This month’s Mactweets were a success on a couple of levels but on a couple of others, a bit of a #FAIL. Firstly, whilst they have turned into tropical, South Pacific-themed macs, they did not start their life as such. I had emailed Jamie to ask about the theme in advance since I knew I would be travelling and wanted to have a go at them before I left. I went ahead and made my macs to plan but then the “Summer Flick” theme (and not the one I had thought) was announced. A bit of miscommunication meant that I had made macs to the wrong theme With just one day to go before I left (and having spent a number of days already on these macs), I once again, had to change the theme to fit the macs. Fortunately, I have some practice with this!
So I present to you coconut macarons with lime and lemon buttercream:
(Poster image courtesy DVD Video NZ)
Ok, so whilst the theme might not have been what I intended, I am proud to announce that these are my very first macarons made according to the Pierre Hermé method - whereby you have two separate bowls of aged egg whites and mix the dry ingredients into one bowl and whip the others into meringue, then add sugar and water boiled to 118F as you whip the whites. I figured since it’s been so humid in Toronto, it might be more stable than the “French meringue” method I usually use. Next round I will try this again and post the actual recipe but in the meantime, I will reveal a little secret: Albumissimo by PreGel.
A few months ago now, I attended a demonstration at George Brown College by PreGel America about “Trends in Pastry and Frozen Desserts”. Whilst the PreGel products are not really aimed at the home baker, they demonstrated a number of recipes I was interested to try; crème caramel:
(You can check out all their recipes here)
These macs were made with the Italian meringue method using the Albumissimo powdered egg white to help stabilise the batter. Since I figured I could always use some help in the macaron success department, I wrote to the company and asked for a sample size (their products are typically sold in commercial sized containers) and Daniela obliged by sending me a small tub of Albumissimo.
The recipe worked beautifully and despite the 80% humidity, I managed macs with FEET!
Then I thought I would be a bit clever and attempt to make the gelée that Hermé often places a small square of inside the butter cream. I followed the recipe to a ‘T’ and it looked just kinda sorta like in the book:
Unfortunately, these ended up being sort of semi frozen and not jelly like at all – once they were placed inside the butter cream of the mac, they melted (even in the fridge) despite me following the recipe. My instinct had told me to use more gelatin that the recipe called for but I thought “Hermé knows what he’s doing” and it ended up being more like a popsicle than a gelée cube. Orange-pineapple Jell-o didn’t even work inside the buttercream (I have no shame!!!) – it just wasn’t solid enough to hold up inside the filling. #FAIL. Oh well… I will experiment and post what works at some later stage…
It was a messy month for macs actually. Despite looking pretty for the picture, they didn’t actually taste very nice. I only used a smidgen of lime oil in the butter cream but it overpowered the coconut flavour of the shell and wasn’t nice. The lemon was slightly better. We (Mr Neil and I) didn’t much care for the crisper shells of these macs – we’re more into chewey mac shells – but I am not sure whether this was because I kept them in the fridge (it was SO humid that week) and they just got a bit too dry or because it was the Italian meringue. We shall see when I make them again and it’s not necessary to keep them in the fridge. So I am sorry they’re not perfect on many levels but again, I am happy to post ALL my mac adventures, not just the ones that work. I am nothing if not a realist!!!
Hey Canadian readers – don’t forget to enter my all-Canadian giveaway - closes on Tuesday August 10th at 5pm EST.