Archive for May, 2007

Mad about Maccies

Monday, May 28th, 2007

Assorted Macarons

You know you have a serious obsession with a particular food when you actually have a nickname for it. In my case, it’s macarons, also affectionately known around my house as “maccies”.

I made these little babies this past weekend for a very special group of ladies, who very unselfishly share their treasured recipes and baking tips with anyone who’s interested in cooking and baking. Thank you very much, ladies, for being so generous and helpful all the time!

Assorted Macarons

From left to right: Opéra (coffee cream with chocolate ganache centre), Pistachio (pistachio paste with nut praline centre), Chocolate (with dark chocolate ganache) and Blackforest (my latest flavour: dark chocolate ganache with an alcohol-soaked cherry centre).

Another Macaron Order

I’ve seen many photographs of all sorts of macarons on various food blogs and couldn’t help but notice that in 90% of these macarons, one can barely make out the filling. The most obvious exceptions are Pierre Hermé’s macarons, which have a thick layer of filling. I’m really curious to know which version people generally prefer:

(A) Two macaron shells stuck together with a subtle layer of filling OR
(B) Two macaron shells stuck together with a generous amount of filling.

It’s obvious which I prefer, but do let me know which one you’d rather have!

I’m thinking of trying the following flavours next:

(1) Green Tea Shells with Chestnut Paste (I first read about this combination of flavours almost 2 years ago here)
(2) Mango Shells with Mango Mousse
(3) Black Sesame Shells with White Sesame Paste (inspired by Lynn’s post on macarons)

Do stay tuned!

Mad about Getting Back to Baking

Saturday, May 26th, 2007

Strawberry Chocolate Cake Order

I’m glad to be home after a short work stint in KL. As fun and interesting as it was to work in a new office environment with some very nice people and as wonderful as it was to have such gracious hosts as C and WS, I have to admit that I missed messing around in my kitchen terribly.

Strawberry Chocolate Cake Order

Which was why I was really excited to receive a special request for this strawberry chocolate cake from a customer early this week - just before I was to fly back home. Her timing couldn’t have been better! It gave me a reason to get back to my kitchen almost right away without having to think too hard about what to bake.

I was a little concerned initially about whether strawberries would still be in season, despite the fact that they were still abundant when I’d left for KL. As it turned out, the supermarket shelves were still full with punnets of Californian strawberries.

Thank you for your order, S! I hope everyone enjoyed the cake as much as I enjoyed baking it!

Available for purchase: 10″ Strawberry Cake @ Price of S$55.

Mad about New Macaron Flavours

Sunday, May 6th, 2007

Macarons with Pistachio Paste Buttercream & Praliné

Despite the laborious process that is macaron making, I can never stay away from these petite French confections for long. This time it was the glowing reviews on Pierre Herme’s Arabesque and Pistachio & Griottine macarons that I’d read on other food blogs that sent me off to the nearest supermarket for almonds, pistachios and apricots.

Apricot Macarons with Apricot Cream & Praliné

PH’s Arabesque macarons (based on the various descriptions I found) are supposed to be pistachio dusted macaron shells with apricot cream filling and pistachio praline. Not being a big fan of pistachios, I left out the pistachio on the shells and replaced the pistachio praline with almond & sesame praline.

Apricot Macarons with Apricot Cream & Praliné

The texture of the apricot macarons was amazing – chewy macaron shells with smooth apricot cream and crunchy, nutty praline. I’ll definitely be making these again. The only problem I had was that the macaron shells turned out somewhat on the flat side because I’d overmixed the batter.

Macarons with Pistachio Paste Buttercream & Praliné

The other PH macaron (pistachio & griottine) which I wanted to try recreating at home is supposed to be filled with pistachio paste and have an alcohol-soaked griottine in the centre.

I faced three problems in this quest. The first being that I had no idea how to make the smooth jade-green pistachio paste I’d seen in the few photographs of these macarons, so I improvised and made the pistachio paste with ½ cup of finely ground pistachios, ½ cup of confectioner’s sugar and a few tablespoons of water, which I then blended together with some buttercream.

Ingredients for Macaron Filling

The second challenge is that griottines in glass bottles are impossible to find here in Singapore. I’d only seen them on supermarket shelves in Germany. The only things remotely close to the small sour cherries over here are canned dark sweet pitted cherries in heavy syrup. I didn’t think that these syrup laden cherries would be a suitable replacement and went for a praline centre instead.

The last small problem I had was not knowing where to get powdered colouring (dark pink) for dusting the macaron shells and ended up using cocoa powder, which wasn’t the best replacement since it has a slightly bitter taste. [Latest Update: 13 May 2007] I’ve since been told that powdered colouring can be found at B-I-Y.

Various Combinations

As an experiment, I used dried apricot bits for the centre in some of the pistachio macarons. I preferred the nut praline version - it went very well with the pistachio filling. The version with the apricot bits was a little strange - the apricot flavour was too intense and didn’t go as well with the pistachio cream.

Inside my macarons

Taste-test conclusion: The apricot macaron with its apricot and praline centre is something I’d definitely make again. I really liked the pistachio macaron with its pistachio cream and praline centre as well. Next time I’d probably experiment with a cherry centre when cherries are in season.

Available for purchase: 1.5″ - 2″ macaron @ S$2.00 each (min purchase of 28, choice of 3 flavours per order of 28). Listing of flavours here or here. Gift box packaging available @ a nominal cost.

For details on how to place an order, please click here.