Sunday, April 5, 2015

Easter Egg Macarons

Happy Easter! I had a busy Sunday- starting at 6AM to prepare Easter brunch at the hotel, and then leading to a 4pm service at 4pointes church. It was a refreshing service filled with celebration and remembrance.

I brought some Easter egg-shaped macarons to church with me, and they were a big hit! These macarons are festive, delicious, and adorable! It's made almost the same way as any macaron, with a slightly different piping technique.

Vanilla Orange Easter Egg Macarons (makes about 30)
 Shells
100 g Almond Flour
120 g Confectioner's Sugar
50 g Granulated Sugar
70 g Egg Whites (2 large whites)
Orange and Red Gel Color

1. Pulse almond flour and powdered sugar in a food processor until very finely ground. Be careful not to grind too long, because it will release all of the oils, ruining your final product.
2. Sift the powder with a medium-mesh sieve.
3. Place the particles that are too large to fit through the sieve back into the food processor, pulse, and sift again. Throw out the excess pieces.
4. In a grease-free bowl, place your egg whites and sugar. Allow to sit for a few minutes to begin to dissolve.
5. Use grease-free beaters on high speed to whip the egg whites to stiff peaks. Add in the gel color. You want a very full color because the added almond flour and sugar will dull the color.
6. Use a rubber spatula to fold the powdered sugar and almond flour into the meringue until the batter moves slowly, like lava. If you run your spatula through it, it should fall together after 5-7 seconds.
7. Put the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a large round tip (3/8 inch). 
8. Pipe rounds that are about an inch apart onto a nonstick baking mat (silpat) that is placed onto a cookie sheet. 
9. Do this by holding the bag straight up about half an inch above the silpat, applying pressure to the bag until about 3/4 inch in diameter, and then lessen the pressure as you drag backward. Once you reach the desired length, quickly move the bag in the opposite direction that you dragged it, to leave a smooth edge. Make sure there is enough space to spread.
10. Rap your cookie sheet/sheet pan on the table a few times to make sure there are no bumps on the macaron shells.
11. Let rest until dry to the touch (about 30-45 minutes, longer on rainy days).
12. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. If you have a convection oven, use convection.
13. Bake macaron shells on the second shelf of the oven for 14-17 minutes, until they do not wiggle when nudged.
14. Remove from oven and allow shells to cool completely before removing from the silpat.

Buttercream Filling
1 Egg White
1/4 cup Sugar
1/4 cup Butter 
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 cup Orange Juice

1. Fill a pot with some water and begin to boil.
2. Place the egg white and sugar into a medium sized, heat proof, grease-free bowl. Place the bowl on top of the pot of boiling water.
3. Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved (110 degrees F). Check by rubbing the mixture between your fingers to feel for sugar granules.
4. Mix on high speed to make a meringue.
5. When cool to the touch, add softened butter and mix until it comes together.
6. It will break apart and look like scrambled eggs. Continue to mix until it becomes a soft paste.
7. Add the vanilla extract.
8. Reduce orange juice in a frying pan until it becomes thicker- it will look like a puree or sauce.
9. Place the frying pan into the refrigerator to cool the orange reduction.
10. Add the orange reduction to the buttercream and whip until completely incorporated.  The buttercream may become broken like scrambled eggs again, but it will come back together.


Assembly
1. Pair the shells by size. You should have about 20 pairs of shells.
2. On the surface of the bottom of the shell, place a small pinch of apple butter in the center. It should be enough for a small surprise. 
3. Put the buttercream into a piping bag with the same tip that you used to pipe the macarons.
4. Pipe the buttercream so that it is covering about 1/2 of the surface of the bottom of the shell.
5. Put the pairs together to create a "sandwich". 
6. Place in the fridge overnight to allow the flavors to develop.
7. Melt white chocolate and pipe designs onto the macarons. Place them back into the fridge to set up.
8. Let the macarons come to room temperature before you serve them.
These macarons are interesting and fun. They're a great play on the classic creamsicle, with a fun twist. The piping technique takes a few tries to get just right, but it's worth practicing! How cute are these? Once again, Happy Easter everyone!

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