Strawberry Milk Macarons
- Sift the ground almonds and icing sugar separately. Next, sift them together with the strawberry powder. Set aside.
- Beat the egg whites (which are at room temperature), and cream of tartar or salt together with the castor sugar. You can put in the sugar right from the start. Beat until you obtain stiff peaks. This should take slightly less than 10 minutes, depending on the strength of your mixer.
- Using a spatula, sift in a third of the almond-flour mixture into the stiff meringue. You need not fold but do mix the ingredients in gently. Sift in the remaining almond-flour mixture in two batches and gently fold to combine. You should get a shiny, viscous mixture which ‘flows like magma’.
- Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip and proceed to pipe 3-cm large rounds onto baking sheets lined with nonstick liners. After piping the shells, be sure to rap the baking sheets against the counter to get rid of any excess air.
- Let them sit at room temperature (or air conditioner temperature would be fantastic) until they are dry to touch. You need not actually touch the shells because it will be rather obvious when they dry and form a ‘shell’. This should not take more than an hour.
- In the meantime, preheat the oven to 140°C (fan-assisted), with the rack in the middle, with top and bottom heating. Bake the macarons for about 12-16 minutes, making sure to open the oven door at around the 8th minute (or after feet have formed) to let out excess hot air and to turn the tray from front to back. Once the shells are firm to touch, remove the trays from the oven and let them cool on the trays for at least 15 minutes before proceeding to cool them on cooling racks. If you use a nonstick liner, they should be easily removed, if not, use a knife or metal spatula to release the macaron. Store the shells in an airtight container until ready to assemble.
- For the strawberry milk buttercream, sift the all-purpose flour into the milk and place into a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil over low heat and stir until the mixture thickens. Once a roux is formed, remove the pan from heat and allow it to cool. In the meantime, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Pour the cooled milk roux and gradually beat to combine. Beat in the strawberry jam until you get a homogenous mixture.
- To assemble: Place the buttercream into a piping bag and proceed to pipe it onto matched macaron shells. You may have to chill the buttercream for a few minutes before piping if it is too ‘soft’ for piping. Refrigerate the sandwiched shells for an hour or until the buttercream has firmed. Remove the macarons 5-10 minutes before serving for the best experience :]
- Note: I have to admit that the macarons were severely under filled – in fact, you can’t even see the filling for most of them. But I’ve a good reason – the filling wasn’t enough because I kept filching it and it’s oh so yummy with the sponge cake I made. So well, I didn’t have enough for the macarons ^_^ I didn’t mind though, since I don’t particularly like too much filling in between my macarons. I would definitely recommend making more of the strawberry milk buttercream because it is simply delicious.
- Taste: On the buttercream, it wasn’t overly sweet because I used less of the strawberry jam and in fact, my homemade strawberry jam is more tart than sweet, which perhaps explains why I loved it so much. This went together very well with the macaron shells, which were slightly flavored due to the use of the strawberry powder.
- Texture: Although the macarons were not perfect – I undermixed the macarons for fear of no feet, so you can still see bumps and ‘nipples’ on some of the shells. Nevertheless, the shells turned out pretty shiny and I’m pretty happy with the sideway feet. One other reason why I liked the recipe is because the shells were just the right level of ‘crispiness’ and the inside was sufficiently moist when paired with the buttercream.
- Serving size: I got about 35 paired macarons, but my macarons were a little on the smaller side – about 2.5cm or slightly more than an inch.
- Modifications: I would definitely want to try this same recipe but with a reduced amount of icing sugar. I’ve actually tweaked the ingredients quite a bit from the original, and the macaron shells themselves are not overly sweet as in some recipes because of the tanginess of the strawberry powder but for the sake of my waistline, I shall see if I can reduce the sugar even more without sacrificing on the feet! Also, without using red coloring, it is impossible to get the vibrant red colors that Pook got with her macarons. Nevertheless, this dusty rose color found favor with me and the people who ate them. In fact, these macarons were more popular than the salted caramel macarons!
- Storage: My only gripe is that the buttercream softens wayyyy too quickly! It is very moist and goes very well with the shells, but you’ll have to consume the filled macarons almost immediately to get the best mouthfeel, otherwise the filling will be too soft and ‘oily’ to eat. Do only fill the shells that you will consume the next day or two (macarons have to be filled at least 24 hours to let the moisture and taste from the filling ‘diffuse’ into the shells). If not, keep the shells and filling separate until ready to eat.
- Would I make this again?: Definitely! I foresee using the same recipe with other fruit powders to get different colors and flavours!
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This macaron post is also in support of Aspiring Bakers #17 – March Macaron Madness! (Mar 2012) hosted by Alan of Travellingfoodies. I’m also posting this over at the #27 edition of Mactweets! If you haven’t made macarons before, do use this opportunity to try them – they might be finicky things to make, but I can assure you that your spirits will lift tremendously when you see the little frilly skirts/feet emerging from the shells and they look and taste super yummy too :]