Mactweets August: South Pacific macarons

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:

They’re kinda tropical so I thought “South Pacific”:

(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:

Strawberry gelato…

And macarons!

(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!

(small feet, granted, but feet nonetheless!  And shiny shells!!!)

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:

(see the little hidden cube of gelée in there?)

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…

Pretty but…

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.

57 Responses to Mactweets August: South Pacific macarons

  1. Belinda @zomppa August 7, 2010 at 05:39 #

    My goodness! I am so impressed. The colors are just splendid.

  2. cat August 7, 2010 at 06:26 #

    while these might not have tasted as good as some of your previous macs, they are certainly beautiful! the vivid green and yellow of the buttercream are really lovely. you know, i had seen that little container of albumen on your sideboard in the kitchen while we were visiting and wondered when/where it would show up on the blog. how fun to try something new like that!

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite August 11, 2010 at 10:12 #

      Oh I am sure it will show up again on the blog – my macs could always use a little help!

  3. A Canadian Foodie August 7, 2010 at 07:22 #

    Great read! Good information and valuable links. Thanks!

  4. bunkycooks August 7, 2010 at 08:10 #

    They look great even with the mishaps and the not perfect taste! We never would have known. Shhhh…..

  5. The Wife of a Dairyman August 7, 2010 at 09:07 #

    Wow! what a ton of work! They DO look beautiful! I’m sure you’ll nail the taste in your next batch:)

  6. Heather August 7, 2010 at 09:58 #

    Nicely done!! 😉 I know they taste as good as they look!

  7. Jamie August 7, 2010 at 10:50 #

    So sorry about the miscommunication but wow you are good at these swerves and switches because they are certainly perfect South Pacific macs! And perfect!!! Just beautiful! Now I’d like to try Herme’s macs again. I am impressed with all the experimenting you do… way more courageous than I am. Inspiring! Thanks for bringing these macs to the MacKitchen and we love having you with us! xo

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite August 11, 2010 at 10:11 #

      Yes, I do get itchy feet (no pun intended) and like to switch things up every now and then. Not always with great results…. 😉

  8. Trix August 7, 2010 at 10:50 #

    Those photos with the macs on the poster are hilarious. I’m dying. Also I was Nellie Forbush in our high school South Pacific musical so anything having to do with this theme cracks me up. If you hadn’t told me that the macs didn’t taste great I never would have imagined – they’re so lovely!!

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite August 11, 2010 at 10:10 #

      Oh wow – that’s a cool role to have played!!! And glad I could oblige with the laughs!!!

  9. Kim (Liv Life) August 7, 2010 at 11:23 #

    Your post was a wonderful start to my day! What a lot of work you did, but I absolutely love your pictures. Thanks for making me smile this morning!

  10. Tonya @ What's On My Plate August 7, 2010 at 12:20 #

    I’m surprised you had never tried the Pierre Herme method! It’s a bit more time consuming but the results are good.

  11. torviewtoronto August 7, 2010 at 15:08 #

    looks beautiful

  12. Kocinera August 7, 2010 at 17:27 #

    This look delicious. Your photos are beautiful, too!

  13. Bubble and Sweet August 7, 2010 at 17:33 #

    Oh I like the Pierre method I think it works every time. Nice theme and the flavours sound lovely, shame they were so overpowering.

    My local wholesaler has macaron mix but I didn’t like the sound of the ingredients so will not be trying it.

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite August 11, 2010 at 10:09 #

      It wasn’t so much the flavour but the texture which I fear is a feature of the Italian meringue…

  14. jenjenk August 7, 2010 at 18:22 #

    this looks wonderful!!! i can almost taste it!!!

  15. penny aka jeroxie August 8, 2010 at 01:45 #

    At least you can make macarons! I have yet to attempt. Such vibrant colours…. heh

  16. Bonnie August 8, 2010 at 10:35 #

    I appreciate learning from your experience. Thanks for posting the good and the bad. I have been wanting to try Herme’s method. It’s nice to have a little bit of a heads up.

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite August 11, 2010 at 10:08 #

      The Hermé method, whilst a little more fussy, is prob better for beginners – more stable…

  17. The Cilantropist August 8, 2010 at 10:36 #

    Well, I am sorry to hear that after all that work you did not really enjoy your macs, but I have to say your photos are adorable. 🙂 I love how you overlaid the macs on the South Pacific posters, too cute!

  18. Tracey@Tangled Noodle August 8, 2010 at 10:37 #

    You roll with the punches with such style! Demurely colored macs pale in comparison to your vivid ones here. I may have to beg for a private mac tutorial – all these methods have my head spinning! Even on vacation you are on the ball!

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite August 11, 2010 at 10:07 #

      Oh Tracey – I would love to make macs with you!!! And, yes, rolling with the punches is one of my specialties. Pity it’s not a dish you can bake!

  19. Baking Serendipity August 8, 2010 at 13:40 #

    The colors in your macaroons are gorgeous!

  20. Daniel@Cocina Savant August 8, 2010 at 17:00 #

    You are the queen of macarons. These look incredible. And, I have to add that the South Pacific pictures cracked me up with the macarons on the beach. They don’t belong on the beach though, they belong eaten by some very deserving people.

  21. Anna Johnston August 8, 2010 at 19:36 #

    Stunning colours, fun pictures…. I do believe you are the Queen of Macarons. 🙂

  22. Evan @swEEts August 8, 2010 at 21:10 #

    Love the pictures of your macaroons- especially the ones super imposed on the beach!! 🙂

  23. Barbara Bakes August 8, 2010 at 23:45 #

    You put the lime in the coconut…. Definitely pretty, sorry they weren’t as tasty as the look. I need to hear more about the Strawberry gelato.

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite August 11, 2010 at 10:06 #

      yes, if memory serves me correctly, you need an icecream maker for that gelato.. 🙁 Also, one thing at a time – let me master the macs first!

  24. Conor @ HoldtheBeef August 9, 2010 at 02:29 #

    I had to scroll up and look at your pretty macs again to get the image of the oozy green blobby kiss out of my mind.

    Good thing you’re adept at thinking on your feet in the kitchen. I’m sure there’s some joke to be made about this and mac feet but my brain isn’t working well today so let’s just pretend I made it. Ho ho.

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite August 11, 2010 at 10:05 #

      Oh Conor, you’re such a card!! And funnily enough, when I was writing the post, I *knew* you would comment on that pic!!

  25. Sandy August 9, 2010 at 14:18 #

    These came out looking incredible and how clever to super impose them on South Pacific and the beach. Not only a talented and creative baker and writer but an artist too ! I love reading your blog and they look delicious no matter what you say !

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite August 11, 2010 at 10:05 #

      Yes well it’s nice to have them pretty for a picture but next time, will work on the taste!

  26. Lora August 10, 2010 at 21:01 #

    Maaaaacarons are the Cookies We Love (clap, clap)
    There is nothing like a Maaaac! Nothing in the World!
    Some Enchanted Evenings, Macarons can grow feet.
    I’m Gonna Take Those Macs Right Outta my Oven!

    Ok enough. Can you tell I am a musical Theater Geek? I just loooove South Pacific.

    Mardi – these are so beautiful, great flavors and the color of the lime buttercream – WOW!

    True creativity is inspired flexibility and that, my dear you have in spades….

  27. shaz August 11, 2010 at 07:39 #

    Even if they didin’t taste as good as you hoped, they look so visually stuning! And yay for turning it around in a day.

  28. Cristie August 11, 2010 at 15:21 #

    You’ve outdone yourself, again. Fun, fun, fun. You think of so many ways to treat a mac I just sit back and enjoy your posts . . . I want to try Herme’s method, might as well try them all. I loved this theme 🙂 Thanks!

  29. deeba August 14, 2010 at 07:09 #

    Well done Mardi… they are beautiful. I have to try the Italian meringue method as well. Did you use the egg white powder with the French macaron method? I love how mac adventurous you are! I first find macs and then try and find feet, then the theme! LOL!!
    PS Sorry for the miscommunication!

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite August 16, 2010 at 16:19 #

      NO PROBLEM Deeba! I am just grateful for small feet!!!! No, I have never used the egg white powder with the French method but I might try sometime too.

  30. Cecilia August 15, 2010 at 15:12 #

    Mardi, love the colors of the fillings! I really like the Pierre Herme method. I’ve never gone back to French meringue since I started using his recipe. Beautiful macs!

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite August 16, 2010 at 16:18 #

      Thanks – I will try it again but I really do prefer the chewiness factor of the French meringue ones…

  31. Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction August 15, 2010 at 17:22 #

    Your macs look lovely this time… Sorry you weren’t so happy with how they tasted!

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite August 16, 2010 at 16:18 #

      But it’s all about how they photograph, no? LOL! I will definitely work on making the flavours more subtle next time.

  32. arthi August 17, 2010 at 05:54 #

    Aww Mardi…they are so pretty…and feet so much better than mine 😉

  33. Kitty August 18, 2010 at 20:29 #

    I love South Pacific! I used to live in Atlanta when I was a young girl and I went and saw it at the famous Fox Theatre! I love this movie, and it brings back such fond memories! Thank you for sharing!


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