Friday, October 22, 2010

my first french macarons: pumpkin with cinnamon buttercream filling

I love mini desserts. I haven't known about french macarons for long but they're so damn cute I had to learn how to make them. in googling some recipes I saw another blogger mention this book, I Love Macarons by Hisako Ogita which is apparently the macaron bible. Although I have a wishpot which is mostly books, I've sort of sworn off buying baking books or magazines, since there's ssssooooooooo many recipes online. But since my new obsession I decided to stop by Barnes and Noble to see if they had any macaron-ing books, and it was there!

I actually brought it home and read it. Like from cover to cover. I read a review on it later which said something about it originally being published in Japanese? Then translated...this was clearly translated. :o)

Anyway, on to the macarons!

I am pretty impressed they worked the first time around! It was not without incident though. In the book, she describes this method for making butter cream where you make syrup (I guess) by microwaving the hell out of sugar and water for 4 minutes!? This is crazy, I actually did it and burned the hell out of the sugar, surprise, and thought my measuring cup was not going to be salvaged. It was, but that's just a bad idea.

I stuck a bunch of sticky notes all over the pages as well, here are what some of them said, in case you're a first time macaron maker as well:
  1. Seriously...just sift it (she says sift the almond meal and powdered sugar twice, i half assedly did it once...but it makes it much lighter and just sift it, once should do it...)
  2. Cut the damn parchment so it's flat, otherwise macarons may run when piped
  3. Don't pipe onto the same side as the circles are drawn on, it comes off on the macron, oops. Either flip parchment over or make a template on a new piece of paper that you remove after piping.
  4. When getting ready to stir 15 or 20 (or whatever gets the job done, hello) times, add the food coloring at this point
  5. When piping, don't swirl. pipe straight down until it spreads out and fills the circle
  6. Really, make sure the oven racks are in the center, my bottom rack burned. And check em! Mine baked way faster than 15 minutes
Those are my macaron gems of wisdom for you.

But beware when good macarons go bad. Here's what happened to mine that were on the bottom rack and piped by swirling, it's hard to look at...

Yikes! Sad... this one is better. :o) They even baked up with the little "foot," without which they can't be called macarons apparently. They're (by "they" I guess I mean the French?) referring to the little crinkley baked up looking part at the bottom of the macaron.

Oh, by the way, to get the pumpkin flavor I used two teaspoons of pureed pumpkin added to the meringue. I have many many bags of pumpkin puree, as it is also the first year I've pureed my own pumpkins and Dave bought me 3. :o) We'll be having pumpkin treats until into the new year I think. :o)

Also here is the recipe I used for the cinnamon buttercream. Good, but super sweet, maybe too sweet? I made a note to try with less sugar next time. Dave confirmed the macrons over all had a nice pumpkin pie taste, so for my first time these were certainly a success. I've decided this winter will be the year of the macaron, so I have more macaron plans to come.

One more sexy macaron picture and the rest are on flickr.

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