About a year ago I was transformed into a macaron making machine. Macaron after macaron, request after request, I was churning these mothers out like a, ahhh… like something that prepares a lot of macarons (you can find some evidence in my old kitchen porfolio). Unfortunately this lead to a great macaron meltdown. I had grown so tired of these adorable, French biscuits I began to despise the process and thus began my temporary retirement. It was an epic rage quit inspired by sugar and ground almonds. Months later (last night) however and due to popular demand (a friend) I managed to pull myself out of my rut and make a great macaron comeback.
The first time I ever tasted pandan was in cake form accompanied by a cup of jasmine tea; a seemingly apt combination for a macaron. If you have reservations about opening an entire can of coconut milk for only 2 tbs I completely understand and suggest you use regular milk. However, like salt to lemon, coconut and pandan compliment each other so wonderfully it really is a shame to tear them apart.
Apologies as mine are a little on the thick side; my excuse being I was adjusting to a brand new piping nib… and I’m out of practice.
JASMINE + PANDAN MACARONS
(an original recipe)
For the shells
1 teabag (or 1 heaped tsp) jasmine tea leaves
100 g almond meal
200 g pure icing sugar
100 g aged eggwhites, room temperature
30 g caster sugar
1 tsp powdered egg whites
For the pandan buttercream
100 g butter, room temperature
2 cups icing sugar mixture
3/4 tsp pandan paste
2 tbs coconut milk
1. Preheat your oven 150°C.
2. Sift pure icing sugar and almond meal and place into a bowl with your jasmine tea leaves and give it a quick stir.
3. Beat eggwhites and eggwhite powder in a separate bowl until soft peaks form. Slowly add the caster sugar, beating well between each addition, until eggwhites are stiff and glossy. This process should take around 10 minutes.
4. Pour half of your dry ingredients into the bowl of beaten eggwhites and combine with a flat utensil, like a spatula, using “cutting strokes”. Once incorporated repeat with the remaining icing sugar/almong meal/jasmine tea mixture. This is where things begin to get a little tricky as under-mixing or over-mixing will ruin your macarons as they attempt to rise and “grow feet” in the oven. Experts say to stir the mixture until it becomes the consistency of lava. The mixture will be sticky but you’ll know it’s ready when, upon holding your spatula above the bowl, it will begin just begin to flow freely back into the bowl. If it’s too watery then you may have mixed too much!
5. Prepare a piping bag with the appropriate tip (around 1 cm or less), a baking tray with baking paper, and pipe rounds. If there are any small lumps left from your piping tip wet your finger and gently press them down (unlike cake batter, macaron mixture does not flatten out when in the oven! Also, ensure you don’t leave drops of water on your macarons or they will balloon whilst baking). Allow tray to rest for 30 minutes.
6. Place baking tray in the oven and allow to bake for around 15 minutes (this time will depend entirely on your oven, so keep an eye on them). Within 5 minutes or so they will begin to grow feet.
7. Once ready, remove from oven, and after 5-10 minutes transfer to cooling racks.
8. Whilst your shells are cooling place butter and icing sugar into a bowl and beat until fluffy. Add pandan paste and beat further. Slowly add coconut milk until the buttercream reaches desired consistency.
9. Prepare another piping bag with a large tip and neatly pipe rounds of buttercream into half of the shells. To close, gently place it’s partner shell on top of the buttercream and twist shut, taking care to prevent buttercream spilling over the edges.
Making macarons is no easy task. This process takes time, patience and most of all PRACTICE. There are too many things that can so wrong so if they haven’t turned out as well you’d like don’t give up! Try, try, try again. It’s a tremendous feeling getting these right. But once you make them…
… they won’t last long.
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