Random thoughts about macarons and other sweet stuff

chocraspmac02
Chocolate Macarons with Raspberries

Just finished making my macarons for this weekend’s Farmer’s market. While making my crunchy chocolate souffle flavor, I had some leftover macaron batter that wouldn’t exactly fit on a full tray so I decided to experiment with bigger macarons.

The above macaron is about 7cm and made with the Italian Meringue. Normally, for this method, you just put the macarons straight into the oven without drying the tops, but for this size I dried it for about 20 minutes and baked it at 310F convection for about 20 minutes. I piped chocolate ganache in the middle, and I do wish now that I put some raspberries in the middle too, because that was a whole lot of ganache.

Now to answer some of your questions that I’ve received from emails and comments on my Macaron Chronicles.

When you live in a humid country like Singapore, Philippines or Malaysia

Macarons do have a difficult time drying in humid conditions. Air conditioning helps but most households do not have this. You can try using an electric fan but that is not always the solution. I tried making macarons in Baguio and had the weirdest experience with the macaron shells never really drying even if they were under a ceiling fan. And Baguio is hardly a humid city,but sometimes cold and wet is worse than hot and humid. When I notice too much moisture in my macaron batter I extend the cooking time by 1 minute. Sometimes it is also the eggs. If the chicken is free-range and eats grass there tend to be more moisture in its albumen.

Air-pockets

If overmixing is ruled out, this is usually undercooked macarons or sometimes the nut particles may not be fine enough. If you cannot grind your almonds finely you can probably increase your nuts. But really, even the best of us gets this sometimes and as long as they’re not too big and your macaron doesn’t look hollow, they should be fine.

Wrinkly tops

Nuts are too oily or the egg-whites are too wet. Not everyone has a commercial nut grinder. What you can do is break up the nuts part-way, add your confectioner’s sugar (powdered sugar) and continue grinding. I usually get the wrinkled top with my chocolate macarons that uses cocoa powder because of the oil content in the cocoa. Chocolate macarons made with cocoa powder taste more like a brownie than a macaron.

Baking multiple-trays in the oven

I bake a maximum of three trays in the oven without changing the temperature. I use convection. Remember the more trays you bake the more humid it gets in the oven.

chocraspmac01
Big Mac

Pocket Pies

Since I started baking professionally, I’ve stopped buying every kitchen gadget I see, however when I spotted a picture of a miniature pie on twitter made with this pie-cutter from William’s Sonoma, I couldn’t help myself.

pocketpie
Pocket Apple Pie

What do you all think?

I was dubious at first if I was even going to get enough filling in  it, but I did and it was the perfect size. In the future though, I don’t think I’ll use the lattice-cut for fruit pies. As pretty as it may look, it’s hard keeping the juices in.

One note about the cutter. The lattice was hard to cut out directly. I used the regular cutter and then took the dough and pressed it on the lattice-cutter to get the pretty design out.

A Pumpkin Dessert

Made this yummy and healthy sweet dessert yesterday. My friend’s Aunt brought an asian pumpkin, I think it’s a kabocha squash.

japsquashcoco
Pumpkin and Coconut Milk

 

Wash the pumpkin, cut it into pieces and remove the hard knots that stick out from the skin. Lay it on a pot, pour a can of coconut milk {around 14 oz}, 130 grams of palm sugar, 2 tablespoons white sugar. Really you can just sugar to taste. Add a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil and simmer undisturbed until soft, around 15 minutes. I prefer my pumpkin with a little bite and not too soft. You can substitute brown sugar for the palm sugar.

This is absolutely delicious and healthy too! :)

 

 

 

14 thoughts on “Random thoughts about macarons and other sweet stuff

  1. VERON! Salamat for this! Very insightful and covers things that aren’t covered in many other blogs – a great source of information. What about this – when macaron feet rise in the oven and then deflate once removed from the oven?

  2. Veron,
    thanks for answering my question in this post. Initially, I did wonder whether I was undercooking them because the innards always seemed slightly sticky. But I was just afraid they would brown if I left them in too long. I’ve written to a few other bloggers too; hopefully the air pocket problem will be solved soon :)
    oh and I love pumpkin! especially when it’s cooked with a lot of sweet potato and sago.

  3. I’m living in a humid climate, thus I’m drying the egg whites and the almonds in the oven on a defrosting function for a couple of hours. And there is a great difference in the final result. Besides I’m switching the air conditionner on a dehumidification function for at least 4 hours before starting with the macarons making. Otherwise no matter what I do my macarons are cracked and feetless. I know dehumidifying and dehidrating could be really annoying but this is the only solution.

  4. That’s a lot of dessert. First off, the macaron is beautiful. Love the tips too since they’re always tough to make. The pies are adorable and the squash looks great too!

  5. Trissa – my macarons used to be that way, I adjusted my dry ingredients as well as my oven temperature.
    Ben – try lowering your temperature and cooking them longer. I also find stickiness due to oily nuts. You can always leave the nuts out to dry a day or so.
    Thanks Rosa!
    Hi Silvia – I have read about other folks having to dry the nuts in the oven but haven’t heard about the egg whites. I guess it might also be similar to microwaving the egg whites.
    Thanks El!

  6. I would never have thought of all the trouble that others have making them because I live where there is not that much humidity. The best thing I like to do is buy yours. I try to pick them up anytime I am in your part of the country.

  7. These are beautiful! I can see where baking these would be difficult if you live in other places. I just started traveling and I have noticed when I make my breakfast, I have to cook things longer or shorter depending on where I am in the country.

  8. I hear you in the humidity, I’m in Japan, so it gets really humid, but fall is beginning to settle in and it’s really cooling off, none the less, they do look rather lovely…I sure bet they taste good too.

  9. You are my macaron goddess! I wish I could make sweets as delicate and pretty as yours! That pocket pie is adorable…

    What serendipity, I have squash and coconut milk in the fridge that I need to use up!

  10. Thanks everyone!
    Joey, glad you made the squash dish and liked it! :)
    Trissa – yes, add a little more TPT, for oven temp less temperature.

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