Thursday, February 4, 2010

Number 40: Plain jane macarons with semisweet chocolate ganache

Yes. It's true. I have made macarons in the dorm kitchen.

I suppose that's not such a big accomplishment, but it is to me. An oven without a viewing window is damn annoying when you're trying to see if the feet have formed yet.
But I did it -- moderately successfully. Brought my coffee grinder all the way from California to do this, and afte
r finding myself with four egg whites left over from eclairs, I decided I was ready.

I let the egg whites age in the fridge for four days (Pierre Hermes recommends five, from what I've read). I bought whole almonds, powdered sugar, and cream for the ganache.
This time I decided to try a classic macarons without food coloring and a semisweet chocolate ganache - start simple until I get it perfect, and then branch out.

It worked, somewhat. A total of three trays went into the oven. Batch #1 came out nicely, although I'm afraid I didn't tap all the air out so there's an air bubble between the shell and chewy filling. Still tasty. Batch #2 was burnt, although when I cracked them in half there was no air bubble --- strange. Batch #3 was the middle child -- slightly burnt but still edible.

So here they are! The recipe, based on the Italian method, is posted with the specifics for a dorm kitchen, just for any NU students out there. Also, expect sea salt caramels --- made in a dorm kitchen, and without a candy thermometer. That's right. No thermometer.

P.S. Boyfriend has the stomach flu. I have a cold. Roomie's got a headache. What a sad picture.


Classic macarons
with semisweet chocolate ganache
adapted from Food & Wine and David Lebovitz


For the shells (find the original here. Omit food coloring.)
4 large egg whites
1 1/3 cup ground almonds (or almond flour)
1 1/3 cup powdered sugar
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons water plus 1 teaspoon

For the chocolate ganache
2 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon light corn syrup
1/2 tablespoon butter, unsalted

To make the shells
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place a rack on the uppermost divider of an NU dorm oven (it should be 2/3 of the way up). For regular ovens, divide the oven into thirds with two racks. Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Sift/whisk ground almonds and powdered sugar in a large mixing bowl. Using a spatula, mix in one egg white until evenly moist. Set aside.
3. In a small saucepan, combine 2/3 cup sugar with water. Bring to a boil, washing down crystals forming on the side with a pastry brush. Boil over high heat until it reaches 240 degrees on a candy thermometer. If you don't have a candy thermometer, dip a wooden spoon in occasionally and run under cold water. The syrup should move slightly on the spoon, but gather. You should be able to roll the syrup into a semi-soft ball when cold.
4. Meanwhile, in another large bowl and with clean beaters in the electric mixer, beat the remaining 3 egg whites until soft peaks form.
5. With the electric mixer at high speed, slowly drizzle the hot syrup over the egg whites. Beat until firm and glossy.
6. Stir 1/4 of the egg whites mixture into the almond mixture. Once fully incorporated, fold in the remaining meringue with a rubber spatula. Do not overmix! Be sure that the mixture is still smooth and "flows like magma," whatever that means. Normally I just make sure the mixture is rounded on the top and flows slowly in a ribbon when lifted from the batch.
7. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2 inch tip. Pipe out 1.5 inch mounds on the baking sheets, 1 inch apart.
8. Tap the sheets to remove any air. Let sit for 15 minutes to dry (at least 15-minutes)
9. Place in the oven (top rack only, dormmates), close the door, and turn off the oven. Bake for 5 minutes.
10. After 5 minutes, turn the oven back on to 400 degrees and bake for another 8 minutes. The meringues should be puffed up and the tops should be firm
11. Transfer baking sheet to a wire rack and let cool. Carefully remove the shells.

For the filling
1. Heat the corn syrup and heavy cream together in a pot.
2. Add in chopped chocolate. Let sit for a minute and then mix until smooth.
3. Add in butter and mix until melted. Let cool completely before using (it will thicken and be easier to spread).

2 comments:

Sally Loo's Cafe said...

you are adorable! while other students opt for cup-o-noodles, here you are making beautiful tasty treats!

Gala said...

Well I cant taste them but from the look of it they came out perfect!

And get well soon, all of you!