So I had high hopes for this – Pierre Herme’s foie gras macaron. I tasted it when I took his class last year and if there was heaven in a macaron, this was it! The combination of foie gras and milk chocolate was pure genius and the balance of flavor and texture is like nothing I’ve ever tasted.
I should have tackled the recipe immediately while the experience was still fresh in my head. But you know them Frenchies, verboseness in instructions is not a trait. You’d do well to read between the lines. Just check out the recipe below and you will know what I mean.
I love a challenge anyway specially when it comes to these bite-sized pastry favorite. The biggest problem facing me was how to cook the foie gras. All the instruction I got from the class was “to cook it until you smell it.” I was even told that the temperature to use was 350 F. I did get advise from twitter (I forgot from whom, but thanks!) to cook it at 250 F if I did not want to see my foie gras dissolve into a puddle of delectable, albeit useless, oil. My foie was already cut into slices which was probably not a good idea to start with and it did shrink quite a bit and lost more than half of its original weight. It was then that I recalled another tidbit from a year ago…use a water bath!
Well, too late.
After I strained the foie gras through a sieve, I was left with 95 g of foie from 350g – yes folks, I was left with less than a third of what I began with. Pathetic, really and I had to reduce the recipe ratios accordingly. I wondered why PH did not just give it a whir in the food processor but I eventually figured he wanted to sieve out the stringy veins and come out with a very smooth puree. With the great Pierre Herme, it is not about quantity but quality.
To make matters more challenging, PH uses gellan – a gelling agent that I have had no success in using. I always ended up with graininess and the results were no different this time either. It said to boil the mixture which didn’t make any sense because wouldn’t that dissolve my foie further? Well, I went with blind faith and no, the foie didn’t disappear and my gelee set in record time …but … was … GRAINY!
Times like these are when you want to cut your losses and forget about it. But I wanted to see how close (or how far) the taste was going to be so I soldiered on.
Check out the impromptu video I made here about making macarons via the French Meringue method.
500 g bottled water
1 cube chicken bouillon
Boil together and refrigerate.
Gelee de Foie Gras
125 g Chicken broth
250 g Foie gras mi-cuit
25 g Sugar
2 drops Tabasco
.4 g Black Pepper from Sarawak
4 g Gellan
Pass the foie gras through a fine sifter. Mix the hot bouillon with the foie gras puree, Tabasco, pepper and the Gellan. boil together. Add the sugar and emulsify.
Use right away.
Pour foie gras gelee in a frame. Spread flat and refrigerate. Cut 1.5 cm squares and freeze.
Milk Chocolate Ganache
125 g cream
125 g Milk chocolate
Boil the cream and pour a third over the chocolate. Stir from the center out. Repeat the process adding the hot cream in two more additions.
Surprise! Surprise! All was not lost. I was expecting to bite into the horrible texture of the gelee but amazingly enough the texture must have transformed overnight and everything was smooth and creamy. The downside was it did not have enough of the foie gras punch that I remembered from my first taste a year ago. I knew, I should have put a bigger gelee in the macarons, but when I tasted the gelee by itself I thought it was too “chickeny” – probably from the bouillon – so I used half as much.
I should have trusted the “Picasso of Pastry.” PH is all about balance, I should have trusted that the milk chocolate ganache would round out the flavor of the foie gras gelee, instead I played it safe and ended up with a muted taste.
For the milk chocolate ganache I mixed Valrhona 75% Jivara and 25% Guanaja. Another winning combination and the best chocolate ganache I have ever made! Yes, those percentages were a tip from PH himself and I encourage you all to try it.
I will definitely make this again. Besides tasting delectable, it makes a luxurious gift too!