I prepared a macaron tower for my friend’s wedding banquet over the past weekend. The three designs were inspired by floral and tea flavors and sakura was one of them. I used pickled sakura (cherry blossom) as decoration and paired it up with white chocolate ganache. This sweet and salty combination was pretty good.
I had trouble with the lighting while pictures were being taken. They didn’t come out clear and I apologize for the poor picture quality. The pictures were selected from different batches so you will notice the color difference in the macaron shells. My personal favor was the lighter tone.
Sakura Macarons (Swiss Method)
makes 50 shells (25 macarons)
For the Macaron Shells
70 g egg whites, divided
53 g granulated sugar
1/8 tsp cream of tartar (optional)
a pinch of salt
93 g ground almond
93 g icing sugar
25 pieces pickled sakura
Gel food coloring as needed
For the White Chocolate Ganache
100 g white chocolate, chopped
35 g whipping cream
10 g unsalted butter, room temperature
A pinch of salt
蛋白 70克 (分半)
他他粉 1/8茶匙 (可不加)
For the Macaron Shells 馬卡龍外殼
Rinse pickled sakura under running water to get rid of the salt. Soak flowers in drinking water for 30 minutes, replacing water every 10 minutes. Dry with paper towel then trim stems into appropriate length and reserve the trimmed ends and loose petals for later use. Leave to dry overnight.
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, icing sugar, the reserved stems and loose petals until finely ground. Pass mixture through a sieve into a bowl (this will create macaron shells with a smoother surface). 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 half of the egg whites, sugar, salt and cream of tartar (optional) into 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. Whisk in the food color briefly.
Add remaining egg whites and half of the almond sugar mixture into the meringue then fold with a spatula until Incorporated. Add remaining almond sugar mixture and fold until there is no visible lumps. 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. Top half of the shells with a piece of sakura flower. 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
Place white chocolate, whipping cream and salt in a bowl and heat in the microwave with medium power for 20 to 30 seconds. Let stand for two minutes then stir with a spatula until combined. Stir in softened butter until smooth and shiny. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature until ganache has set.
To Assemble 組合
Spoon 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 shell, 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.
I used Americolor electric pink for the deeper color batch and the lighter color ones came from a mixture of deep pink and fuchsia.
深色的是Amerocolor的electric pink ，淺色的則是deep pink加fuchsia。
Pickled sakura is available from my local Japanese grocery store.
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