Friday, November 27, 2009

Cherry Brulee Cannoli Cups - Daring Bakers Nov 2009

I have to admit something. I have loved being a part of Daring Bakers so far, but I was feeling a little burnt out after last month. I was feeling lazy. And uninspired. Mostly lazy. So I dragged my feet when it came to finishing this month's challenge, and even though what I came up with was neither spectacular and kind of ugly, I couldn't bring myself to give it another go. The 40 degree weather didn't help things. And November was a busy, busy month for me, with my birthday and many others to celebrate. But I still wanted to participate this month, because I've never made cannoli before, and I was ready to conquer my fear of the deep fryer.

The November 2009 Daring Bakers Challenge was chosen and hosted by Lisa Michele of Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drives. She chose the Italian Pastry, Cannolo (Cannoli is plural), using the cookbooks Lidia’s Italian-American Kitchen by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich and The Sopranos Family Cookbook by Allen Rucker; recipes by Michelle Scicolone, as ingredient/direction guides. She added her own modifications/changes, so the recipe is not 100% verbatim from either book.
If I were to do this challenge again, there's no way I would have made these darned cannoli cups. There were a pain in the bum to get into a nice shape, and the whole time I was making these I kept thinking they looked really, really ugly. But it wasn't all bad, they tasted SO amazingly good, and I got to use some of the fabulous birthday presents I got, including Leona and Lisa's kitchen appliances, Betty's amazingly gorgeous tea cake stand and the blowtorch that A got me (he knows me far too well). (Don't worry Karen, I'll be using your present very soon!) It was very exciting to use the blowtorch for the first time, the whole idea for these was inspired by the amazing brulee tarts that they sell at Bourke St Bakery. That crunchy toffeed top cracks nicely and gives way to a creamy ricotta, vanilla and fresh cherry filling. It's the start of cherry season in Australia, one of my favourite fruits. It always reminds me of Christmas, a very Aussie Christmas.

Luck was on my side it seems, I walked into my local grocers to be greeted with the sad sight of a half empty tray of dead looking cherries. I was staring at it despondently when one of the guys working there goes to me "if you wait here for a minute, I'll go get you a fresh new batch!". How nice is that?! So before he even put it on the shelf, he opened up a huge bag of delicious cherries and let me have first pick. I decided to get more than I needed so I could eat plenty of them as I was baking (err, deep frying I mean).
Things did not go quite so smoothly after that. I had trouble figuring out how I would make my cannoli cups. Like big ugly warts rather than nicely shaped cups. In hindsight I should have attempted baking them instead of deep frying, but I really wanted those distinctive blisters on the side of my cups. I decided to use some steel cookie cutters to use as moulds, which I wrapped circles of the dough around. It was tough to get this to work. The dough kept expanding and falling off the moulds, meaning that it just turned into a flat, ugly thing as soon as it hit the oil. Also I wasn't rolling my dough thin enough, so it wasn't blistering and was going soggy. When I finally got the thickness right, I also read the hints properly (told you I was feeling lazy this month) and remembered to dock the bottom of my cups to stop them from ballooning up in the oil. I still had to do the cups one at a time which was a pain, but at least they were in some sort of shape that could hold a filling.

The filling was simple, but delicious. I upped the amount of vanilla, and made sure there were lots of cherries throughout. It was hard to torch the tops of the cups without burning the edges of the cannoli, so unfortunately they got even uglier. But we ate them quickly, before the cups got soggy and they tasted brilliant. The cherry, vanilla and ricotta combination is a winner and I would love to use it in a tart. The caramelised, crunchy tops were heaven, I will have to restrain from torching every single thing I bake from now on haha!

In an effort to hide some of the ugliness, I topped these cups with vanilla persian fairy floss, I hve two huge bags of it after my Mum bought me some when she saw it in a random gourmet store. I don't really think it made it any less ugly, but it was a good way to use up some of the fairy floss :)

I would definitely like to try some traditional cannoli tubes sometime in the future, but foolishly attempting these cups was a fun experience. Thank you so much for being such an awesome host Lisa Michele! It was great seeing all the help and support you were giving on the DB forums :)
Lidisano’s Cannoli
(Makes 22-24 4-inch cannoli)

For the cannoli shells:
2 cups (250 grams/16 ounces) all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons(28 grams/1 ounce) sugar
1 teaspoon (5 grams/0.06 ounces) unsweetened baking cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon (1.15 grams/0.04 ounces) ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon (approx. 3 grams/0.11 ounces) salt
3 tablespoons (42 grams/1.5 ounces) vegetable or olive oil
1 teaspoon (5 grams/0.18 ounces) white wine vinegar
Approximately 1/2 cup (approx. 59 grams/approx. 4 fluid ounces/approx. 125 ml) sweet Marsala or any white or red wine you have on hand
1 large egg, separated (you will need the egg white but not the yolk)
Vegetable or any neutral oil for frying – about 2 quarts (8 cups/approx. 2 litres)
1/2 cup (approx. 62 grams/2 ounces) toasted, chopped pistachio nuts, mini chocolate chips/grated chocolate and/or candied or plain zests, fruits etc.. for garnish
Confectioners' sugar

Note - If you want a chocolate cannoli dough, substitute a few tablespoons of the flour (about 25%) with a few tablespoons of dark, unsweetened cocoa powder (Dutch process) and a little more wine until you have a workable dough

For my cherry ricotta filling:
500g ricotta cheese, drained
80g confectioner’s sugar, (more or less, depending on how sweet you want it), sifted
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract/paste or the beans from two vanilla beans
1 1/2 cups fresh cherries, diced
Caster sugar
Optional: Vanilla pashmak, extra fresh cherries

I have adjusted the recipe to how show how I made my silly cups, but if you want the original method, check Lisa Michele's blog for her DB post.

1. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer or food processor, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, cinnamon, and salt. Stir in the oil, vinegar, and enough of the wine to make a soft dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and well blended, about 2 minutes. Shape the dough into a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest in the fridge from 2 hours to overnight.
2. Cut the dough into two pieces. Keep the remaining dough covered while you work. Lightly flour a large cutting or pastry board and roll the dough until super thin, about 1/16 to 1/8” thick (An area of about 13 inches by 18 inches should give you that). Cut out 3 to 5-inch circles (3-inch – small/medium; 4-inch – medium/large; 5-inch;- large. Your choice). Roll the cut out circle (I kept it a circle for the cannoli cups), rolling it larger and thinner if it's shrunk a little. Dock the centre of the dough, the area that will be used as the base of the cup, so that it doesn't balloon up when you place it in the hot oil
3. Oil the outside of the moulds you will use for your cups (I used my stainless steel cookie cutters) (You only have to do this once). I used my hand to gentlywrap a dough circle around the bottom of the cookie cutter.
4. In a deep heavy saucepan, pour enough oil to reach a depth of 3 inches, or if using an electric deep-fryer, follow the manufacturer's directions. Heat the oil to 350-375°F (190 °C) on a deep fry thermometer, or until a small piece of the dough or bread cube placed in the oil sizzles and browns in 1 minute. Have ready a tray or sheet pan lined with paper towels or paper bags. I had a lot of trouble maintaining my oil around the 360°F mark since I have stupid electric coils, so my cups browned very quickly.
5. Carefully lower a cannoli cup into the hot oil. Fry the shell until golden, about 2 minutes, turning them so that they brown evenly.
6. Lift a cannoli cup with a wire skimmer or large slotted spoon, out of the oil. Using tongs, grasp the cannoli cup upside down to drain any oil. Very carefully remove the cup with the open sides straight down so that the oil flows back into the pan. Place the cup on paper towels or bags to drain. Repeat with the remaining cups. While they are still hot, grasp the tubes with a potholder and pull the cannoli shells off the tubes with a pair of tongs, or with your hand protected by an oven mitt or towel. Let the shells cool completely on the paper towels. Place shells on cooling rack until ready to fill.
7. Repeat making and frying the shells with the remaining dough. If you are reusing the cannoli cup mould, let them cool before wrapping them in the dough.

8. Line a strainer with cheesecloth. Place the ricotta in the strainer over a bowl, and cover with plastic wrap and a towel. Weight it down with a heavy can, and let the ricotta drain in the refrigerator for several hours to overnight.
9. Remove cherry stems and pits, and chop up into small pieces.
10. In a bowl with electric mixer, beat ricotta until smooth and creamy. Beat in confectioner’s sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and blend until smooth. Fold in the cherries gently.
11. When ready to serve, either pipe or use a small teaspoon to fill your cannoli cups. Smooth the top of the filling with the back of a spoon or a spatula.
12. Sprinkle a generous layer of caster sugar over the top of the filling. Use a blowtorch to caramelise the sugar, creating a crunchy toffee top for each. Try to avoid burning the edges of the cannoli cups.
Optional: Top with vanilla fairy floss and a fresh cherry.
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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Ice Kacang

This post is for Reem! The last time I saw her she pleaded for someone to show her how to make ice kacang. Now before this I had never even considered putting a 'recipe' up for ice kacang, since there isn't really any kind of recipe, you just throw it together. Consisting of shaved ice, sweet syrups, jellies and fruit, it's a mish mash of whatever you can get your hands on or whatever you prefer. It is the PERFECT icy dessert on a stinking hot day (like the ones we have been getting in Sydney recently). It is essentially a more complicated and very strange snow cone. But oh so good.
I'm not going to tell you exactly how you should make ice kacang. The way I make it is probably completely different/wrong to what you may already know. But for me there are certain ingredients you have to have to make a really good Malaysian ice kacang. You may remember I made ice kacang macarons, inspired by this Malaysian dessert. The macarons are great in winter when it's way too cold for it, but the other night it was 32°C at midnight and we were desperate for something super cold. And if it's a hot day, an ice kacang is the ultimate dessert to cool you down. The Malaysians have muggy hot weather all the time, so they know what they're talking about.
The big three: Creamed corn, evaporated milk, rose syrup (cordial)

So, here are the three main ingredients I have to have in my ice kacang:

1. Creamed corn.
LOTS OF IT. Don't knock it until you've tried it. I will preach over and over that corn is great in desserts and when you combine the creamed corn with the other things it is perfection. I usually use between 1/2 to 1 cup of creamed corn in a bowl of ice kacang. It may look like a lot when you put it in but it disappear quickly amongst all that ice and syrup. You could also use whole corn kernels, but I like the texture of the creamed corn.

2. Evaporated milk.
Some people might like to use condensed milk, but normally the stalls sell it with evaporated milk since they use so much rose syrup and/or palm sugar, condensed milk usually makes it way too sweet. I like to punch a hole in the top of the can to make it easy to pour. I usually use about 2-3 tablespoons of it.

3. Rose syrup (rose cordial)
This is a MUST for me. If you don't like rose syrup, go eat cendol. Remember, this is not rose water, it's a bright pink, very viscous rose flavoured cordial, available in most Asian supermarkets. If you can't get your hands on this, don't fret too much. It's a pity, but you can still use any cordial or sweet syrup you can get your hands on; raspberry cordial works (you could add a tiny bit of rose water to make it similar to rose syrup), palm sugar (gula melaka) is commonly used as well, pandan essence. The thicker the better, so that it gets sucked up by the ice and doesn't make it a big puddle straight away. The brighter the better, you gotta love the crazy pink colour of rose syrup. I use a lot of rose syrup, and usually just do it to taste. I think I use around half a cup.

So in my humble opinion, once you have these three things, you can already be happy, go forth and make an ice kacang. I've made it with just these three things before and I haven't had any They are the main flavours of the dessert, so anything else you can get your hands on is just bonus. I do love to add lots of other things, because its very fun to dig into that mountain of ice and find all these sweet hidden surprises underneath.
What I could get my hands on - Red bean paste, grass jelly and jackfruit in syrup
Some possible extras include sweet red beans (azuki beans), grass jelly (a herbal, green/black coloured jelly), canned jackfruit, palm seeds, basil seeds, green pandan jelly noodles (like the ones in cendol) and canned lychees. All of these are usually available at any Asian supermarket (I raided Miracle supermarket at Macquarie Centre for my stash). But there's no reason why you have to use these, any sweet jellies (like the ones in bubble teas) work, and any canned or fresh fruit will work too!

Steph's Ice Kacang
(a vague method for making it)
Canned jackfruit
Cut up any fruit or jelly that you are going to use for your ice kacang. I usually use about one chopped up jackfruit per ice kacang since it's quite strong flavoured. Place fruit and jelly in a small chilled bowl that you will use to serve your ice kacang. I use about a half cup of grass jelly per bowl.
Jackfruit and grass jelly
Also add your ton of creamed corn a bit of the red bean paste to the bowl. About 2 tbsp of red bean paste, or however much you want. I find if I add too much the whole thing becomes a little too powdery.
Corn and red bean
Make sure you have a load of ice ready. By whatever means necessary, crush up your ice. I was lucky enough to get this handy snow cone maker for my birthday from A.
Ice, ice baby
It's usually better if you can blend your ice straight into the bowl, to avoid melting it more by touching it. I didn't really have a choice though.
I like to hide a layer of corn within the ice. You can never have too much corn!
Heap up the ice as high as you can in your bowl (I ran out of ice so this is as high as I could get).
You have to work fast from here to get to served before it melts into a big sticky puddle. Pour the rose syrup over your mountain of ice. Ooh and ahh at the pretty colour! Add any other syrups and cordials that you want here too.
Pour the evaporated milk on over the top. And maybe more rose syrup if you don't think it looks pink enough.
You can top it with a couple extra things if you want it to look prettier, at this point I was frantically taking photos as I watched the whole thing turning into a pink puddle at the bottom of the bowl due to the horrible heat. It was promptly delivered to the coffee table and consumed with glee until our teeth hurt and it looked like this:
It still tastes good even after it goes all melty! Enjoy!
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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Cloudberry & Vanilla Bean Newtons

Apologies for the slow down in recipes lately, November is usually a very hectic month for me and this year it's been a little crazy. I'm also trying to stick to trying out my own recipes rather than just using them straight out of cookbooks, which usually means more failures than successes. I wasn't going to post about these at first, as there were a few things that went wrong, but they tasted really good and the problems were due to my lack of finesse rather than the recipe itself. So maybe someone out there will give these a go and get them to work for real :)

I based these biscuits on a recipe for fig newton biscuits. The original recipe calls for you to cook down dried figs for the filling, but I didn't have any and I wanted to try using some cloudberry jam I had picked up for IKEA recently. (Who else loves the food at IKEA??) I remember first reading about baking with cloudberry jam on Julia's beautiful blog and was eager to experiment with it.
In hindsight I really should have been more careful when it came to sealing up the filling inside the biscuit. The jam is a lot more bubbly in the oven compared to a dried fig mixture and so in my hurry to get this into the oven (I really shouldn't bake on weeknights), I didn't quite press the edges of the dough together, and it resulted in half of the jam spilling out onto the tray and leaving the biscuit a bit dry and empty. Sadness! Especially sad since the jam tasted really REALLY good with the addition of vanilla bean. If you haven't tried cloudberry jam before, I totally encourage you to check it out; the fruit is an amber-coloured relative of the raspberry and blackberry, but is very tart and perfect in a sweet jam. The tartness, combined with the heady scent of vanilla makes these soft biscuits nicely balanced.
Cloudberry & Vanilla Bean Newtons
(adapted from The Essential Baking Cookbook)
75g unsalted butter softened
2 tbsp sour cream
3/4 cup soft brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 eggs lightly beaned
3 cups plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarb soda
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
450g cloudberry jam (I purchased mine from IKEA)
1 vanilla bean (or 1 tsp vanilla bean paste)

Pour jam into a small saucepan and split the vanilla bean and scrape its contents into the pan. Add the scraped vanilla bean pod to the mixture and slowly bring the jam to the boil, stirring very regularly to avoid burning. Reduce heat and simmer jam for about 5 minutes, reducing the water content. Remove from the heat and allow to cool, mixture will thicken considerably as it cools. Remove the vanilla bean pod from the jam.
Cream the butter, sour cream and sugar and vanilla in a small bowl with electric beathers until light and fluffy. Gradually add the egg, beating well after each addition. The mixture will appear curdled.

Transfer to a large bowl and fold in the combined sifted flour, baking pwder, bicarb soda and cinnamon. The mixture will be very soft. Wrap in a sheet of floured plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Line a bakng tray with baking paper. Divide the doug into three portions. Refrigerate two and roll the other portion on a floured surface to measure 12 x 28 cm. Spread a third of the filling lenthways along one half of the pastry, leaving a 2cm border on that side and on the ends. Brush the border with water.
Foled the unfilled half over the filling and press around the edges. If any cracks appear, smooth these over firmly. Trim 1cm from the side and ends to neaten (ensure that no jam is visible and the ends are tightly sealed or the jam with leak out in the oven). Lift onto tray and refrigerate. Repeat with the remaining portions of dough.
Lay three rolls on the tray, allowing room for spreading. Bake for 25 minutes, or until cooked and golden. Cool for 5 mins on a wire rack and then trip in the ends and cut each roll at 2cm intervals. When cold, store in an airtight container.
So, the centres of my cloudberry newtons were a little emptier than I had hoped for, but they still tasted fantastic and were a perfect afternoon tea snack. It was a real pity that I lost so much of the precious jam, I will have to buy more so I can try to make it again, hopefully with more success!
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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Macaron Day @ Adriano Zumbo Patisserie, Balmain

One of us slumps back on the seat. Another sips water slowly. I groan and clutch my stomach.

We did it. We went to Adriano Zumbo's patisserie on his special Macaron Day to celebrate his birthday, and we tried one of every flavour that was available. 48 macarons later, I felt like I had a macaron baby in my tummy. That night, I had nightmares of macarons coming to eat me - Revenge of the macarons!

It truly was one of the most insane things I've done in my life. Karen, Leona, Lisa and I had been planning to attend the Macaron Day from the first moment we heard about it. Plans were made, and were whipped up into an even greater frenzy when the list of flavours that would be available was released.
We arrived at a fairly sane hour of 10am. Apparently this was the perfect time to show up since it was between the morning and lunch time rush, so there was hardly anyone in the patisserie and there were tons of macarons! The front was decorated with tons of macarons, and had me wondering if they were just the fail macaron shells or if they actually made extra just for the display! Probably fail ones...
Anyway, we are all atwitter with excitement, seeing boxes and boxes of gorgeously colourful macarons stacked in and on top of the counter. There was something incredibly satisfying about walking in and saying "We'll have one of everything!". Here is the full list of flavours in all its glory:

1. Black truffle
2. Cheeseburger
3. Liquorice
4. Rice pudding
5. Finger bun
6. Popcorn
7. Mastic, yoghurt, cucumber and mint
8. Iced Vovo
9. Vegemite sourdough
10. Peanut butter
11. Pink grapefruit
12. Strawberry bubblegum
13. Mango and tonka bean
14. Cheesecake
15. Goats cheese and blueberry
16. Burnt butter
17. Burnt toast and butter
18. Maple syrup, bacon and pancake
19. Fig and blackcurrant
20. Strawberries and cream
21. Caramello Koala
22. Blue cheese and pear
23. Doughnut
24. Golden Gaytime
25. Avocado
26. Pan d’epice
27. Turkish delight
28. Neopolitan
29. Olive oil and rosemary
30. Carrot cake
31. Toasted marshmallow
32. Chocolate and red wine
33. Chocolate and mint
34. Chocolate and praline
35. Chocolate and passionfruit
36. Mexican chocolate
37. Tanzanian salted chocolate
38. Plantation chocolate
39. Chocolate citrus
40. Chocolate foie gras
41. Raspberry chocolate
42. Chocolate and salted caramel
43. Green tea
44. Date and orange
45. Lamington
46. Chupa chupa
47. French toast
48. Beer and peanuts
Chupa-chup macarons on sticks!
Makes your heart skip a beat doesn't it? It was far too hard to choose from that list so I was super pleased that we decided to get all of them. They even had specially packed boxes sitting on the shelves above ready for crazy people like us. The chupa-chup flavoured macarons immediately stood out, bright blue and standing on lollipop sticks - a last minute flavour addition which I had to get another of just because it was so cute.
Boxes full of macarons - one of each flavour

We took our treasure box of macarons down to the cafe and eagerly opened the enormous thing up. It was SOOOO PURDY! All those brightly coloured macarons, some perfectly shaped, some with crazy looking fillings and some with cool different shapes (like the tear-shaped fig and blackcurrent macaron). We ordered drinks and slowly started to taste test our way through the box, picking one at a time and each taking a small bite out of each. It was lucky for us girls that we had Karen's bf with us to help polish off the end of each macaron!
46 macarons ($110 incl a $10 black truffle macaron)

The box included 46 macarons in total, and we went back to the patisserie afterwards to try two that hadn't been placed in our box. All the macarons were said to cost $2 each except for the black truffle flavour, I'm not sure how the math worked out. The $10 black truffle macaron seemed a little steeply priced, and I think the fact that we tasted it amongst so many other macarons made its flavour less of an impact. Afterwards we returned to the shop to double check some of the flavours we had been unsure about while tasting (this didn't happen too often, most of the flavours were startling obvious as soon as you tasted them - caramello koala!) and realised we hadn't tried the neopolitan and the beer and nut flavour in our box, so those were tasted too (with some difficulty due to our macaron overdose).
I don't know what madness gripped me when I ordered my drink, but I chose an ENORMOUS iced white chocolate and immediately realised my mistake after tasting about 5 macarons. Too much sugar! I feebly managed about 5 sips of this drink before I switched over to gulping down glasses of water. It was a really nice drink though!
Iced white chocolate

So you've probably read all about Macaron Day on other blogs, but since it's nearing my birthday soon, I was considering this crazy day an early birthday present and so I thought I'd just share the highlights with you. We all had our different preferences, and there were many macarons that everyone loved, and many that were hotly debated. For me the most interesting was definitely this one:
Cheeseburger macaron

Isn't that just the nuttiest flavour you've ever heard of??? The cheeseburger macaron was a tomato sauce flavoured shell sprinkled with sesame seeds, with a tiny slice of cheese and small bits of pickles in the middle. Some people claimed that there was a hint of a meaty flavour in there but for me the most dominant taste was that of the tomato ketchup. Sweet and very sour, it was odd but intriguing, and surprisingly the flavour I remember the most out of the entire batch. The texture was a little soft and wet for my liking, but it looked so good! Everyone could tell straight away what the flavour was meant to be, just from the look of it.

Here were some of the prettiest macarons:
Not quite sure which flavours they were, I think maybe finger bun and a chocolate one. To be honest, all the chocolate ones tasted very similar to each other, maybe some had hints of spices that the others didn't but when you've had 5 chocolate ones they pretty much all taste the same. The black truffle macaron was also stunning, black shells with a white ganache and silver dust on top.

It was still early on and we were making our way through the box with clinical precision and speed. Here were some interesting ones:
Green tea

The green tea macaron was memorable because it was so so pretty, dusted with gold/bronze glitter, and it really had a good hit of matcha flavour throughout the biscuit and the ganache. I've had green tea flavoured sweets in so many places only to be disappointed by the lack of punch in the matcha flavouring, but this one did not disappoint.
Blueberry and goats cheese

Another that was bold and quite a curious pairing of flavours was the blueberry and goats cheese. The cheese flavour was incredibly subtle, only really apparently in a lingering aftertaste, but the blueberry was lovely, especially the bit in the centre. It made for a really pretty macaron too, with the white and purple shell (okay I might be a bit biased due to my love of all things purple).
Rosemary & olive oil

The rosemary and olive oil was another memorable one for me. I hadn't expected the rosemary to work in a sweet, but it was not too strong and very surprising indeed. Not everyone was a fan of this one, but I was thoroughly enjoying the unique range of flavours that were being presented to us, and it really had my mind running along with all the new possibilities for macaron flavours that I could try at home.
Nearly halfway there! Starting to struggle a little bit...

By this point some of us were starting to feel the effects of all that sugar. But Karen pressed us on, telling us we were almost there! The waitstaff and other people in the cafe very obviously thought we were stark-raving mad to try and eat the entire box in one sitting.
Strawberry bubblegum, chupachup

Everyone knows I'm 50% nanna and 50% hyperactive child. The chupa chup flavour and the strawberry bubblegum flavour totally spoke to my inner child, revelling in those sugary artificial flavours. It really tasted like strawberry bubblegum! And the chupachup flavour had popping candy in it! Too awesome. While others may not have been super wowwed by these, I had a lot of fun with them.

Along with the two above, I also bought an extra of the lamington flavoured macarons. Unfortunately I bought the extra ones before I tasted all the flavours, so I ended up with some flavours that I wasn't too crazy about. But I was so pleased with the lamington flavour, it tasted just like how I imagined it would and was a favourite of the ones I took home. I also took home an avocado, pancake with maple syrup and bacon, burnt toast and butter and a fig and blackcurrant one (I had to, it was purple!). The pancake, maple syrup and bacon one disappointed me a little, it just tasted really sweet and I think I was expecting it to have more bacon in it or something. The avocado flavour tasted a little too strongly of unripened avocado, not quite like the creamy avocado/sweetened condensed milk flavour that I've had when I've had avocado as a sweet before. The burnt toast and butter tasted EXACTLY as it's described, it was crazy.
Salted caramel and chocolate

The moment I saw the salted caramel and chocolate macaron I knew it would pack a punch. Intensely rich dark chocolate and very salty caramel indeed, it was indulgent and I don't think I could have eaten a whole one even if I was having it on its own, rather than with 40 others. The ganache was gorgeously thick and smooth.
Chocolate and mint

Surprisingly, the chocolate and mint was the huge hit as we approached the end of the box. Most of us were looking as green as the colour of the biscuit by this point, but all of us loved the lightly refreshing taste of the fresh mint in the macaron, which made it much better than if it had just been made with peppermint essence.
Chocolate and raspberry

The chocolate and raspberry was definitely one of my favourites of the chocolate combinations. All the chocolate and fruit flavours were intense and really lovely, Karen was in raptures about the citrus and chocolate flavour and I had loved the orange and date macaron. The raspberry was probably one of the less strong flavours, to the point where some mistook it for the turkish delight flavour, until we tasted the real turkish delight flavour which was a very light rose flavoured macaron with no chocolate (I love turkish delight, so this one made me smile). We all decided at the time that no matter what flavour it was, it was really good!
The final three: peanut butter, blue cheese and pear & licorice
All of us wished that we had ended the box on the chocolate and mint flavoured macaron, since it was almost palate cleansing - like an after dinner mint. Instead we ended with three of the heaviest, strongest flavours (probably because kept putting these ones off!); peanut butter, licorice and blue cheese and pear. I couldn't eat the peanut butter flavour, but the licorice flavour wasn't too bad (I'm only a recent fan of licorice), and the blue cheese and pear flavour had that very distinct blue cheese aftertaste.

And with that final, desperate push to taste those final macarons, we had done it. In less than an hour and a half, the entire box was gone. Our bites of each one had gotten smaller and smaller as time went on, til we were having squirrel-nibble-sized bites at the end. And so with a a sigh and possibly a small belch, we completed what we had set out to do. It was a little bit epic. I probably wouldn't do it again, but I'm so glad I did do it so at least I can't regret missing out on any of the really good flavours. Happy Birthday to Adriano Zumbo, only he could come up with something as unique and zany as this for a celebration! It was a pretty good early birthday present for myself, It's great how many November babies there are!

It might be a while before I can eat another macaron.

Adriano Zumbo Patisserie
296 Darling Street Balmain
(02) 9810 7318

Monday-Saturday: 8am to 6pm

Sunday: 8am-4pm

Adriano Zumbo Cafe Chocolate
Shop 5, 308 Darling Street Balmain

(02) 9555 1199

Monday-Friday: 8am to 4pm

Saturday: 8am-5pm

Sunday: 9am-5pm

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