Baking | Macaron à la Peaches et Crème … Vacation Macs!

“A vacation is having nothing to do and all day to do it in.”
Robert Orben

Macaron à la Peaches et CrèmeIt’s been literally a mac-vacation for me, a vacation I dislike as it keeps me away from a challenge I love with a vengeance. I’m back on board to get in with the fun and beautiful Mac Attack Jamie and I host each month. This time our call was for Vacation Macs … and how better could I get there with my mac-a-vacations … Macaron à la Peaches et Crème {pardon my French please}Macaron à la Peaches et CrèmeThe flavours are reminiscent of one of the best vacations we enjoyed a few years ago in the Himalayas. Ramgarh, IndiaWe’ve had some other fabulous ones include Goa, Sydney, Hong Kong, Gangtok … but the one the now threatening to be quite terrible just turned 13‘ teen remembers every single day is this one at Ramgarh. Nothing like the serenity of the Himalayas to unwind!Ramgarh, India

That vacation filled in perfectly with our call this month. Our best macarons reminiscent of that ideal vacation or that perfect holiday spot. Mountains, seaside, tiny hamlet lost in the countryside, large, bustling city teeming with restaurants and museums, these are our inspiration. With the best vacation that comes to mind, from that thought, memory or distant dream, create a fabulous Vacation Macaron!

Ramgarh, India Ramgarh, IndiaRamgarh, IndiaWe stayed at a beautiful heritage cottage surrounded by peach trees and since it was peak summer, we walked by peach trees plucking fresh, juicy fruit right off the tree. This is where my lad became a peach monster and developed a deep love for the fruit.Macaron à la Peaches et Crème Summer is for stone fruit is my chant. I just cannot have enough of these delicious fruit that are reaching us in the foothills of the Himalayas; better quality and quantity every year! This summer I have had a field day with stone fruit…Stone fruit Apricot Peach Sorbet, Dark Chocolate Cherry Mousse Cake, Mini Quark Vanilla Cheesecakes with Balsamic Cherries, Black Forest Cake, Oatmeal Peach Apricot Mango Smoothie {yet to post}, Dark Chocolate Cherry Wholewheat Cakelets {yet to post} … and my fridge is full of cherries, peaches, mangoes and apricots!Peach Ice CreamI have also been developing some food recipes for Del Monte for their website World Foody. The peach ice cream above is one I made last week from their canned peaches, beautiful cling peaches with a fabulous deep flavour. Will let you know when the recipe is up on the website; until then it’s Macaron à la Peaches et Crème!Macaron à la Peaches et Crème The macaron shells were going to be perfect, something deep within me said to me when I was done folding the macaronage. BUT … in my hurry to beat the power cut, I switched on the upper element instead of the lower one, so my feet popped out with the thermal shock and the skins developed a ‘peach‘ blush. It was too late to salvage the batch, and the little macronage left proved my feeling right! Aaaargh! And did I tell you that at 45C ice-cream melts SO FAST? I was RACING!http://www.chillibreeze.com/interviews/chillibreeze-interview-deeba-rajpal.asp#I used the several times tried and tested David Lebovitz recipe that lives in my head. It never goes wrong if you mix the macronage correctly and let it rest! However, a little more advice follows …

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!

… these cookies are fiddly creatures and are dependent on way too many things. egg whites {aged or not}, almond meal,oven temperature, room temperature, humidity levels, the hand that mixes them, the way you pipe them out … and above all, lady luck!

Before I get onto the recipe, I’d like to thank Chillibreeze for interviewing me. You can read it here if you like.I’d also like to thank the Financial Times, Times of India, for including me so generously in their feature ‘Gurgaon is Blogging & How‘ on Business Street, 21st June, 2012. Last but not the least, thank you Javelin Warrior for adding my Dark Chocolate Cherry Mousse Cake in your delicious Friday Food Fetish.

Thank you all! I feel really honoured.

Monthly Mingle is the brainchild of the lovely Meeta @ Whats For Lunch Honey, and this month it celebrates Barbara’s spirit at the wonderful Jeanne @ Cook Sister with a Taste of Yellow. I am sending this to the MM for July 2012.

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

Baking| Lebkuchen & Garam Masala Macarons … and the failings of my sourdough experiment! Blame Scrooge!!

“External heat and cold had little influence on Scrooge. No warmth could warm, no wintry weather chill him. No wind that blew was bitterer than he, no falling snow was more intent upon its purpose, no pelting rain less open to entreaty.”
Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

Lebkuchen and Garam Masala MacaronsScrooge, my sourdough starter let me down. He’s been sitting on my counter for the past few days, being diligently fed, bubbling a bit now and then, showing signs of life. Everyone seems so hungry during the holidays, but Scrooge was the hungriest … after Coco of course. But the sourdough for Daring Bakers wasn’t meant to be. What did ‘happen‘ however were these Lebkuchen and Garam Masala Macarons with a salted butter caramel buttercream!Coco on ChristmasSourdough trouble! I got up that morning and everything seemed to go wrong. Decided to make half a recipe, and weighed out double Scrooge in error. PLOP … he fell in and almost instantly I tried to fish him out. ACK…don’t even bother if you ever make that mistake. It was the day after Christmas, the coldest in the past 10 years. No way was Scrooge going to lend some warmth to my dough to rise. He just clenched his fists and stayed put! 2 hours later, minimum rise … Sourdough starter, Scrooge It rose marginally after beign somewhat shaped; then we ran into yet another power cut for the rest of the day. By the time the electricity was back, the oven preheated, and I bunged the dough into the oven, I was distracted. There was so much more to do. I cranked the oven to the highest setting … and forgot all about the bread! Coco on ChristmasSigh!! The tops burnt, spewing out black fumes! {No pictures…sorry!} A kitchen filled with smoke was enough to ring the deathknell on my bread! So I am back to the drawing board again, feeding the little bit of miserly Scrooge who sulks on the counter. Must try the drama again, maybe on a warmer day. Lebkuchen and Garam Masala Macarons In the meantime, I am back with some feet that ran faster than Scrooge, that gave me more luck on the not so cheery day! Yes, it gladdened my heart to find success by way of Mactweets, our call this month to let the seasons and her holidays inspire you. We’ve had some stunning macarons join our ranks these past few weeks.Lebkuchen and Garam Masala Macarons I jumped in late and present my humble mac-offeringLebkuchen Macarons & Garam Masala Macarons with Salted Caramel Buttercream. I had piped out others, colours, flavours … but alas, the power tripped again, so I am glad to have a few.Lebkuchen and Garam Masala Macarons Lebkuchen and Garam Masala Macarons Jamie and I tempted you to Think COLOR: I did {though sadly my pinks and blues didn’t make it}; Think FLAVOR: I did … Lebkuchen and garam masala and salted butter caramel from Jamies recipe that I so love! Think HOLIDAY: Impossible not to. Kids at home 24 X 7, hungry and full of beans, pooch so excited to have kids at home so even she is more full of beans than ever before … always something happening!Lebkuchen and Garam Masala Macarons Lebkuchen and Garam Masala Macarons

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!

These holiday cookies are on the way to Suma’s Cakes And More Cookie Fest
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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

 

{Baking} MANGO VANILLA BAVARIAN CREAM CAKE … and a FOOT for MacTweets!

Through flour, sugar, butter and eggs, you’ve created the best recipe ever – friendship!
Janet @ LaDue & Crew

Yes, still summer here, with the rains that came and went, leaving us in a puddle of hot and humid misery. Not the perfect weather for macs, but then again, it was the finding my feet time of the month. Needless to say, they proved elusive again. The theme Jamie and I picked at MacTweets was ‘SING, SING A SONG‘, asking you to cook up something special, something toe-tapping, sing-along good! Sing I did, and the numbers being belted out in my mind were wide ranging. Primary of course the theme song from Friends, I’ll Be There For Youwhich I was going to dedicate my macs to… had they found feet.

It’s like you’re always stuck in second gear
When it hasn’t been your day, your week, your month, or even your year
But … I’ll be there for you (when the rain starts to pour)
I’ll be there for you (like I’ve been there before)
I’ll be there for you (because you’re there for me too)

To Bina who mailed me egg white powder from the States, to Ednah {Janet} who posted the cutest friends card for me, Johnny Depp and all, {a joke we share on twitter at the laundry club}, to Jamie who is the spirit behind my macs, to Ken who inspired the yellow, to Mardi my partner in humid conditions failed macs, to Barbara who’s become a mac-pro …

… and to all the gang at MacTweets for the inspired ‘feet‘ month after month! Thanks for joining Jamie and me at the ‘attack‘!

Songs have always been part of my life. The medley that the juke box plays in my head these days includes Waka Waka, Don’t Cry For Me Argentina, Wind Beneath My Wings, Walk of Life, Hey Soul Sister, The Day I Died, Fast Cars, Hey There Delilah. Then Jamie mentioned Cat Stevens and Leonard Cohen; she had me nodding. Add to that Dire Straits, Eagles, Van Morrison, Beegees, Barbara Streisand, Eric Clapton … the list is endless, like failed feet sagas! So well, in my little world, I had many ugly feetless macarons, and one kind of respectable ‘foot’, but they were all delicious. So here, like Cinderellas glass slipper, is my vanilla macaron with a white chocolate ganache cushioned on this Mango Vanilla Bavarian Cream Cake that I made for my Dad’s birthday. The idea was to have a whole bunch of them adorning the cake. Que sera sera, whatever will be, will be …
My Dad is as fruit obsessed as I am, though the choice of fruit differs. Summer means only mangoes for him, and though he doesn’t enjoy eating them, he is obsessed with buying kilos of them every other day. I know if the phone rings in the morning, it’s him on the other end, asking me to drive by and collect a bag of mangoes! I am mad about peaches and cherries, and it now appears that I inherited the fruit obsession from him!
So he called the other day, excitedly to tell me that a new local variety of mango, ‘langda’, that hit the market, and he had bought me some! I don’t even bother buying them now because he has a keen eye for the well ripened good varieties, and always delivers the best! Since it was his birthday in 2 days, and me being the official cake baker at home, I knew just what I wanted to bake! – A Bavarian Cream Cake with mangoes, inspired by this Raspberry Rose Vanilla Bavarian Cream Cake I had seen ages ago on Tartlette.
Baking the sponge is a cake walk {unlike making macs, sigh}, because there’s very little to the recipe. Use your favourite light sponge recipe, or use this one which I used for making ladies fingers in this Tiramisu here. I was going to make the cake in a jelly roll pan, and then decided to pipe it out since the piping bag for a macaron attempt was lying right there. The secret to a good sponge is to beat it well, and then try and retain as much beaten air as possible while folding in the flour. The measures for a 3egg sponge are in my head as I use the same recipe for making a Swiss roll often … 3 eggs, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup flour!
The Bavarian cream is a little time consuming, but I think that’s because I don’t make it often enough. I’ve just made it twice in the past – in this Peaches and Cream Cake  and this Strawberry Bavarian Cream Cake. One vanilla bean would do fine in there to dispel off any eggy smells in the pastry cream, but I used 2 because I wanted a deeper vanilla flavour. Also, I have enough vanilla beans on hand,and love using them! I used low fat cream because we don’t get heavy cream here.I halved Helen’s recipe for the Bavarian cream, and used a combination of skimmed milk and low fat cream. You can make this cake with peaches, strawberries or raspberries too. Mango is in season now, so here we are… 

Mango Vanilla Bavarian Cream Cake
Adapted from Tartlette

2 sponge bases
1 quantity Bavarian cream
1 quantity lime syrup
3 medium mangoes, diced into cubes

 For the sponge

3 large eggs separated 
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup plain flour
pinch salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 sachet vanilla sugar 

Method:
Whip the yolks with 1/4 cup sugar till pale and creamy. Add the vanilla extract and beat again.
Sift the flour over the beaten yolks and leave.
wash the beaters clean, whip the whites with the salt to soft peaks, add sugar and whip to a stiff meringue.
Fold the whites into the yolks and flour in 3 goes. Do this gently so as not to lose volume. Divide it into half and bake in 2 parchment paper lined 8″ shallow baking tins, or pipe into 2 9″ circles drawn on parchment paper. The bases will be very thin. Sprinkle with vanilla sugar
Bake for 12-15 minutes till golden brown and spongy.
Peel off paper, and cool completely on racks.

For the Vanilla Bavarian Cream
4 egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 vanilla beans {One bean will do too. I wanted a DEEP vanilla flavour}
1 1/4 tablespoons powdered gelatin, sprinkled over 3 tbsps water {Can reduce to 1 tbsp in cool weather}
600ml low fat cream {25% fat}

Method:
In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until very pale.
In the meantime, in a large saucepan set over medium heat, bring the milk, 200ml cream and the vanilla bean {split open and scraped over the milk} to a boil. Slowly pour the milk over the yolks, whisking constantly. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan over medium low heat and cook until the cream coats the back of a spoon {as if making creme anglaise}. 
Remove the vanilla bean. Add the softened gelatin and stir until melted completely into the cream. Let cool to room temperature, or cool over an ice bath, stirring from time to time, till it just begins to set.
Whip the cream to soft peaks and fold it into the cooled cream base. Use immediately.
Lime Syrup:
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
Juice of 1 lime
Method:
Put all ingredients in pan over medium heat and stir till melted. Remove and cool.
To Assemble:
Trim both the sponges to an 8″ diameter {The idea is basically to fit snugly into the dessert ring, or Spring-form tin ring that you plan to use. It has to hold the Bavarian cream in place till it sets, else it will ooze out.}
Place the dessert ring on a serving platter, add one sponge base and brush with lime syrup. Top with the cooled Bavarian cream. Add the diced mango pieces uniformly over the Bavarian, and top with the second layer of sponge, keeping the vanilla sugar side facing up. Press down gently, cover the ring with cling-wrap, and chill for 6-8 hours, or better overnight.
 ♥ Thank you for stopping by ♥
Would you like to win 500 customised business cards? You can leave a comment here before the 17th of July 2010 …

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