This past weekend a customer (M.B.) threw a baby shower for her friend, and she wanted aqua colored macarons. MB gave Sydney and me carte blanche in choosing flavors. First call was to Sydney, she is the macaron connoisseur of our shop, within 3 minutes Sydney proclaimed strawberry mint! We had our flavor. In order to achieve the aqua color I mixed sky vert pomme & citron; however the color turned a beautiful full body green due to the pink color of the strawberry powder. Panic consumed me, MB wanted aqua, they needed to be more blue. After I calmed myself down I remembered PME blue luster spray; MB loved the color and the flavor. The baby shower was a success!
The same day you separate your eggs, prepare your mint powder.
Prepare your mise en place.
Place the almonds and powdered sugar, in a food processor and give them a good pulse until the nuts are finely ground. Add the strawberry and mint powder.
Sift the tant pour tant in two batches (almond flour, icing sugar, and mint and strawberry powder) and set a side.
In a small pot over low heat, combine water sugar, and vanilla skins. Swirl the pot over the burner to dissolve the sugar completely. (Do not stir).
Increase the heat and boil to a softball stage (235 to 240 degrees F/ 113 to 116 degrees C). Use a candy thermometer for accuracy. Wash down the inside wall of the pot with a wet pastry brush.
Simultaneously prepare your meringue.
Prepare your mise en place.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk half of the eggs whites and egg white powder on medium low speed until foamy. Add the mint essence, increase the speed to medium, and beat until soft peaks. Add the vanilla seeds, and begin to slowly add the superfine sugar to the egg whites. Whisk egg whites to medium firm.
With the mixer running, pour the hot sugar syrup in a thin stream over the fluffed egg whites. Beat until the egg whites are stiff, shiny, and glossy. Do not over beat your meringue or it will be too dry. The meringue should be shiny and off peak consistency.
Take the bowl with your tant pour tant (almond mixture) and add the reserved half of egg whites.
Add a third of the meringue to the tant pour tant, give it a quick fold to break some of the air, keep folding till the almond mixture is mixed into the meringue, and then fold another third of the meringue into the batter, continue to vigorously fold till there are no white streaks. Now add the last third of the meringue to the batter fold till thick, shiny and ribbons fall from the spatula. Fold the batter carefully until you obtain a batter that falls back on itself and resembles shiny thick cake batter.
Fill a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip with the batter and pipe small rounds (1.5 inches in diameter) onto silicone mats lined baking sheets or parchment paper lined baking sheets. A vented jellyroll pan edge free is perfect. Rap the jellyroll pan on the counter to allow air bubbles to be released.
Let the macarons to sit out for about 1 hour to make sure the shells are hard. A well-made macaron features a crinkly “foot” on the bottom of each shell. Check for a skin to develop and place in the oven.
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F/ 149 degrees C.
Right before placing the macarons in the oven reduce the heat to 280 degrees F/ 138 degrees C.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, depending on their size.
Bake the macarons for 5 minutes, then quickly open the oven door, turn the pan, and close the oven. Bake them for another 5 minutes and open and close the oven again. Continue to bake the macarons until the tops are rounded and firm and a craggy ridge, the foot, has formed around the base, about 5 minutes (check the macarons after a couple of minutes, as the baking time will vary by the oven).
Remove the silicone mat or parchment paper with the macarons still attached to a cooling rack; so they do not become soggy. Once the macarons are freely loosen from the silpat/parchment paper transfer to another cooling rack for a good 2 hours.
Spray with the lustre spray, place in the refrigerator over night. Fill the next day. I found to save hours of cleaning my kitchen laying a clean plastic kitchen trash bag on the top of my work surface prior to spraying lustre dust.
Prepare your Italian buttercream , add the cream frâiche and flavors once the buttercream turns smooth and lovely.
Place the filling in a disposable pastry bag fitted with an open star tube/ tip (Sydney and I prefer an open star tip, but you can use any tip or just a spoon for the filling). Pipe from the outside toward the center of a macaron shell and gently place a second macaron shell on top.
Sydney was on Skype with me while I shot the photographs of the macarons; I remarked how apropos the flavor and color would be for St. Patrick’s day. She agreed and added her and her friends would welcome a St. Patty’s Day Macaron care package. I know I will be baking a few batches again in March!
We always have a brilliant time creating macarons together (they are a perfect tool to teach math and have family time)!