Wednesday, 3 July 2019

Milo, Tea and Coffee Merlion Macarons (template provided!)

This year I am involved in conducting a macaron workshop for our church carnival as part of a community outreach event. Since the event is near national day, I thought of sharing something that is uniquely Singapore. Merlion macarons filled with familiar coffeeshop drink flavours: Milo, Teh (tea) and Kopi (coffee)!

Hubby helped with coming up with the idea of taking photos of these Merlions. Don't they look like they are having fun doing synchronized swimming 😆!

I came up with the Merlion design so there isn't any copyright issues involved and I can share the template. Please acknowledge the source here if you do use the template as I have taken pains to draw the template. Do acknowledge the source here if you use my recipe and share your work in public domain too!


I decided to demo the simplest method of making macarons, the French method, as it is logistically least involved. I use icing sugar instead of caster so that the meringue is more stable and the batter dries faster.

Recipe for French method Merlion macarons
Ingredients (makes 12 Merlion macarons):
Dry ingredients
45g almond meal (preferably superfine)
55g icing sugar
1/4 tsp cornflour

Meringue
40g egg whites
36g icing sugar
1/2 tsp cornflour
1/8 tsp cream of tartar (optional)

Food colouring
1/8 tsp white powder food colouring
1/4 tsp cocoa powder
3/16 tsp red powder food colouring

Steps:
1. Prepare baking tray with template and parchment paper.

2. Sift together dry ingredients. Divide into two equal portions. Add sifted white powder colouring to one portion. Add sifted cocoa powder and red powder colouring to the other portion. Use a whisk to whisk together each of the coloured dry ingredients to distribute colouring evenly. Set aside.

3. Prepare the meringue. In a small bowl, whisk together icing sugar and corn flour. In a clean metal bowl, beat egg whites with cream of tartar until stiff peaks form, gradually adding in icing sugar mix once the egg whites are foamy. Whisk the egg whites when icing sugar is added in before turning the mixer speed up or you get powdered sugar flying everywhere. The meringue should be so stiff that it is able to ball up inside the whisk when it is beaten. Divide the meringue into two equal portions.

4. For each coloured batter, scatter half of the powdered ingredients into the meringue. Gently fold in with spatula until just combined. Scatter the other half of dry ingredients and fold in until combined. Continue folding and pressing the batter against side of the bowl with a little more force now until batter is able to flow off the spatula in almost continuous manner. When you make little peaks of batter in the bowl, it should melt back in when you tap the bottom of the bowl.

You may refer to this tutorial on how to prepare macaron batter and basics of piping. You may refer to my macaron books, Creative Baking: Macarons and Macaron Basics for a more systematic presentation of the techniques of basic macarons and fancy shaped macarons.

5. Transfer each coloured batter into piping bag fitted with Wilton #5 or #6 tip. Pipe the head and body of the Merlion, followed by the mane and "arms/fins". Bang the tray on table after piping a few macarons to flatten any peaks and pop any air bubbles trapped before a skin is formed on the surface. Use a toothpick to nudge the batter where necessary.

Piped batter

6. Dry the piped batter in air-con room for 20-30min or until you are able to run a finger across the surface of the shells without feeling any stickiness. In the mean time, preheat oven to 170-180℃ (top and bottom heat only, no fan). Set oven rack to lowest or second lowest position. Once the shells are dry to touch, place tray in oven and immediately reduce temperature to 140℃. Bake for 10 min. Reduce temperature to 110-120℃ and bake for another 10-15 min or until feet do not appear wet. I give a range of oven temperature as each oven is different so adjust baking temperature and time accordingly. Always use an oven thermometer.

7. Let the macarons cool completely on baking tray and gently peel the parchment paper away from the shells. Use black and blue edible marker to draw the details.

Check out the feet on the macaron shells!

Whipped ganache filling recipes
I am going to make these Merlion macarons as giveaways during the event so the fillings have to be tasty as well as firm enough to withstand Singapore's hot climate. Feel free to reduce white chocolate content or increase whipping cream content, or replace vegetable shortening with butter if you live at a cooler place. Feel free to upsize the recipe if you wish.

Ingredients:
Milo
4tbs Milo kosong powder
30g heavy or double cream
40g white chocolate, finely chopped or use chips
15g unsalted butter, room temperature
15g vegetable shortening
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 tsp vanilla bean paste

Tea
Tea infused whipping cream
2tbs tea dust/ 2 tea bags of black tea
50g heavy or double cream

30g tea infused cream
45g white chocolate
15g unsalted butter
15g vegetable shortening
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 tsp vanilla bean paste
1.5 tbs Earl grey tea powder

Coffee
1.5tbs instant coffee granules
30g heavy or double cream
45g white chocolate
15g unsalted butter
15g vegetable shortening
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 tsp vanilla bean paste

Steps:
1. Prepare tea infused whipping cream by heating whipping cream in a small saucepan or microwave oven until it just starts to bubble. Steep the tea dust/ tea bags in the hot cream for 10min. Strain out the tea dust / remove tea bags and measure out 30g.

2. For all the different flavours, heat the heavy cream/tea infused cream until hot but not boiling. You may use the microwave oven or small saucepan to do this. Add Milo powder/ Earl grey tea powder/ coffee granules to the hot cream and stir until the powder is dissolved.

3. In a microwave safe/ heatproof bowl, add white chocolate, butter, vegetable shortening and flavoured cream from step 2. Mix well and melt the contents until smooth using either microwave oven at medium-low power or double boiling. Do not overheat or the white chocolate will separate.

4. Add salt and vanilla bean paste and mix well.

5. Chill the bowl of flavoured ganache in freezer for 1-2min and mix well with a spatula. Repeat freezing and mixing/whipping until you get a smooth fluffy buttercream texture.

6. Transfer to piping bag and fill the macaron shells.

Filling the Merlion macarons!

Store filled macarons for at least 24h in the fridge in an airtight container before consuming. I pack a piece of paper towel inside the sealed container/bag to absorb any moisture so that the macaron shells won't turn soggy as they mature with the filling due to unwanted water condensation. Leave the matured macarons at room temperature for 15 min before opening the container/bag to prevent condensation from forming directly on the macaron shells.  It may sound troublesome but this is a tried and tested method I use in Singapore's hot and humid climate to ensure that the macarons are in the best condition when you consume them after storage and with repeated taking in and out of fridge. These macarons are good for a couple of weeks storage in the fridge and a few months in the freezer.

With love,
Phay Shing

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