Monday 6 June 2016

Charlie Brown and Snoopy Lemon Macarons

This request for Charlie Brown macarons came at a time when I was really busy but I managed to squeeze it in together with woodland creature and piano keyboard macarons!

I had leftover batter from making the keyboard so a few Snoopies were born!

Although I made only several of these macarons, I will type out the full recipe for baking half of them as Charlie Brown and half of them as Snoopy.

Please refer to this post for video tutorials of macaron basics, this post for video tutorials of piping complex shapes and my Creative Baking: Macarons book for more details and pointers. I will just briefly describe the process here.

Macaron shell recipe (makes about 40-50 macarons, 80-100 shells)
200g superfine almond powder
200g icing sugar
80g egg whites
1/8 tsp salt (optional)
A pinch of Dutch processed cocoa powder
A drop of orange gel food colouring
A tiny dip of copper coloured gel food colouring
1 tsp Charcoal powder
Black gel food colouring
White powder / gel food colouring

Italian meringue
200g caster sugar
75ml water
80g egg whites
1/8 tsp cream of tartar (optional)

1. Prepare baking tray with templates for Snoopy and Charlie Brown, and baking sheets.

2. Prepare mass. Combine sifted almond and  icing sugar in a large bowl. Add egg whites and mix well to form a paste. Divide the batter into ratio of 4:3:1 for beige:white:black. Colour the masses accordingly. Beige is created by adding  pinch of cocoa powder, a bit of orange and copper gel food colouring. The resulting mass should appear pale brownish orange. Add charcoal and black gel colouring for black mass. Add white colouring to colour white.

3. Prepare Italian meringue. Heat sugar and water in a small saucepan until 115°C. In the mean time, beat egg whites in clean metal bowl with electric mixer at medium low speed until soft peaks form. Reduce mixer speed if necessary. Once syrup is ready, increase mixer speed to medium high and carefully pour syrup into egg whites in a thin stream. Continue beating on high for 10 minutes or until meringue is stiff, glossy and cool. Divide meringue for the various colours according to the formula weight of meringue = 0.55 x weight of mass.

4. Fold meringue into mass in two additions  until it flows off the spatula in a slow-moving lava-like manner.

5. Transfer batter into piping bags fitted with the appropriate tip sizes. Pipe the characters onto the baking tray. Remember to bang the tray on the table after each stage of piping. Use a toothpick to pull the batter where necessary or to pop stubborn air bubbles.

Piping Charlie Brown

Piping Snoopy

6. Dry the piped shells in aircon room and/or under a fan until you are able to run a finger across the shells without feeling any stickiness. About 1-2 hours.

7. Bake in preheated oven at 140°C for 10 minutes with tray at lowest rack. Rotate the tray and bake for another 10 minutes at 130°C. If the feet still appear wet, bake for another 5 minutes at 120°C. Let the shells cool completely before removing from baking sheet.

I used a fine edible marker to draw Charlie Brown's face by freehand. I guess after a year plus of making fancy macarons and cookies, I am more able to draw by freehand more confidently :p. You may use a template to trace the face on but I didn't feel like putting in the extra work which turned out unnecessary.

Decorated shells

I filled the shells with lemon white chocolate ganache and lemon curd as requested.

Recipe for lemon curd may be found here. Replace lime with lemon.

Lemon white chocolate ganache recipe
Ingredients (Fills about 12 macarons):
55g white chocolate, chopped
5g vegetable shortening
5g unsalted butter
6g lemon juice*
6g lemon curd*
6g heavy cream*
Zest of a lemon
1/8 tsp lemon paste (optional)
1/3 tsp fine sea salt

*you may use 9g lemon juice and 9g cream if you don't have lemon curd available or don't intend to use it.

1. Place white chocolate, shortening and butter in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat using medium power for 10 seconds and stir. Repeat until all the chocolate is melted and smooth.

2. Place the rest of the ingredients in a small saucepan and heat over low heat until it starts to bubble. Pour over melted chocolate and stir until well combined.

3. Refrigerate for 10 minutes and beat the mixture with a spatula until creamy and homogenous. If it still appears runny, put back in the fridge for another 5 minutes and repeat beating the mixture until it is able to hold a stiff peak.

4. Transfer the ganache into piping bag and pipe a ring on the bottom shell.

See the bits of lemon zest in the ganache?

5. Fill another piping bag with lemon curd and pipe to fill the centers.

Filling up the center with lemon curd

Store in airtight container for at least 24h before serving.

These were very well received in terms of looks and taste! The birthday girl couldn't stop laughing when she saw the box of Charlie Brown's :D.

With love,
Phay Shing

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