Archive for the ‘Take Me Home’ Category

Mad about Caramel Fleur de Sel Macarons

Tuesday, February 12th, 2008

              Caramel Fleur de Sel Macarons

With Chinese New Year baking completed and no baking schedule for Valentine’s Day, I finally had some time to make caramel fleur de sel, something that I’ve been wanting to try for the longest time.

I used Chef Pang’s recipe, found on Chubby Hubby’s blog, but found the resulting caramel way too salty on its own. It might have something to do with the accuracy of my digital weighing scale (I rounded up the amount of fleur de sel from 3.75g to 4g), but the next time I make this, I’m definitely cutting the sea salt down to 3g or maybe even 2g.

              Salted Caramel Macarons

I really couldn’t bear to throw all that caramel away and turned it into a buttercream filling for macarons instead. I also used vanilla flavoured macaron shells made with hazelnuts instead of almonds.

I have to say that I loved the resulting flavour; slightly savoury with a deep caramel flavour that still shone through the buttercream. I included them in a box of macarons I’d made for a dinner party at WL’s and they quickly became the most sought-after macarons, beating even the ever popular dark chocolate and opéra flavours!

These are definitely going onto the menu!

Salted Caramel Macarons

Caramel Fleur de Sel Recipe (adapted from Chef Pang’s version)

200g sugar
Sufficient quantity water
1/2 tsp pure vanilla bean paste or 1 vanilla pod
200g whipping cream, warmed
3g fleur de sel
140g unsalted butter, well-chilled and cut into cubes

1. Place the sugar in a heavy-bottom saucepan. Add just enough water to dampen the sugar.
2. Cook the sugar to 160 degrees C without stirring. The sugar syrup should take on an amber hue.
3. Take the saucepan off the heat and stir in the vanilla bean paste or the scrappings from the vanilla pod.
4. Add in the warm cream a little at a time - be very careful here as the caramel will foam up and sputter. I recommend wearing an oven mitt.
5. Add the fleur de sel and stir to make sure that all the caramel has dissolved.
6. Allow the mixture to cool to around 40 degrees C.
7. Add the cubes of butter and blend in the butter using an immersion blender until you have a smooth glossy paste.
8. Line the surface of the caramel with cling wrap to prevent a layer of skin from forming and chill in the refrigerator until needed.

Mad about Christmas Macarons

Wednesday, November 21st, 2007

Ginger Macaron

When I received my first enquiry back in August about Christmas baking, I thought it’d be a great idea to come up with limited period macaron flavours just for the Christmas season.

              Peppermint Macaron Shells

I was pretty excited about the new flavours I’d dreamt up, but the steady stream of orders for macarons and cakes meant that I never had the time to actually try them out until this week.

All three new flavours have a hidden centre, which I thought was wonderfully appropriate for Christmas; biting into the macaron to find a hidden surprise in the middle would be like opening up a beautifully packaged Christmas present to get to the gift inside. Well, almost…

              Peppermint Macaron

Peppermint Shells with Mint Tea White and Dark Chocolate Ganache

After all, what would Christmas be like without peppermint candy canes? While I love mint, I didn’t want the flavour to be overpowering and decided to go with chocolate as a filling. Even my husband who isn’t a great fan of mint likes the occasional After Eight thin chocolate square. For a subtler mint flavour, I went with mint tea infused white chocolate ganache as the main filling and a dark chocolate ganache in the centre. For those who don’t fancy white chocolate, there is also a mint tea dark chocolate ganache only version.

Christmas Spice Macaron

Christmas Spice Macaron with Ginger Rhubarb Buttercream and an Almond Paste Centre

I’ve always associated the smell of freshly baked gingerbread cookies with Christmas. It was easy to come up with just the right mix of spices for the macaron shells, but the filling was a little more difficult. I finally settled for a mildly tangy ginger rhubarb buttercream and a wonderfully aromatic homemade almond paste centre. Inspired by the deeply coloured macarons offered by Pierre Hermé and Ladurée, two of the finest pâtissieries in Paris, I went with a deep pink (almost red) colour for the shells. It wouldn’t be Christmas in a box without a touch of red now, would it? :)

Christmas Flavours

Ginger Macarons with Ginger Rhubarb Buttercream and Candied Ginger (pictured in the first photograph above)

My sister had told me many months ago about a ginger flavoured macaron that her colleague had tried. While I was mildly intrigued, I wasn’t too sure if it’d be well-received. Then I remembered those blistery cold winter nights in Sweden and how wonderful that cup of firey hot ginger tea I’d shared with WL and SH had felt then. While Christmas in Singapore isn’t quite as cold, there are days when it’s cold enough to make me wish for that extra bit of warmth. I suppose it was worth a shot.

The results were surprisingly good. I kept the ginger flavour in the shells and buttercream on the mild side and added candied ginger to the centre for a stronger flavour. It made for a mildly tangy macaron until you hit the slightly spicy candied ginger centre.

Christmas Macarons Cross Section

The downside of having waited so long to make these Christmas macarons is that I only have a few slots left for anyone wishing to try them.

Available for Purchase: Christmas in a Box @ a Price of S$45. Includes 28 macarons (3 Christmas flavours or any other flavour you fancy from the list here) in a long glossy red custom made box with fat green or gold ribbon.

Mad about Strawberries

Thursday, November 15th, 2007

Another Birthday Cake

The thing about using fresh strawberries (or any fresh fruit for that matter) in cakes is that one is always at the mercy of the latest shipment that arrives from where ever it is that the local supermarkets or grocers at the wet market get their fruit.

Personalised Birthday Cake

The truth be told, I get just a little nervous whenever I receive orders for strawberry cakes because I never quite know what I’m going to find on the supermarket shelves. This is especially true in the period between the end of the US season and the beginning of the Australian / New Zealand season. There have been days when I almost cried tears of dismay at the awful state of the strawberries that were available - over-ripened ones that were already beginning to turn to mush, under-ripened ones that were 1/3 greenish white, monsterously huge ones and sad tiny ones (both kinds in the same punnet) - I’ve seen them all.

Birthday Cake

These days, I get my strawberies from the fruit stands at the local wet markets and they’ve been great so far. I believe it’s because the grocers are more fastidious when picking produce for their stalls. Now if only the supermarkets could afford the time to sort their produce…

Cheesecake with Strawberries

The cheesecake pictured here is the 1st cheesecake order I’ve received. Many thanks to L for giving me room to experiment with a new recipe!