Have to show the preassembled pieces to see the chocolate ganache...
After my Mickey mouse macaron bake, I was waiting for a chance to make fancy macs again! Honestly, I was pretty nervous as usual but glad that they turned out well!
In order to pipe the shape of Peppa pretty regularly, I placed a template under the baking sheet:
(Update 20/8/2015: checkout my video tutorial for macaronage and testing of batter consistency).
Ingredients (makes about 30 macarons, 60 shells):
163g almond meal (preferably superfine)
163g icing sugar
163g caster sugar
2x65g egg whites (preferably aged. I aged for 4 days but this is optional.)
Pink gel food colouring
1/4 tsp Strawberry paste (optional)
Royal icing decorations:
30g Royal icing sugar (or 28g icing sugar mix with 2g meringue powder, sifted)
Red gel food colouring
1. Sift together icing sugar and almond meal in a large bowl. Add half of egg whites (65g) into the mixture and mix well until a thick paste forms. Add pink food colouring and strawberry paste until desired shade of pink is obtained (right photo below).
2. Place caster sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to boil without stirring while beating the rest of the egg whites with and electric mixer until foamy. When syrup temperature reaches 105°C, increase speed of mixer but be careful not to let meringue go past soft peak stage. Reduce speed of mixer if need be. Once syrup reaches 115°C, remove saucepan from heat. Turn speed of mixer to high and slowly pour syrup down the side of the mixing bowl. Continue beating on high speed until Italian meringue cools and stiff glossy peaks form. About 10 minutes. See left picture below.
3. Fold the meringue into the almond mixture one third at a time, until the batter moves slowly when the bowl is tilted and is able to fall off the spatula in a continuous ribbon. Be careful not to overfold. I left about 1/4 cup of meringue unused as I felt that the consistency of the batter would be too runny if I used everything.
4. Portion out about 2 tablespoons of batter and colour it dark pink. It is ok to overfold this small batch. Transfer this into piping bag fitted with a tip that is about 3mm in diameter. Place about 3 tablespoons of light pink batter into a piping bag fitted with a Wilton #5 tip or any tip with 3mm opening. Place the rest of the batter into piping bag with 5-10mm tip. Pipe rounds for the base shells. Pipe Peppa by beginning with the head, followed by the snout. Pipe Peppa's ears with the small portion of batter and the rosy cheek.
A little tricky to pipe!
5. Tap the tray a few times to release any trapped air bubbles. Dry the macarons either in aircon room or oven. I had always dried my macaron shells in aircon room until I saw someone made beautiful ones with oven drying. I thought why not give it a shot! I dried mine at 60°C fan mode for about half an hour. Ideally, they should be baked once dry but I still have kids to take care of so I dried mine for a longer time than necessary. Oven drying is really much faster! I usually need to dry in aircon room for about 2 hours. Make sure that the shells are completely dry to touch with a finger before sending them into the oven to bake. Never bake sticky macaron shells! Mine always cracked or have no feet when I was impatient and sent them for baking when they were still a bit tacky to touch.
6. Bake in preheated oven at 130-140°C with the rack placed at lowest position for about 17-20 minutes. Let the shells cool on the tray for 5 minutes before removing them.
Freshly baked! Always happy to see feet!
7. Once the shells have cooled, proceed with drawing on the face. Prepare some royal icing that is of flooding consistency. Leave one portion white and colour the rest red and black. Pipe or paint on the facial features.
Finally done with shells!
Store in airtight container if you are not assembling yet. They can keep for up to two weeks in the fridge. But it is not necessary to refrigerate unassembled shells.
20g raspberry puree
* Refer to this post on how to make the basic smbc
Make raspberry puree by pressing fresh or frozen raspberries through a sieve. Gradually add to smbc and whisk until well combined.
You may make this in advance and freeze or refrigerate until it's time for assembly. Bring to room temperature and re-whip before using.
136g milk or dark chocolate, finely chopped
7g unsalted butter, cut to small pieces, softened
95g whipping cream
1. Place chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl. Bring whipping cream to boil.
2. Pour cream onto chocolate and butter. Use a spatula to stir until chocolate is melted and smooth.
3. Leave the ganache to firm up for a couple of hours at room temperature. You will have leftover ganache. I made a slightly bigger batch to store some in the freezer for future use.
1. Arrange the macaron pairs on a tray as shown in the second picture of this post. Place ganache and smbc in piping/ziplock bags with a corner snipped off.
2. Pipe a ring of smbc, followed by ganache in the centre on the round bottom shell.
3. Cover the macarons with Peppa shells.
4. Refrigerate at least overnight for flavours to develop. Let it sit out for 5-10minutes at room temperature before consuming if you prefer softer filling.
All packed and ready to party!