Friday 13 April 2018

Rosette Macarons with Whipped Strawberry Ganache Roses

I don't like to follow trendy bakes but instead prefer to create whimsical bakes that sometimes people don't think of. But this particular trending macaron intrigued me so much that I couldn't get it out of my mind. Not because I wanted to follow the trend, but because it presented a technical challenge that got my hands itchy to try and solve the mystery.

Presenting my humble attempt at rosette macarons with whipped strawberry ganache roses as the filling!

It all began when people started posting images of macarons piped as rosettes on social media, but keeping absolutely tight-lipped about how they made it. For the past week many people in a macaron FB group have been trying to figure out how to make it. So far, some have managed but the results are not easily replicated and somehow while they look pretty, they don't look quite like the original version. The original rosette macaron has feet like macarons, but ridges that are sharp and clear, and surface that is smooth like meringue cookies. If you are familiar with making macarons, you will know that it is quite impossible to get the rosettes with regular macaron batter, regardless of the method you use. Underfolding the batter may result in grainy looking surfaces and potential hollows although it may be possible to get the ridges. Increasing the dry ingredients portion may work too and wonderfully so, but you may not get the smooth, almost shiny surface.

My initial guess is the recipe is probably a cross between meringue cookies and macarons. And so when I saw someone posted macaron shells that look really close to the original, and kindly mentioned that she used Martha Stewart's French macaron recipe, I jumped straight to study the recipe. To my delight, I found that the recipe had much higher icing sugar content and much lower almond flour content than most macaron recipes I have come across, making it closer to a meringue cookie than regular macarons. However, the sugar content in the meringue portion is relatively low. This may be tricky for newbies as a higher sugar content in the meringue component provides more stability. I tweaked the recipe to make something more stable, by moving half of the icing sugar portion to the meringue, adding cornflour (acts to thicken the batter as well) and increasing the dry ingredients portion a little.

If you are super particular about getting perfect macarons with no hollows, this recipe may or may not give you what you want because variable factors like how much you fold and oven temperature also play a part. To err on the side of less chance of hollows due to necessary underfolding of the batter, feel free to increase the icing sugar and almond flour in the dry ingredients portion. But be prepared that the surface may not appear as smooth as what I have achieved here. The smooth look can only be achieved (my guess so I could be wrong) when almond content is not high because almond cannot be dissolved in the egg whites whereas sugar can.

Feel free to upsize the recipe as this is a small batch.

Recipe for macaron shells
Ingredients (makes about 14-16 rosettes, 7-8 macarons):
36g egg white ( 1 large egg)
21g caster sugar
29g icing sugar
A pinch of cream of tartar (optional)
Gel food colouring

Dry ingredients
35g almond meal (preferably superfine)
35g icing sugar
1 tsp (2-3g) cornflour (or cornstarch)
A pinch of salt

1. Sift together all the dry ingredients. Set aside. Line baking tray with parchment paper. You may place a paper template under the parchment paper with 5-6cm diameter circles to help you with piping the rosettes but this is optional. Set oven rack to lowest position.

2. Mix together icing sugar and caster sugar for the meringue. Beat the egg whites in a clean metal bowl with cream of tartar until foamy. Gradually add mixed sugar and keep beating until stiff peaks form. This may take a few minutes. Make sure that the meringue is really stiff. Add gel food colouring and beat with mixer until colour is even.

Stiff meringue

3. Pour in sifted dry ingredients all at once. Gently fold in the dry ingredients until no trace of flour is seen. Now use the spatula to press the batter to the side of the mixing bowl as you normally would for regular macarons to knock out some air. This is where a little trial and error is required. If you do this too much, the batter will become too runny to hold sharp ridges when piped. But if you don't fold enough, the hollows may be more pronounced. To test, drop a generous dollop of batter from the spatula. If it more or less holds it's peak, the batter is still stiff enough. When it starts to settle a little but not too much when you drop the batter off the spatula, it's time to stop folding.

4. Transfer the batter into piping bag fitted with Wilton 1M piping tip. Pipe the rosettes by starting from the middle, pipe a spiral outwards. Sorry I didn't do a video tutorial on how to pipe this. Perhaps in the future if I have time and I can include it here. Bang the tray once to release any trapped air. I would normally bang a few times for regular macarons but not these babies 😅.

Piped rosettes. You may pipe some five-petaled flowers too!

5. Dry the shells in air-conditioned room or under a fan until dry to touch. Towards end of drying time, preheat oven to 160℃.

6. Bake for 5 min. Turn the temperature down to 130℃ and bake for another 7-8 min. Reduce temperature to 110℃ and bake for another 10 min or until feet no longer appears wet. Please note that this temperature and time is just a gauge. Each oven behaves differently. Cool completely before carefully remove the shells from baking sheet.

Freshly baked shells! I added white pearl sprinkles on one of the flowers after piping the batter so that it sticks to the piped batter 

Checkout the feet!

Nice and fluffy interior! There's a small space of hollow but nothing major :). The texture is so delicate to bite because it resembles a meringue cookie as well.

I made some whipped strawberry ganache as the filling. You may refer to this post for the ganache recipe. I call it "ganache" but it doesn't actually contain whipping cream. This is because Singapore is really warm and I wanted to pack as much fresh fruit goodness into the filling without turning it too soft. And so I discovered that whipping together white chocolate and butter/shortening creates a relatively stable medium that can accomodate quite a high percentage of fruit without turning too soft. Do press the jam through the sieve to remove any big lumps or it will be difficult to pipe the roses with it.

Here's a dollop of homemade strawberry jam on whipped white chocolate with butter and shortening

Whipped strawberry ganache

I filled a piping bag fitted with a Russian piping tip to pipe the roses onto a baking tray lined with baking sheet. Freeze the piped roses until firm. It's my first try at using the Russian piping tips do pardon the amateurish attempt 😅. I need to use a smaller piping tip too.

Piped whipped strawberry ganache. Love the bits of strawberry peeking out!

Pipe a dollop of soft ganache in the middle of the bottom macaron shell. Carefully arrange the roses in a ring around the dollop. Pipe more ganache to fill the spaces as necessary before putting the top shell on.

I piped some leaves in between the roses using royal icing but this is optional.

Refrigerate for at least 24h before serving.

I made rosette macarons again but with prettier fillings. Checkout this post!

With love,
Phay Shing

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