Preparation and baking time: ~n/a
Greetings folks – I’ve gone Canadian for this post! I’ve got a great guest poster standing in for me today, and in honour of her post I thought I’d post a little photo of William as well. The very latest in Canadian baby fashion (look how cool he is!), this, and a couple of other adorable little outfits, were sent to me by the lovely Barb, from Profiteroles and Ponytails, and Eva, from Kitchen Inspirations, when they first found out my wife was pregnant. Can you believe that this little outfit is supposed to be from 3-6 months? Little Will is rocking it already… chubby little guy that he is! I can see that he’s going to cause us no end of expense in clothes shopping in the future, when he’s growing out of shoes in two months flat!
Speaking of Barb, she very kindly offered to write this guest post for me – even after I was planning on returning to more regular blog work. Naturally I jumped on the offer, because it’s always wonderful to have those precious extra moments free which I can spend with my family. I first met Barb through Eva’s blog about a year ago and since then have greatly enjoyed her recipes and stories. For those of you who don’t know her, she has two adorable children (the ponytails), who pop up every now and again on her blog.
She’s making something amazing today which I’ve never dared to try to make myself (despite buying equipment just for these once) – they look absolutely amazing, and I do hope you all enjoy the post – thank you once again Barb – now over to you!
Find Barb on: Profiteroles and Ponytails
I can’t tell you what a pleasure it is to guest post for Charles. Shortly after I started blogging, my “real life” and blogging friend Eva from KitchenInspirations kindly wrote a post that introduced my blog Profiteroles and Ponytails to her network of blogging friends. Thanks to Eva, Charles was one of the first people that I met and in no time at all I felt like I’d known him forever . . . largely because of his thoughtful comments and blog posts that draw you in and make you feel like you’re right there in the kitchen with him, having a good ole chat and a cuppa. How many times I’ve wished that I was there so that I could sample one of his famous Swedish kakas (cakes) or cinnamon buns? (Trust me, too many to count.)
I started blogging because I needed a creative outlet for my obsession—one that would save me from driving my friends and family crazy with my incessant “food talk”. Turns out though, the aspect of blogging I enjoy the most is being part of this amazing international community of food lovers—it is such a constant source of inspiration and knowledge.
Inspiration works in mysterious ways. You see something that speaks to you . . . and then you tuck it away until the time is right. A few months back I commented on the lovely background that Charles used in one his photos (Calissons) and he told me that it was in fact a macaron mat. I thought that was very cool and it made me want to try to make macarons. Then when Charles mentioned writing a guest post, it hit me. This was the perfect occasion to give macarons a try. What better way to celebrate international friendships and the new little bundle keeping Charles and his wife very busy?
It seemed like such a good idea at first. Why not make something that would bring a little piece of Paris to those of us scattered around the globe who follow Five Euro Foods? Then I started my research and I was completely overwhelmed by the macaron “lingo” that I wasn’t aware existed. My mind was spinning as I learned about the importance of “feet,” macronage* . . . and “aging” egg whites**. The more I read, the more frightened I became.
I came very close to scrapping the macarons and making something else. But then I decided to give them a try because it would be a good opportunity to share my experience—and if I’m lucky, some of you will share your tips and experience with making this legendary French confectionery. It would be great to learn more. Isn’t that what blogging is all about? I think it is.
And so is this . . .
Coconut and Lime Macarons
Slightly adapted from Gourmet
For the macarons
- 1 cup grated dried unsweetened coconut (3 oz)
- 3 oz almond flour (2/3 cup) or blanched sliced almonds (3/4 cup) or slivered almonds (2/3 cup)
- 1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
- 3 large egg whites, aged 24-hours**
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
For the curd
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup fresh lime juice
- 4 large egg yolks
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 1/2 teaspoons grated lime peel
- A food processor with a sharp blade or an electric coffee/spice grinder
- A large pastry bag fitted with a 3/8-inch plain tip or a qt-size sealable plastic bag with a corner snipped off, plus another sealable bag for curd.
- Make curd
– Whisk together lime juice, sugar, and egg yolks in a small heavy saucepan. Add butter and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, until curd is thick, 4 to 5 minutes. Cool completely and refrigerate for a couple hours before using.
- Make macaron batter
– Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
– Grind coconut and almond flour or almonds with confectioners sugar in food processor until powdery, about 2 minutes. (If using grinder, grind in small batches.) Sift through a medium-mesh sieve into a bowl (if not fine enough for almost all of nuts to go through sieve, regrind). Sift again into a large bowl.
– Beat egg whites with salt in a bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until they just hold soft peaks. Beat in granulated sugar, a little at a time. Increase speed to high and beat until meringue holds stiff, glossy peaks, about 1 minute. meringue into almond mixture with a rubber spatula until completely incorporated. (Meringue will deflate and batter will be loose.)
- Pipe and bake macarons
– Put small dabs of batter under corners of parchment to secure to baking sheets.
– Spoon half of batter into pastry bag. Holding bag vertically just above baking sheet, pipe 1-1/2-inch-wide mounds of batter about 1 inch apart, stopping pressure and flicking tip sideways to avoid peaks (tamp down any peaks with a wet finger). Refill pastry bag and repeat.
– Let macarons stand, uncovered, at room temperature until a light crust forms, 20 to 30 minutes.
– Meanwhile, preheat oven to 300°F/150°C with racks in upper and lower thirds.
– Bake macarons, switching position of sheets halfway through, until crisp and interior does not give easily when a macaron is gently pressed, 22 to 28 minutes total. (I found they needed much less time to cook. I cooked mine for 20 minutes and next time I will check them even sooner.) Cool completely on baking sheets (for residual heat to harden bottoms) on racks, about 30 minutes. Loosen macarons from parchment with offset spatula (they will be fragile).
- Assemble cookies
– Pipe about 1/2 tsp or so of curd onto flat side of half of a macaron, then sandwich with a remaining macaron.
– Layer macarons between sheets of parchment in an airtight container and let stand at room temperature at least 2 hours to soften before eating.
- I didn’t put the shells into the fridge to store — I just stored them (unassembled) in a container. I think this was a mistake, as they seemed to harden a bit the next day.
- The changes that I made to the Gourmet recipe were to use “aged” egg whites and to use a lime curd instead of the passion-fruit curd in the original recipe. I also didn’t use any food colouring. I think coconut and lime is a sublime flavour combination. I hope you agree.
- I also used nutella in place of the lime curd for some of the macarons. The ponytails loved both options.
- I used icing sugar because confectioners sugar is rather hard to find. However, the experts recommend that you use confectioners sugar because icing sugar (also known as icing mixture) contains corn starch which impacts the final form and texture of the macarons.
- I didn’t use a macaron mat because, well, I couldn’t find one. Next time I will draw 1-1/2 inch circles on the back of the parchment paper to ensure each cookie is a consistent size.
* Macronage – the process of mixing of the nuts and sugar mixture into the egg whites.
** Aging egg whites – means to separate the yolks from whites and store the whites (covered) in the fridge for 24 hours. The whites should be brought to room temperature before using. The reason is to reduce the moisture content as much as possible.
It is such an exciting time for Charles, as he starts this new journey into fatherhood. Little William is a lucky boy, as I have no doubt that Charles will apply the same enthusiasm and passion towards his new role that he does many of his other endeavors – particularly FiveEuroFood! Congratulations again Charles!