Archive for April, 2007

Mad about Opéra Macarons

Friday, April 13th, 2007

Opera Macarons

These delightfully pale macarons were inspired by the opéra cake, a cake made popular by the well-known Dalloyau Parisian pâtisserie more than 50 years ago.

The opéra cake, or Clichy cake (named after Louis Clichy who supposedly created this cake), is an elegant mulit-layered cake made up of several thin layers of joconde (an almond sponge cake), a layer or two of coffee buttercream, a layer of chocolate ganache and a topping of chocolate glaze.

              Opera Macarons

Since macarons have at least 2 similar components (almonds, buttercream or chocolate ganache) to the classic opéra, I though it would be an interesting experiment to “port” the combination of flavours in the cake to macarons.

Opera Macarons

For the shells I experimented with ground hazelnuts, which have a much stronger flavour than almonds. I especially love the contrast of the tiny flecks of dark brown hazelnut skin against the pale creamy colour of the shells. The macarons were then sandwiched with an expresso-flavoured italian meringue buttercream and a chocolate ganache centre.

Opera Macaron Anatomy

The resulting macaron was a wonderful combination of flavours and textures - nutty & chewy hazelnut macarons, aromatic & fluffy expresso buttercream and decadently rich dark chocolate ganache. Wildly addictive, even for a non-coffee drinker like me!

[Latest Update: 1 May 2007] Available for Purchase: 1.5″ - 2″ macarons @ S$2.00 each (min purchase of 28 macarons, choice of 3 flavours per order of 28). Please see this post for other flavours or click here. Gift box packaging available @ a nominal cost.

Mad about Macarons for Sale

Sunday, April 8th, 2007

Hazelnut & Coffee Macarons

You can now have these delicate and elegant French confections at your next tea party, birthday party, picnic, office event or simply because they are so wonderfully addictive! They also make perfect gifts for your friends or family for that special occasion.

Flavours Available: Chocolate (with dark chocolate ganache), Hazelnut (with hazelnut chocolate buttercream), Lemon, Rose, Raspberry (with a light lemon, rose and framboise buttercream respectively), Opera (with expresso buttercream and a dark chocolate ganache centre), Apricot (with apricot cream, studded with plum apricot bits and a nut praline centre), Pistachio (with pistachio paste and a nut praline centre), Blackforest (with dark chocolate ganache and a cherry centre). Custom flavours available on request.

Chocolate Macarons with Dark Chocolate Ganache:

Trio of Chocolate Macarons

Hazelnut Macarons with Light Chocolate Hazelnut Buttercream:

Hazelnut Macarons

Lemon Macarons with Tangy Lemon Buttercream:

Lemon Macarons

Rose Macarons with Delicately Scented Rose Buttercream:

Rose Macarons with Rose Scented Buttercream

Raspberry Macarons with Fruity Framboise Buttercream:

Pink Macarons with Framboise Buttercream

Available for Purchase: 1.5″ - 2″ Macarons @ S$2.00 each (min purchase of 28 macarons, choice of 3 flavours per order of 28). Elegant gift box packaging available @ a nominal cost.

For details on how to place your order and full listing of available macaron flavours, please click here.

Mad about French Strawberry Cake

Friday, April 6th, 2007

French Strawberrry Cake

This cake came about only because I wanted to empty my fridge of the following: 1 1/2 pints of disappointingly-bland Californian strawberries, 1/2 bowl of milk chocolate cream waiting to be whipped and 1/3 cup of raspberries, which at S$8.95 a box, were too precious to let go to waste.

French Strawberrry Cake

With these ingredients in mind, I flipped through my collection of cookbooks for some inspiration and came across a recipe for French Strawberry Cake in Dorie Greenspan’s Baking with Julia. It sounded like a delightfully light cake, which was perfect after a weekend of sinfully rich chocolate desserts.

My only gripe with the recipe was that it called for a genoise sponge cake. I’ve always found genoise sponge cakes tricky to master. One turn too few of the spatula and the flour doesn’t get worked in properly; one turn too many and the batter becomes too fluid and the cake won’t rise. In my opinion, even macaron batter is a little more forgiving than genoise batter.

Despite my misgivings, I forged ahead with the Perfect Genoise recipe from the same book. The first attempt was a none-too-surprising failure; I’d overfolded the batter. I managed to salvage the top 1/3 of the cake, which was still surprisingly light and airy, and discarded the dense bottom 2/3 of the cake. The second cake, on the other hand, turned out perfect.

Slice of French Strawberry Cake

The result was a creamy yet light cake with 4 layers of genoise, 2 layers of cream and mashed strawberries (soaked overnight in sugar) and 1 thin layer of chocolate whipped cream. I even attempted piping with whipped cream - something I’d done only once before in my entire life.

Will I make this cake again? Most definitely, but perhaps I ought to get more practice with the genoise sponge first.