Pearl of the Sea Macaron

My daily full time job revolves around internet, so usually the best way for my clients to find me is via email, msn, skype, gtalk, facebook, twitter, you name it. Then there are also friends who stay online just as much as I do always available for a quick chitchat which is a good distraction from all the stressful work.

My almost daily gtalk pals are Linda and Ellie. We gtalk about almost anything and everything –  Linda has a new found love, Ellie has a new venture and fame, and there is never a shortage of food talk, sharing baking tips and tricks. I have to thank them for extremely helpful and their generosities by sharing all their knowledge about making macarons with me during my ‘everything is shit’ phase. So, this post is dedicated to my two good friends. :)

Recently, me and Linda been chatting alot about weddings, cakes, desserts and new ideas to explore. Those conversations give me an idea and inspire me to do something that not just taste good, but also presentable especially for weddings. With the extra macaron shells and left over butter cream icing after making the Simnel cake for Easter, it makes perfect sense to combine them two together without going to waste and make this pretty Pearl of the Sea macarons simply by adding a silver cachous in the buttercream.

I am a boy and obviously missing the lady touch when comes to baking as my macarons still look a little rough. The almond meal I used is very coarse and the first batch of macaron shells I made was hideous. The shell is almost crater like with bumps everywhere so I chucked them. These pink macaron shells are my second batch and despite I already given the almond meal a second grind in a food mixer, they are still not as smooth as I’d hoped for. Also you do not want to over grind the almond meal as it will start to extract the oil from the nut and your mixture will be too oily and wet to make macaron with.

Whoever have tried to make macarons before would know how finicky it is. I believe there is a no set rule of what you should do and don’t that guarantee results, it is a matter of trial and error, learn the folding technique and study your oven because I know my oven is not as hot as others, so I do have to crank up the temperature in the oven a little and bake a little longer than most of the recipes say. Once you get the hang of it, you will be churning up colorful macarons with endless flavour combination in no time.

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Pearl of the sea Macarons

For macaron shells

Ingredients
90g egg white
30g caster sugar
110g almond meal
200g icing sugar
1tsp egg white powder
Red food colouring

Method
1. Add almond meal into a food blender and grind them until they are smooth. Sift the meal into a bowl and any coarse almond meal left inside the sift, put them back in the blender and grind again. Repeat until all meal are fine and sifted.

2. Sift almond meal and icing sugar together in a mixing bowl and set aside.

3. Put egg white into microwave and zap it for 6 - 8 seconds depending on how powerful your microwave is. If there is any cooked egg white around the edge, scoop it out and discard.

4. Add egg white and egg white powder into electric mixer and whisk on medium-high until soft peak.

5. Gradually incorporate caster sugar while still beating to form stiff peak. Do the test by tilting the mixing bowl upside down and the egg white stays in place, that's ready. This is also the time to add any food colourings, use a skewer stick and dip inside the food colouring gel and smear in on egg white and keeps beating until it is fully incorporated.

6. Add 1/3 of the dry mixture into the egg white. Use a firm scraping spatula, mix the mixture until well combined. Give the mixture a few zig-zag strokes to get rid of any bigger bubbles in the egg white. Then add another 1/3 of the mixture and now you need to gently fold it in into the mixture without losing the volume. Then add the remaining dry mixture and keeps folding until all well combine and is of magma consistency.

7. Prepare a baking tray lined with baking paper or silicon mat, pipe the mixture onto it about the size of 20 cents coin (3cm diameter) and leave 2.5cm gap between each macaronage.

8. The piped mixture should slowly flow to form a bigger circle. If not, whack the baking tray on the kitchen until it is nice and round, around 0.5cm thickness and with no "nipple" on top. Let it sit for at least half an hour to dry out on the outer layer. Test by touching it and it shouldn't stick to your finger.

9. Preheat oven at 135 degree celcius, bake the macaronage in the oven between 20-25minutes. (My oven is not as hot as other, this is a matter of trial and error here). Remove the shells from the tray and let it cool on the rack.

10. Pipe the buttercream on one shell and sandwich with another shell on top. Use a tweezers and embed a silver cachous into the buttercream.
For buttercream icing

Ingredients
100g unsalted butter (room temperature)
200g icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence

Method
1. Add butter into a electric mixer and whisk until light and fluffy.

2. add sugar and keep whisking until well combined.

3. Add vanilla essence and whisk until soft and smooth.

4. Put inside a piping bag, and is ready for cake decoration.