Monday, March 25, 2013

Easter Trifles (with Chick Macarons)

Easter Trifles (with Chick Macarons)
Let's not beat around the bush; I've had a spectacularly shit week. Oh hell, I've had a spectacularly shit month. Excuse the language but I need to get it out there. My blog is my favourite place to get ranty. The one good thing that came out of this week was these Easter-themed trifles. Aren't they adorbs?! They are individual serve chocolate & orange trifles topped with a white chocolate nest, speckled eggs and orange white chocolate chick macarons. A bit of a mouthful and certainly much more complicated than last years super popular Cheesecake-Filled Chocolate Easter Eggs, but so worth the effort.
Easter Trifles (with Chick Macarons)
I love a good trifle any time of the year. I was inspired to put these together after my brother bought me the cutest, tiniest pastel coloured speckled eggs from Aldi (love Aldi!). I really wanted to do some sort of nest-like dessert and trifle was the first thing that came to mind. It was hard to think of the best flavours to use at Easter, but since I was using chocolate eggs I settled for the classic combination of orange and chocolate (a family favourite).
Easter Trifles (with Chick Macarons)
It's taken me a while to work up the energy to make a trifle again. I'm still emotionally scarred from my epic 7-layer passionfruit trifle that I made for Asian Gaga's birthday last year, which I managed to upend on the floor right after I finished the first attempt. I can still picture the smashed ruins of jelly, cream, sponge and macarons all over the white carpet. I thought that individual serves would be cuter for this themed trifle, especially topped with grated white chocolate to make it look almost like a nest. And then the sweetest chicklet macarons!
Easter Trifles (with Chick Macarons)
For the record, I know that chick macarons have been done for Easter by other blogs. Everyone seems to be into making animal-shaped macarons these days! But since these were just one component of a dessert I figured it would be fun to try. Plus I get to add them to my growing animal macaron zoo on this blog (which now includes koalas, cats, pigs, and another Easter favourite; bunnies). I had so much fun making them, but I did manage to nearly forget to add the salt until the last minute, which led to bumpier than usual shells since the salt grains didn't dissolve. 
Easter Trifles (with Chick Macarons)
The macarons are filled with a simple white chocolate orange ganache. They are so good to eat once you get over the fact that you are chomping into their cute little faces. I made a simple chocolate sponge, which I brushed with Grand Marnier and then layered with a homemade orange jelly and whipped cream dotted with vanilla beans. I also added a dash of Grand Marnier to the cream which gave it wonderful richness and got me just a leeeeeetle bit tipsy after eating one of the trifles.
Easter Trifles (with Chick Macarons)
I KNOW, you're probably thinking this is all way too complicated to attempt. But if you prep all the components the day before it isn't that bad, and you can even use store-bought sponge and packet orange jelly (this is one of the few times I will condone store-bought cake) or fruit to save time. You can skip the macarons or make sugar cookies instead. Or you could just make the macarons on their own. The possibilities are endless! Make sure you check out all my other Easter recipes from previous years. It's one of my all-time favourite holidays to bake for.
Easter Trifles (with Chick Macarons)
Chocolate & Orange Trifles with Chick Macarons
(serves approx 6-8 people, makes about 15 macarons)
For the macarons: (if you are a beginner with macarons, read up and practice plain macarons first. BraveTart has lots of useful advice and info on the subject)
100g aged egg whites (you can use fresh eggs too, just make sure they are room temperature. I always use fresh these days, and zap it in the microwave on defrost for 10 seconds)
1/2 tsp salt
110g almond meal, at room temperature and well sifted
200g icing sugar
50g caster sugar
Yellow food colouring (powdered or gel)
Optional: 1 tsp powdered egg whites (available from The Essential Ingredient), helps to stabilise egg whites but is not necessary
To decorate: Orange heart sprinkles/orange candy coated fennel seeds, black food colouring,

Line two baking sheets with baking paper. Place icing sugar in food processor and pulse for a minute to remove any lumps. Stir in almond meal and pulse for about 30 seconds to combine. Sift into a large mixing bowl and set aside. Using an electric mixer, beat egg whitesm salt and egg white powder in a medium mixing bowl until the egg white powder dissolves and it reaches soft peaks. With the mixer on high speed, gradually add sugar and beat until it reaches stiff peaks. (You can add the food colouring to the meringue as you are beating it to stiff peaks, it makes it easier to adjust how much colouring to add. Otherwise add it in the next step.)
Add meringue to your dry mixture and mix, quickly at first to break down the bubbles in the egg white (you really want to beat all the large bubbles out of the mixture, be rough!), then mix carefully as the dry mixture becomes incorporated and it starts to become shiny again. Take care not to overmix, the mixture should flow like lava and a streak of mixture spread over the surface of the rest of the mixture should disappear after about 30 seconds. Place mixture in a piping bag with a 1cm round piping tip. Pipe rounds about 3cm diameter, leaving at least 2cm space around each one. Tap baking sheets carefully and firmly on the benchtop a couple times to remove any large bubbles. I carefully topped half the macarons with two heart-shaped orange sprinkles for the feet and a candy coated fennel seed for the beak, then piped the wings on using a narrow star tip. (This does make the shells more susceptible to cracking, as an alternative you can bake the shells plain and pipe on decorations later with royal icing.)
Leave to dry for about an hour, so that when you press the surface of one gently it does not break. This will help prevent any cracking and help the feet to form on the macs. Preheat your oven to 130-150°C (265-300°F), depending on your oven. You can place the sheet of piped shells on top of an upside-down roasting tray or another baking sheet if your sheets are not professional grade, for better heat distribution. Bake for 20-25 minutes, depending on the size of your shells. Carefully test if the base of the shell is ready by gently lifting one and if it's still soft and sticking to the baking paper, then it needs to bake for a few minutes longer. Remove from the oven and cool on the tray for a few minutes, then gently remove from the sheet and place on a wire rack to cool completely. I used a wooden skewer dipped in black food colouring to draw on the eyes.

For the orange ganache:
200g (7oz) white chocolate, finely chopped
100ml (just over 1/3 cup) thickened (heavy) cream
Zest of one orange + 1 tbsp orange juice

Place white chocolate and orange juice in a medium mixing bowl. Heat cream and orange zest in a small saucepan over low heat until it just comes to the boil, stirring regularly. If you want a smoother ganache, strain the zest out at this point. Pour hot cream over white chocolate and leave to sit for about 3-5 minutes, then gently whisk until the chocolate melts and the mixture is smooth. (If it does not completely melt, place bowl over a small pot of boiling water and whisk until smooth.) Chill until mixture thickens but is still pipable, then sandwich in between macaron shells.
Easter Trifles (with Chick Macarons)
For the orange jelly (feel free to replace with packet orange jelly or segmented fresh orange slices):
1/2 cup water
Peeled rind and juice from 3-4 oranges
1-2 tbsp sugar, adjust to taste
2 tbsp powdered gelatine + 1/2 cup water
Optional: 1 tbsp Grand Marnier

Grease a 20cm square cake tin with vegetable oil or line with baking paper. Place powdered gelatine in 1/2 cup water and set aside to soften. Heat 1/2 cup water plus the peeled rind and juice in a small saucepan and simmer for about 5 minutes. Strain out the rind and add sugar to taste. Gently whisk in softened gelatine and Grand Marnier and pour into prepared tin. Chill for at least 3-4 hours until set or overnight. 

For the chocolate sponge:
Use this recipe from Gourmet Traveller, which I always use for my Tim Tam Cake. You can also use store-bought sponge.

To assemble:
475ml (about 2 cups) thickened cream
1 tsp vanilla bean paste (or scraped seeds of 1 vanilla bean pod)
White chocolate (about 100g), grated
Optional: 1 tbsp Grand Marnier plus extra for brushing sponge, easter eggs to decorate

Chop orange jelly into 1 cm cubes. Whip cream with vanilla beans to soft peaks and then fold in Grand Marnier. Cut rounds of chocolate sponge about 2 cm thick to fit into about 6 serving glasses (I found my sponge baked quite high so I could actually cut each round into two layers). Place one layer of sponge, brush with Grand Marnier, top with a layer of jelly cubes followed by a layer of cream. Repeat. Top with a layer of grated white chocolate, a chick macaron and easter eggs to decorate. Chill in the fridge for an hour and then serve. If you are not serving immediately do not assemble and do not whip the cream. Keep other components in fridge and then whip cream and assemble when ready to serve.
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41 comments:

  1. The chicks are way too cute to even eat. I don't think I've seen chick macarons like that before so I love your take on it. Love the eyes, because I have anime eyes like that! Lol. Hope the rest of the months gets better for you. Surely these chick macs and trifles cheered you up that little bit xo

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  2. I can't believe those are macaroons!! How adorable!! =)

    Ergo-Blog

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  3. These look so cute. I wish I could make macarons :(

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  4. Oh, it's adorable! I love the chick macarons, they're so cute!

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  5. I am so going to attempt to make those for Easter Sunday lunch - and those wee eggs from Aldi are adorable!

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  6. How adorable! The macaroon chicks are genius!

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  7. Yum! Aside from the adorbs baby chick macarons, I love chocolate and orange! It's like this trifle was made for me.

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  8. I love the detail you put into your desserts; from the cubed jelly to the little chick eggs, it all looks fabulous (and yummy!).

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  9. What an amazing idea for Easter! So adorable!

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  10. Those are darling!

    xo Jennifer

    http://seekingstyleblog.wordpress.com

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  11. ooh I love the pastel speckled eggs! and of course your animal macarons are awesome as always :)

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  12. Naww I love their squinty little eyes! So much cute!

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  13. Oh my goodness!!!! Too cute for words. You are amazing!

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  14. Aww, these are gorgeous! You are having some seriously good luck with macarons in your new oven, very jealous! Love the little nest in the photos, too :)

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  15. So So So nice!!! i loved them!

    http://sosbodalavista.blogspot.com.es/

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  16. SO cute!! xx

    www.creativityandchocolate.com

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  17. I die. How are you so talented? YOU ARE MAGIC.

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  18. Sorry about your shitty week :( at least you have these adorable trifles to cheer you up!

    M.

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  19. OOOOOHHHHHH! those are beyond ADORABLE!!!!

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  20. Those macarons are just soooo cute!! It's funny, I just used the same small chocolate eggs on my easter layer cake :)

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  21. Those macarons are the CUTEST thing I have ever seen! Eeeeee

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  22. Steph, this is so awesome, the chick macarons are the cutest! Love their little eyes!
    Come check me out at http://andgeesaid.blogspot.com.au/ (: xxx

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  23. Those little chicks are so adorable! The trifles look quite tasty as well, but the little chicks on top make me swoon!

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  24. Gorgeous macarons! I'm really impressed! :)

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  25. These are the cutest macarons ever!!! LOVE!

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  26. this is adorable! you are so creative! love this trifle nest idea!

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  27. Well worth the effort. Inspired and creative. and those chick macs are just so damn cute.

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  28. Oh me my! Those macarons, those teeny faces: adorable!

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  29. I love these!! They are getting repinned by the second on my Pinterest too. I blogged about them today so hopefully you get more visits to this sweetness!

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  30. These are the most adorable macrons i have seen, most gorgeous too..happy easter!

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  31. HAHA I love ranting on my blog - such a good outlet for all the feels! These are so incredibly cuuuuute!! I wanna hug them :)

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  32. Looks great even tough that foods with faces always made me uncomfortable :)

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  33. They are so beautiful!! Chick Macarons are so pretty ... like to eat!!!

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  34. It looks delicious, and it is one of the cutest things ever!

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