used sunflower oil}
3 tbsp water
Rind of 1 orange {I used kinnow, a mandarin orange/citrus hybrid, like a satsuma}
1 tsp orange extract, or pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
Method:
Preheat the oven to 190C. Line a 7.5-8″ round tin; grease and dust with flour.
Mix together the cornflour, plain flour, baking powder, salt and1/2 cup powdered sugar in a large bowl {I used a balloon whisk}.
Beat the egg whites until frothy. Add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and cream of tartar and beat till droopy soft peaks form. Reserve.
With a whisk, lightly mix the oil, water, yolks, rind and extract together. Stir into into the dry ingredients.
Beat with an electric beater on low speed until smooth.
Gently fold the beaten whites into the yolk mixture.
Turn into the prepared tin and bake till well risen and golden brown, about 45 minutes/until done. Check if it is done with a wooden pick. {Slide a sheet of foil lightly over the top if it begins to brown too fast}.
Leave in tin for 10 minutes, then turn out and cool completely on rack.
Once cool, cut into 2 layers.
Filling
200ml low fat cream
2-3 tbsps powdered sugar
200gms strawberries, chopped
Method:
Whip the cream and sugar to medium peaks. Fold in the chopped strawberries.
Whipped Buttercream Topping
Method:
200ml low fat cream
1 tbsp melted butter
2-3 tbsp powdered sugar
1 tsp strawberry extract {optional}
Beat the low fat cream, sugar and extract, and pour in the melted butter in a steady stream while beating. This will reintroduce the fat back into the low fat cream and allow it to be whipped to stiff peaks.
Assemble
Sandwich the cake with the filling
Frost the sides and top of the cake with the whipped butter-cream.
Garnish with sliced strawberries, candied tangerine slices and macarons
Vanilla MacaronsVanilla Macarons
Macaron Batter
1/2 cup powdered vanilla sugar
1/4 cup almond meal
1 large egg white {30gms}, at room temperature
2 1/2 tbsp granulated vanilla sugar
1/2 tsp egg white powder
Method:
Preheat oven to 140C.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Grind together the powdered sugar with the almond meal briefly so there are no lumps. Don’t over work, else you might get oily almond butter.
In the bowl, beat the egg whites until they become frothy. Beat in the granulated  vanilla sugar until very stiff and firm, about 2 minutes.
Carefully fold the dry ingredients, in two batches, into the beaten egg whites with a flexible rubber spatula. When the mixture is just smooth and there are no streaks of egg white, stop folding. {If you draw the spatula through the macronage, the line drawn should disappear to the count of ten.}
Using a teaspoon, or piping bag, drop / pipe the batter on the parchment-lined baking sheets in 1″ circles evenly spaced one-inch (3 cm) apart.
Rap the baking sheet a few times firmly on the counter top to flatten the macarons and get rid of trapped air bubbles, then rest for about an hour.
Bake them for 15-18 minutes, watching carefully. {I bake mine on the highest shelf, as my oven functions on just the lower element}
Let cool completely, then remove from baking sheet.
Sandwich with some whipped buttercream and strawberry and candied orange slices.
Strawberries & Cream Mac-o-range Cake♥ Thank you for stopping by ♥

May I share with you my 5 minutes of fame which made me do the Happy Feet dance?

I was featured in the January 2011 Indian edition of ‘Better Homes and Gardens’ with an interview and 4 recipes in a 3 page feature.

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

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