I am sharing with you today a macaron recipe that is prepared with a less known method — the Swiss meringue method. To make a Swiss meringue, egg whites and sugar are placed together in a mixing bowl and then warmed over a double boiler until sugar is dissolved. The mixture is then whipped at high speed until meringue is glossy and firm. I usually use this for my Swiss Meringue Buttercream and this time I decided to make macarons out of it.
I’ve made macarons with French and Italian meringue before. From my experience, French macaron is straightforward but the meringue is not stable. Macaron batter tends to be over mixed quite easily. The Italian method produces very consistent and satisfying result; however, the addition of boiling hot syrup makes things quite difficult for baking in small batches (plus I found it too sweet to my liking). With reference to Pierre Hermé’s macaron recipe I prepared mine with Swiss meringue instead. I tried making Swiss meringue with all the egg whites (as in the French method) as well as only half of them (the other half was mixed with the almond-sugar mixture, or tpt, as in the Italian method). The macaronage was a nightmare for the former method. With all egg whites turned into meringue, after adding the almond-sugar mixture the batter would become super thick in the beginning. I guess Swiss and Italian meringue were both too stable so it took a longer time to deflate during the folding. By the time I could finally fold the mixture to the right consistency my arms were really, really sore! On the other hand, the folding process was a lot more smoother and less effort was required while half of the egg whites was still in its liquid state. I found that sugar content made a difference in the texture of the meringue. My Swiss meringue had 2 parts of sugar at first and it turned out to be very dense and gooey. Later I experimented with 1 and 1.5 parts of sugar and the 1.5 one gave better result.
EC曾做法式及義式馬卡龍，法式馬卡龍雖然做法簡單，蛋白霜卻不穩定，一不小心麵糊便混合過度了。義式蛋白霜十分穩定， 可是熬煮糖漿不太適用於少量製作(而且義式馬卡龍超甜！)。以往曾使用Pierre Hermé的義式馬卡龍食譜，因此也參考了配方換成瑞士式。EC試驗了打發所有蛋白(法式做法)及一半蛋白(即像義式做法般一半蛋白做成蛋白霜，餘下的混入TPT 或杏仁糖粉混合物)，前者的壓拌過程十分痛苦！或許瑞士及義式蛋白霜太穩定太不容易消泡了，加進粉類後麵糊初時十分濃稠，EC花了不少氣力才能壓拌混合至緞帶狀。相反，當一半蛋白是蛋白霜，另一半沒打發仍呈液態的話，壓拌混合麵糊過程相對上較輕鬆順利。另外，不同糖量的蛋白霜在質感上也有别，EC初試時砂糖與蛋白比例為2比1，蛋白霜十分沉重很黏稠，後來也試驗過1.5及1倍糖量，前者效果較理想。
As for the finished macaron shells, I found the Swiss method yielded shinier surface and a more compact, chewier texture than the French method. The shell membrane was thicker and the feet was less fluted (more like a up and down shape instead of spreading sideways). Another interesting finding was that it took a longer mature time in the fridge. With the same ganache filling, my French macarons typically required only an overnight resting whereas my Swiss ones needed one full day to be softened. I bet this was due to the thicker, stronger membrane and more compact interior.
My last comment regarding Swiss meringue is on the size of the mixing bowl. The Swiss meringue is made with only one egg white here (by the way I didn’t age my egg white). It will be more effective to use a mixing bowl with a narrow bottom. Tilting the mixing bowl to gather the egg white during whipping also facilitates incorporation of air. At the end of the post I will show you how I removed the macaron shells from the baking paper all at once with one simple step. Learning this trick will save you so much time indeed so read my post till the end!
Earl Grey Orange Macarons (Swiss Method)
makes 24 sandwiched cookies
For the Macaron Shells
60 g egg whites, divided
45 g granulated sugar
1/8 tsp cream of tartar (optional)
a pinch of salt
80 g ground almond
80 g icing sugar
1.5 bag of Earl Grey Tea
1 to 2 drops of purple gel food coloring
For the Orange Ganache Filling
50 g premium dark chocolate, chopped
50 g whipping cream
5 g unsalted butter, softened
1/8 tsp orange oil
蛋白 60克 (分半)
他他粉 1/8茶匙 (可不加)
For the Macaron Shells 馬卡龍外殼
Line baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone mat with a master template underneath. I use a silicone macaron mat that has all measurement imprinted. Macaron template can also be downloaded here.
In a food processor, process ground almond and icing sugar until finely ground. Pass mixture through a sieve into a bowl (this will create macaron shells with a smoother surface). Cut open the teabags and stir the earl grey tea leaves into the almond-sugar mixture. Add half of the egg whites (food color may be added at this stage) and fold with a spatula into a thick paste. Set aside.
Before preparing the meringue, wipe the mixing bowl and the whisk attachment with paper towel and vinegar or lemon juice to remove any traces of grease. Place remaining egg whites, sugar, salt and cream of tartar (o to the mixing bowl. Set bowl over a pot of barely simmering water and whisk constantly until the temperature of an instant-read thermometer reaches 140°F/60°C. Keep stirring while heating so the egg whites won’t be cooked. Remove from heat and beat mixture with an electric mixer on high speed until meringue is cool and form a glossy and firm peak with a small tail.
Add half of the meringue to the almond paste and fold with a spatula to lighten. Then add the remaining meringue and fold until Incorporated. Start the macaronage by pressing the batter with the spatula against the sides of the bowl (this helps to deflate the meringue and smooth the batter). Then scrape batter back into the middle and fold the batter from the bottom to the top . Repeat this press and fold method while keeping an eye on the batter consistency. Stop folding when the batter becomes smooth and shiny. While the spatula is lifted up, batter should ribbon off the spatula and flow back slowly into the bowl then disappear itself in about 30 seconds.
Scrape batter into a pastry bag fitted with a large plain piping tip (I used Wilton #2A). With the template as a guide, pipe out dollops of batter onto the prepared baking sheet. When done piping, remove paper template (if using) then tap baking sheet against the counter a few times to eliminate any trapped air bubbles. Pop bubbles that haven’t risen up to the surface with a toothpick. Let stand at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the weather and humidity, until the shells are dry to the touch.
Preheat oven to 300ºF/150℃ 10 minutes before baking. Bake for 13 to 15 minutes or until the shells are set without browning. If you touch the shell and it feels firm and doesn’t wiggle it is done. Remove from oven and cool completely on a wire rack before removing.
For the Filling 夾餡
Heat whipping cream in a saucepan over medium-low heat until it bubbles around the edges (but not boiling). Alternatively, microwave cream in a microwave-safe bowl on high. Add to chopped chocolate and let stand for two minutes. Stir with a spatula until combined. Stir in softened butter and orange oil until smooth and shiny. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature until ganache has set.
To Assemble 組合
Spoon the ganache into a piping bag fitted with a plain tip. Pair up shells of similar sizes. Pipe out dollop of filling on the flat side of a shell then top with the other one, flat side down. Store filled macarons in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 24 hours to let the filling fuse into the shells . Bring to room temperature, about 15 minutes, before serving.
Here is a quick way to release all macaron shells from the mat or parchment paper all at once. After the shells (still sitting on the paper or mat) have cooled on the cooling rack, flip the entire mat or parchment paper over (the shells will stick onto the surface as long as they are left untouched). Lift up the corners and peel slowly towards the center. The shells will fall out on its own!
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