I might be late getting this post up today. Because I had to waste my Monday morning filling out yet another DCMA form on Instagram to report someone stealing my photos yet again. Look people, I get it. You want to share a photo you like with your friends. Or you're an ass who wants to accumulate lots of followers without putting in any of your own effort. Either way, I'm still going to report you when I see you stealing my content, especially on Instagram where there is no proper way to link back to the original source of a photo. I get so TIRED of dealing with copyright violation because it is so common these days and no matter how much I repeat myself it won't stop it from happening. Some people think that crediting Google images is enough. NO. And watermarks don't stop people from cropping a lowres version of your photo, putting a shitty filter on it and posting it to their instagram feed. Wow, I'm cranky today. Sigh. For the moment I'll keep producing original content for this blog because I love doing it.
Anyway. I mentioned in my post last week that I made these lovely Strawberry & Rose Macarons at the request of my mother-in-law for her birthday last month. They matched the flavour of the cake, with a strawberry and rose water flavoured ganache and a surprise gem of rose Turkish delight hiding in the middle of each macaron. I LOVE Turkish delight and it was particularly fun watching when someone eating one of these found the surprise in the middle. I also put more of my pretty dried edible rose petals to good use as decoration on the pink macaron shells. I may have added a touch too much rose water to the ganache, but I don't think it was overwhelming.
Yeah okay, the shells were a tad bumpy. I'm no perfectionist. This was also my second batch of the night, my first batch were overmixed and didn't even make it to the oven. Macarons are one of those frustrating things to bake that you can still mess up even after years of practice. Someone asked me for an idiot-proof macaron recipe the other day. Sorry, but there's no such thing. There are easier methods, and methods that are more forgiving to small mistakes, but it's still something that can go wrong every now and then. But it's so worth the effort when you get it right.
Strawberry & Rose Macarons
(makes 15-20 macarons)
100g egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 tsp salt
110g almond meal, at room temperature and well sifted
200g icing (confectioner's) sugar
50g sugar (I use caster/superfine)
Optional: 1 tsp powdered egg whites (available from The Essential Ingredient), helps to stabilise egg whites but is not necessary, pink food colouring (preferably gel or powdered)
Dried edible rose petals, to decorate
Line two baking trays with good quality 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. (If you don’t have a processor just sift together with a fine sieve.) Sift into a large mixing bowl and set aside. Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites and salt (and egg white powder) in a medium mixing bowl until it reaches soft peaks. With the mixer on high speed, gradually add sugar (and food colouring) and beat until it reaches stiff peaks.
Add meringue to your dry mixture and mix together with a spatula, 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, which is easily done by smearing the mixture on the bottom and side of the bowl with your spatula), 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 on your prepared trays, leaving about 3cm space around each one. Tap baking sheets carefully and firmly on the benchtop a couple times to remove any large bubbles. Gently place a rose petal in the centre of each shell to decorate. Leave to dry for 30-60 mins, until when you press the surface of one gently it does not break/stick to your finger. 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 (fan-forced ovens may need to be set as low as 100°C, it really depends) . You can place the sheet of piped shells on top of an upside-down roasting tray or another baking tray, 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
100g good quality white chocolate, finely chopped
75ml pure/heavy cream (min 35% fat unthickened)
60g (about 1/4 of a punnet) fresh/frozen strawberries, pureed
1/4-1/2 tsp rose water
Optional: 1-2 tsp of strawberry essence, small pieces of Turkish delight
Place chopped chocolate in a bowl and set aside. Heat cream in a small saucepan on medium-low heat until it just comes to the boil and then pour over the chocolate. Leave for about 3 minutes to allow chocolate to melt. Use a whisk to combine mixture until it is smooth. Gradually whisk strawberry puree into the white chocolate ganache and then add rose water and strawberry essence to taste. Chill, whisking it every 5 minutes to ensure it stays smooth, until the mixture thickens but is still pipable. Cut Turkish delight into 0.75cm cubes and place in the centre of a shell. Place in a small piping bag (ziplock bags with a corner snipped off are handy for this) and pipe around Turkish delight and sandwich with another shell. Repeat with remaining shells. Chill macarons in an airtight container overnight to allow flavour to mature. Serve at room temperature.
(Don't you hate it when you love a particular photo and then you realise it's blurry? Gah! But I'm gonna post it anyway cos I still like it...just don't stare at it too closely)