French macarons have become a favorite pastry among most of my friends and family. I flavor my shells as well as the filling, therefore when you bite into the aromatic macaron the flavor sensation is amazing! I thought since Sydney will be home during President’s Day weekend (also Valentine’s Day) I would bake a few batches of her favorite flavor..Strawberry Cherry Blossom. Not only will it be a nice treat for Sydney, but French macarons are a perfect edible gift for the special people in your life for Valentine”s Day. The holiday has become about showing love to friends and families as well as your special sweetheart. Macarons are an excellent gift to say “your special to me!”
This year I thought for Valentine’s Day I would share my macaron recipe and tutorial with you.
Strawberry Blossom Macarons:
If you need a refresher on Macaron terms.
Prepare your mise en place.
Place the almonds, powdered sugar, strawberry powder, and food colorants in a food processor and give them a good pulse until the nuts are finely ground.
Sift the tant pour tant in two batches (almond flour, strawberry powder, and icing sugar) and set a side.
The Italian Meringue.
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. This will help prevent sugar crystals from forming around the sides, falling in and causing a chain reaction.
Meanwhile, prepare your meringue.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the other half of eggs whites and egg white powder on medium low speed until foamy. Add the cherry blossom essence, increase the speed to medium, and beat until soft peaks and add vanilla seeds, and begin to slowly add super fine 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.
Take the bowl with your tant pour tant (almond mixture) and add the reserved half of the 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 cake batter. There is no magic, I am not going to tell you that the batter should look like magma, I doubt you have ever seen it up close, I know I haven’t!
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. Let the piped batter rest for 30 to 60 minutes, 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.
Place the bowl of a standing mixer along with the whisk attachment in the freezer ½ hour before preparing the filling (the crème frâiche and cream will whip-up faster).
Add the mascarpone, crème frâiche, and heavy whipping cream to the cold bowl of a standing mixer with the whisk attachment, on medium speed begin to whisk. Add the cherry blossom essence, and Fragoli, and icing sugar when soft peaks form. Add food paste and bring the crème filling to a stiff peak, watch carefully the crème can turn to butter before your eyes.
Place the filling in a disposable pastry bag fitted with an open star tube/tip.
Pipe from the outside toward the center of a macaron and gently place a second macaron on top.
Macarons are not as intimidating as they look; this recipe is fool proof.
Whom ever you choose to bake them for will love them; fore warning they are addicting!