Once again, it's Mactweets Mac Attack time! This month, the theme is Pinkarons for Pinktober Challenge in honour of Breast Cancer Awareness month in October. After a long hiatus (I can't even remember when was the last time I made macarons), I am finally getting my act together and rejoining the Mac Madness, with some gentle prodding from the lovely Jamie over at Life's A Feast :)
Inspired by my recent trip to Marrakech and the wonderfully bright coloured decorative items such as lamps, glassware, carpets, ceramics etc, I decided to make macarons in various shades of pink and fill them with a fig and mascarpone cream. The styling for the photos were also inspired by the celebration of all things feminine so I decided to shoot the macarons as if they were precious gems in a jewellery collection. A little unusual, but I was pleased with the results. I'd like to think of these macarons as Jewels of Marrakech... I'm thinking of submitting some of my pics to Foodgawker or Tastespotting (never done so before!) but I've heard that it needs to cropped in a certain way, sharp, whitish, etc. This set of pics are pretty much close-up and composed for portrait orientation (as opposed to the square pics foodgawker looks for) so I might have to go search through my discarded shots. Anyway, in the meantime, it's all just for you guys!
I used my usual recipe for macarons, except that I divided the batter and coloured them 3 different shades of pink.
Macaron Shells (makes about 50-54 shells)
recipe adapted from Cannelle & Vanille
100g egg whites, aged
3g egg white powder
130g almond flour (blitz in food processor to get a finer texture)
160g icing sugar
55g castor sugar
pink gel food colouring
Sift icing sugar and processed almond flour together in a bowl. Set aside.
Mix egg whites with egg white powder and whisk in electric mixer until soft peaks on medium high speed.
Lower speed on electric mixer and add in castor sugar slowly while still whisking until fully incorporated. Continue whisking on medium high speed until your egg white meringue mixture reaches stiff peak stage.
Fold in 1/3 of dry ingredients (icing sugar + almond flour) into meringue with a spatula gently. Add in 1/3 more and fold again before mixing in the last 1/3 of the dry ingredients. Make sure all dry ingredients are incorporated into the meringue and start folding mixture more vigorously to form a shiny batter with the consistency of flowing magma or drips down like ribbons when you lift the batter up and let it drip down, and it should slowly disappear into itself without leaving a peak. Be careful not to over mix. If you are adding colour, add it just after all dry ingredients have been incorporated and before working the mixture into a shiny mass. (I divided the batter when the dry and wet ingredients were roughly incorporated, and then added food colouring to each batch before working it more vigorously to get to the flowing magma stage.)
Line 2 baking trays with non-stick parchment paper (or silpat). You can stick it down with bits of batter in the four corners.
Fill a piping bag fitted with a 1cm round tip with the batter, and pipe even rounds of batter, about 3cm across, onto the tray. If you've mixed the batter properly, it should not spread flatly out too much (overmixed) or leave a peak (undermixed)
Let the batter dry for about 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 170 deg C (convection oven or 180 dec C if conventional oven).
When batter is dry to touch (it forms a slight crust), turn the oven down to 140 deg C (or 150 deg C for conventional oven) and bake shells for 14-15 min, turning the trays halfway through baking.
After baking, lift parchment onto wire rack to let shells cool and gently unmould when cool.
Fig & Mascarpone Cream Filling
6 ripe figs
3 tbsp brown sugar
120g mascarpone cheese
50ml single cream
Quarter the figs and remove the skins.
Simmer the brown sugar, water and figs in a saucepan over medium to low heat, stirring occasionally and making sure it does not burn.
When the figs look like they have broken down, and the mixture is reduced to a thick almost jam-like consistency, take it off the heat and cool to room temperature.
Whisk the mascarpone cheese and cream together until stiff peaks.
Fold in the cooled fig jam into the cream.
Fill cream into piping bag fitted with 1cm round tip.
Match pairs of shells of even size.
Pipe a small mound of cream filling onto one half of each pair of shells.
Top with the other shell.