Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Macarons aux Framboises et Chocolat

Mixed Berry Tart

I've always heard people and friends say that having one baby is not like having two, and having three is definitely not like having two! It is true that having happy and healthy children is a blessing. Once we have them they become our reason to exist, our reason to smile or cry. But what a full time, endless job ....aaghhhh!!!

You must have guessed that I had a baby, which explains why my last post was more than a year old! and you also might have guessed that this is my baby number 3, and yes it is hard to keep up with our pre-baby routine/life once we have a new baby, in my case it meant less baking and less blogging unfortunately :)

Chocolate Raspberry Macarons
Chocolate Raspberry Macarons 

I didn't stop baking, oh no. I just don't do it that often, once or twice a month or every other month :) But that is not the main issue. It's the photographing part that became more difficult, especially when you are an amateur photographer. It takes me about an hour to get a decent picture, and sometimes I have to do editing. Then, I have to sit for a couple hours or so to write a post about it.

Mixed Berry Tart
Mixed Berry Tart

For the last 2 weeks or so, I started to feel the urge to bake again, style and photograph. The baby is  almost 11 month old now and giving mama a little more time to do other things than feeding, changing diapers and chasing him while he is exploring the world around him. I kicked up my debut with a mixed berry tart that my older son has been asking for. I have the recipe for fruit tarts on my previous posts, but I twisted a little bit my dough recipe. I'll post it in a near future (hopefully). I also made macarons. I enjoy making these French cookies even though I am not a big fan when it comes to eating them. I find them a bit on the sweet side, so the only flavors I can bare are chocolate and coffee. But when it comes to photographing these babies,  I find them very cute, colorful and extremely photogenic.

 I used to follow the french meringue method, but lately I tried the Italian meringue one and I find it better. For these raspberry chocolate macarons, I used one of the basic recipes of Pierre Herme that I found online. I added cocoa to make the chocolate ones and raspberry powder to make the raspberry flavored ones. I think the success or failure of macarons is mainly related to the oven temperature: too high and your macarons will crack, too low and you end up with flat macarons, extremely chewy with an almost raw like texture. After many failures, endless experiences and many trials, I found that heating the oven to a certain temperature then reducing it as soon as you put the cookies in the oven works well. I hope it will work for you too whenever you give it a try.......or tries, do not give up :)
Chocolate Raspberry Macarons

Chocolate Raspberry Macarons

150g ground blanched almonds
150g icing sugar
50g fresh egg whites
 2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
 2 Tablespoons raspberry powder (I use freeze dried raspberries that I ground very finely)
150g granulated sugar
 38g water
 55g aged egg whites

Chocolate Raspberry Ganache

150g semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, very finely chopped or grated.
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup raspberry puree (using a food processor, combine 1 cup or fresh or forzen raspberries, 1 tablespoon sugar and 2 teaspoons lemon juice. Mix and strain)


1-Line 2 cookie sheet pans with parchment paper and set aside.

2-In a food processor, combine the almonds and the icing sugar and mix until very finely ground. Sift the mixture and divide it into 2 parts. Add cocoa powder to one half and the raspberry powder to the other half.

3-Using a scale, divide the fresh egg whites into 2 parts and add each half to the almond mixtures. Set aside.
In a saucepan, combine the granulated sugar and water. Cook over medium high heat. when it reaches 180f start whipping the aged egg whites until stiff. .When the sugar mixture reaches 220f, slowly start adding the hot syrup to the whipped whites and beat until glossy. 

4-divide the meringue into two equal parts (again I used the scale). Fold each part of the meringue into the almond mixture. The batter should be shiny and not too runny.

5-Using a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip, pipe the cookie batter leaving 1 inch space between the macarons. Set aside to dry for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350. right after you put the pan in the oven, reduce the oven temperature to 300 and bake the cookies for 13 minutes. let the macarons cool completely before filling.

Ganache filling

Put the chocolate in a bowl and set aside.
Over medium heat, bring the heavy cream to a light boil. Pour over the chocolate and let stand for 30 seconds. Using a whisk, gently mix until the mixture is smooth and shiny. Add the raspberry puree. Leave in the fridge for 30 minutes stirring from time to time.
Fill a pastry bag with the firm ganache. Sandwich the cookies using one raspberry and one chocolate macaron.
Les macarons are best when left for 24 hours in the fridge.They keep well in an airtight container for 4 to 5 days in the fridge.


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