It wouldn’t surprise me if I am indeed the last Daring Baker to post the challenge today. “Phew…” It almost didn’t happen! Life has been crazy with all sorts of unexpected events, travel and finishing up side projects before baby arrives.
I made the macarons right before I went on a weekend getaway, but did not have enough time to style and photograph them. My plan was to do it right as I returned from my trip, but I should have known better. “Never leave for tomorrow what you can finish today”, my amama used to say. She was right.
Like most of you, I am super inspired by whatever fall has to bring. My initial intent was to make some membrillo, but quince is nowhere to be seen around here, so I chose to use asian pears, which are abundant and beautiful. Inspired by Stephane Glacier’s apple tart tatin macarons, I cooked asian pears in caramel and butter. I combined both almond and pistachio macaron shells with the asian pear tatin and mascarpone cream.
I also made chestnut and praline macarons with the chestnut cream that my dear friend Deb brought back for me from Paris. I had been saving it for something special and I couldn’t wait any longer. I made the praline by caramelizing the hazelnuts just like my grandmother used to do with a sandy sugar coating. Oh the memories that those smells bring!
I have several packages ready to give out to friends this week. This last month will be crazy for me and I have so many people to be thankful for. Enjoy!
The 2009 October Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to us by Ami S. She chose macarons from Claudia Fleming’s The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern as the challenge recipe.
Claudia Fleming’s Macarons
Note: I made three different batches using three different nuts. Some all almond, some added half almond/half pistachio flour and some half almond/half hazelnut flour.
2 ¼ cups (225 g, 8 oz.) powdered sugar
2 cups (190 g, 6.7 oz.) almond flour
2 tablespoon (25 g, .88 oz.) sugar
5 (Have at room temperature) egg whites
1. Preheat the oven to 200°F (93°C). Combine the confectioners’ sugar and almond flour in a medium bowl. If grinding your own nuts, combine nuts and a cup of confectioners’ sugar in the bowl of a food processor and grind until nuts are very fine and powdery.
2. Beat the egg whites in the clean dry bowl of a stand mixer until they hold soft peaks. Slowly add the granulated sugar and beat until the mixture holds stiff peaks.
3. Sift a third of the almond flour mixture into the meringue and fold gently to combine. If you are planning on adding zest or other flavorings to the batter, now is the time. Sift in the remaining almond flour in two batches. Be gentle! Don’t overfold, but fully incorporate your ingredients.
4. Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a plain half-inch tip (Ateco #806). You can also use a Ziploc bag with a corner cut off. It’s easiest to fill your bag if you stand it up in a tall glass and fold the top down before spooning in the batter.
5. Pipe one-inch-sized (2.5 cm) mounds of batter onto baking sheets lined with nonstick liners (or parchment paper).
6. Bake the macaroon for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and raise the temperature to 375°F (190°C). Once the oven is up to temperature, put the pans back in the oven and bake for an additional 7 to 8 minutes, or lightly colored.
7. Cool on a rack before filling.