Tuesday, 30 October 2018

'Characters in Tea Set' Chocolate Hazelnut Macarons

This is what happens when the requester gives me free reign of design, specifying only the required characters and flavour of filling 😁. Presenting my tea set macaron cake!

R2D2, Winnie the Pooh, Piglet, Marie and Darth Vader sitting in teacups (or hiding in teapot in Piglet's case)

Everything in the setup is made of macarons! The wooden serving tray, teacups, saucer and teapot (handle, spout, body and lid!) are macarons! Needless to say, so are all the characters. I must admit that the teapot was particularly challenging but I am glad that at least it is recognisable 😆.

I used a stabilized French method recipe that I have been using recently as the colours are many but quantity is few. My schedule lately is also more manageable if I break down a complex bake into shorter separate sessions, instead of having a long full day of baking many different coloured and complex-shaped shells. I had to coach my kids as it was exam period.

The hemispherical shells for the teacups and teapot were made by piping the batter over silicone cake pop moulds. You can find the details of this in my Creative Baking: Macaron Basics book.

Just to share some photos of the process...

Piping the characters. I usually prepare an extra set in case one set turns out ugly.

Piping the wooden serving tray. The wood grain pattern was a challenge to pipe with batter!

I forgot to take photos of the piped batter for the teacup set. But you may refer to my first attempt  for some photos of piped batter for making hemispherical macaron shells.

I decorated the shells with royal icing and black edible marker 

Assembled teacups! This photo actually went a little viral when I shared it on social media and it got reposted twice in Instagram

I filled the tea set with something kid friendly, something with chocolate in there as requested. I didn't want the filling to appear extra dark so I used a mix of dark chocolate, white chocolate and hazelnut to create a filling that is still yummy despite having less dark chocolate content.

Recipe for chocolate hazelnut ganache
Ingredients:
80g dark chocolate
80g white chocolate
40g hazelnut ganache* (or hazelnut butter)
50-70g whipping cream (use more if you prefer softer ganache)
20g unsalted butter
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla bean paste

*I used store bought hazelnut ganache and didn't intend to make my own because I have it on hand from another recent bake. You may add more hazelnut butter or ganache if you prefer stronger hazelnut flavour.

Hazelnut ganache from Phoon Huat

Steps:
1. Heat a saucepan filled with about 1" of water and let it simmer. Put all ingredients in a heatproof bowl that can sit on top of the saucepan without the base touching the water.

2. Use a spatula to stir the contents until everything is melted and homogeneous. Remove from heat.

3. Chill in freezer for 2 minutes. Beat mixture with spatula until smooth. Repeat chilling and beating until the whipped ganache resembles buttercream

Whipped ganache

4. Transfer into piping bag and fill the macaron shells.

Piping filling into wooden serving tray macaron shell.

Here's a photo of the tea set at the party! Someone else made the cake. I made some extra macarons too and those adorned the cake.



I hope this post has inspired you to let your imagination run wild!

With love,
Phay Shing

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