I have a request from my friend to make Siamese cat macarons with a spicy filling. This is the first time I am trying the combination of chilli with dark chocolate and I must agree that it's awesome!
I used the reduced sugar recipe for macaron shells.
I made these cats along with Pusheen macarons and a pink macaron carousel structure. But for your convenience, I will type out the full recipe for these cuties.
You may refer to this post for a detailed write-up about the reduced sugar macaron shell recipe, my Creative Baking: Macarons book for a systematic approach of presenting the basics to fancy shaped macarons, this post for video tutorials of macaron basics and this post for video tutorials of piping complex shaped objects.
Here's the template I used. Pardon me for the poor quality as this is a photo of the original that I used. There's watermark features on my original file so I do not wish to copy and paste it directly here.
Reduced sugar macaron shell recipe for Siamese cats (makes about 50 macarons, 100 shells)
210g superfine almond meal
196g icing sugar
10g rice flour
82g egg whites
1/8 tsp fine sea salt
Dutch processed cocoa powder
Orange gel food colouring (optional)
78g egg whites
196g caster sugar
1/8 tsp Cream of tartar (optional)
1. Prepare baking trays with Pusheen template and baking sheet over it. Stick the baking sheet to the tray with Italian meringue after you have made it. You may find pictures of Pusheen easily and since it is a trademarked character I will not reproduce the template here.
2. Make the mass. Sift together almond, icing sugar, rice flour, cornflour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add egg whites and mix well until a thick paste forms. Divide the mass into ratio of 2:5 for dark brown : light brown colours. Add sifted cocoa powder (and charcoal for dark brown) into the mixture until a desired shade is reached Add a drop of orange food colouring to make the brown shade warmer but this is optional. I apologise for the lack of precise measurements for cocoa powder and charcoal as I am used to working with large batches with many colours and I am used to using visual cues to gauge how much to add. Add cocoa powder 1/4 tsp at a time and charcoal powder a pinch at a time.
3. Prepare Italian meringue. Heat caster sugar and water in a small saucepan until it reaches 115°C without stirring. Use a candy thermometer to monitor the temperature. In the meantime, beat egg whites with cream of tartar with electric mixer at medium low speed until soft peaks form. Be careful not to overbeat till stiff peak but also do not underbeat such that the egg whites are foamy but unable to hold a peak for 1 second. Reduce mixer speed to keep egg whites moving if temperature of syrup is not reached yet. Once syrup is ready, increase mixer speed to medium high, carefully pour the syrup into the egg whites in a slow, thin stream while avoiding the beaters. Continue beating for another 10-15 minutes until the meringue is cooled to about body temperature. The meringue should be stiff and glossy. Reserve about 2 tbs of meringue for sticking the baking sheet onto the trays.
4. Divide the meringue into ratio of 2:5 by weight or use the formula of weight of meringue = 0.51 x weight of mass for each colour. Fold the meringue into the mass in 2 batches (with the first batch about a third of the meringue) with a spatula until the batter moves in a slow-moving lava-like manner.
5. Transfer batter into piping bags fitted with round piping tips of appropriate sizes (depends on your template). I used Wilton #10 and #5 tips for the large and small portions. Pipe the cat head base and bang the tray on the table to release trapped air bubbles. Dry for about half an hour in air-conditioned room and/or under a fan until a sticky membrane forms. Pipe on the dark brown features. Use a toothpick to pull the batter whenever necessary, especially the ears. Bang the tray on the table to release trapped air bubbles.
6. Let the piped shells dry until the surface is no longer sticky to touch. About 2 hours.
7. Bake in preheated oven with rack at lowest or second lowest position at 140°C for 12 minutes, rotate the tray and bake at 125°C for another 5-10 minutes or until the feet of the shells do no appear wet. Baking times may vary according to size of shells. Let the shells cool completely before peeling the baking sheet away from the shells.
Freshly baked shells! Along with some Pusheens and a little peek of the pink carousel shells.
Decorate with black edible marker for the nose and mouth and royal icing for the eyes and whiskers.
Let the icing features dry completely before filling the shells.
Recipe for chilli dark chocolate ganache
150g dark chocolate, chopped
50g heavy cream
16g unsalted butter
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
1/8 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1. Place dark chocolate and butter in a microwave-safe bowl. Melt in microwave oven for 20 seconds at medium power. Stir the mixture. Repeat until the mixture is fully melted.
2. Heat heavy cream in a small saucepan at low heat until it starts to bubble. Remove from heat and pour over melted chocolate. Use a spatula to stir in one direction until mixture is homogeneous.
3. Add salt, vanilla and chilli powder and mix well.
4. Let the ganache sit undisturbed at room temperature for about half an hour to an hour or until toothpaste consistency. I prefer to speed things up by popping it into the fridge and checking the consistency every 5-10 minutes.
5. Transfer into piping bag and pipe onto shells. Refrigerate assembled shells in airtight container for at least 24h before serving. Leave the macarons at room temperature for about 15 minutes before consuming or the ganache may be too hard.
Best to enjoy the macarons after 3-4 days of maturing in the fridge!
Spicy and rich!
Thank God these were very well received!