Monday, 13 April 2020

'Different Sides of K' Earl Grey Lavender Macaron Carousel

This is perhaps one of the most tedious and challenging macaron carousel theme I have made to date because each character is unique and intricate. The only other one I made of this scale is the one for Osim 3 years ago. Someone wanted me to make something personalized for her boss's birthday. I am sure you can tell from the carousel that her boss is a fashionista who loves to eat ramen, loves karaoke, listening to music and has an adorable pet dog!

This design was tedious because I have to make double the number of characters required 🤣. I almost always make extra pieces of characters, one for each design, just in case of damage or butter fingers (dropping and breaking the macaron shells during decoration or assembly).

I used the reduced sugar Italian method recipe. Those of you who follow me would have realised I haven't used Italian method for my bakes for more than a year! It still rocks! And it is really good for large batches requiring many colours. I just haven't used it for a long time as I seldom work with large batches in a single session nowadays. Just to share some pictures of the piped batter...

I ran out of auburn colour for the hair so the bottom shells of one of the character designs look weird. I painted the macaron shell post-baking to make it same colour as the hair

Freshly baked shells! 

Checkout the awesome feet! 

I decorated the shells using edible marker, lustre dust, royal icing and edible paint (dissolve gel colouring in vodka) 

Lavender earl grey flavour was requested. I have come a long way since I first made macaron carousels and refined the fillings over time to make them more flavourful without being too sweet, but at the same time firm enough to be structurally stable in Singapore's hot weather. I filled the outer layer of filling with a firm water-based white chocolate ganache, and a strong flavoured water-based earl grey lavender ganache for the interior.

Outer ring of white chocolate ganache and inner portion filled with earl grey lavender ganache

The extra set of character macarons, decorated and filled! 

Water-based Earl grey lavender ganache
Ingredients :
Chocolate mix
60g white chocolate
12g cocoa butter
12g dark chocolate couverture 73.5%
20g vegetable shortening
1/8 tsp salt

Tea flavouring
90g boiling water
4+1 earl grey tea bag
1/2 tbs earl grey tea powder
2-3 drops food grade lavender essential oil*

*If you don't have lavender oil, use dried lavender flowers instead. Infuse 2 tbs of dried flowers along with the earl grey tea bags.

1. Steep 4 teabags in 90g boiling water for 5 min. Strain, measure out 24g concentrated tea. Reserve an additional 1 tsp of concentrated tea for the firm white chocolate ganache later.

2. Dissolve earl grey tea powder into the 24g of concentrated tea. Add lavender oil. Set aside.

3. Squeeze out water from the soaked teabags and remove the tea leaves from the bags into a small bowl. Add an additional bag of dry tea leaves to the soaked and drained tea leaves. Set the leaves aside.

4. Place all chocolate mix ingredients into a microwave safe bowl. Melt on medium low power for 20 seconds and stir. Repeat until mixture is melted and smooth. Be careful not to overheat. You may use double-boiling method if you wish.

5. Chill melted chocolate mix in freezer for 1-2min and whip using spatula. Repeat freezing and mixing until mixture resembles buttercream. You may use an electric mixer to whip the melted chocolate mix while placing the bowl in an ice bath.

6. Add the tea flavouring mix one tbs at a time into the whipped chocolate mix and fold in until combined after each addition.

7. Add the tea leaves into the ganache in a few additions, folding in well after each addition. You may add less leaves if you prefer less strong flavour.

8. Transfer into piping bag.

Stiff water-based white chocolate ganache
80g white chocolate
20g vegetable shortening
1/8tsp salt
1 tsp concentrated Earl grey tea (from previous step)

Steps :
1. Place all ingredients except concentrated tea into microwave safe bowl. Melt on medium low power for 10-20 seconds and stir. Repeat as necessary until melted and smooth. Do not overheat.

2. Add the concentrated tea 1/4 tsp at a time into the melted chocolate. Mix well after each addition. Transfer into piping bag.

Just a tip about assembling the characters onto the paper straws, you may use a little royal icing to glue the stick to the bottom shell and let it set before adding the filling. This is to ensure that the character won't slide down the pole due to its weight as the filling may not be firm enough to support its weight.

With love,
Phay Shing