Saturday, 12 September 2020

Hello Kitty and Donutella in Hot-Air Balloon Macarons

Sometimes you don't know something can be done until you try it. This is one of those experimental bakes that turned out really well and I thank God for it ๐Ÿ˜Š. Presenting my version of Hello Kitty with Donutella on a hot-air balloon trip over the rainbow, all made using macarons! 

Ok the marshmellow clouds and the balloon ropes aren't made of macarons ๐Ÿ˜‚. 

Two things I experimented with using macaron batter 1) as a glue for macaron structures, and 2) creating a pastel striped pattern on hemispherical macaron shells. As I needed fairly good meringue stability over many hours, I used the swiss meringue method

Just to share some pictures and tips about the process... 


Piping the panels of the hot-air balloon basket and characters. You can see I had trouble with piping Donutella's ears ๐Ÿคฃ

I decorated the characters with black edible marker and royal icing

The panels of the basket were glued together using the same dark pink macaron batter (left in piping bag for many hours). I dried the assembled baskets at 65°C in the oven for 20 min until dry to touch, and then ramped up the temperature to 110 °C to bake for another 15-20min. This drying/baking temperature and time profile is to create a membrane on the piped batter surface as soon as possible, as well as to set the structure by baking without it developing feet. 

Ta-dah! I was so happy it worked! Are the macaron shells super hard due to extended baking? Not at all! I did a taste test. 


I bit into the trial basket and was pleasantly surprised the texture wasn't compromised at all. This is probably due to the low temperature used to bake the joints. The macaron shells are nicely full too! 

I wasn't confident the striped hemispheres would turn out pretty because of the pastel colours involved. Hemispheres generally need to be baked at a higher temperature for a longer time, especially since I used the largest silicone mould I have at home (diameter about 6cm). I added white powder food colouring and eyeballed the oven thermometer throughout baking to prevent browning from happening. Piping the stripes on a curved surface was challenging too. I had to scrape off some of the excess batter that flowed off too much and pooled at the base of the hemisphere. 

Piped batter on hemispherical silicone mould. 


Freshly baked shells! 

I filled the macaron shells with whipped raspberry strawberry white chocolate ganache. I piped a thin wall of melted white chocolate with a little vegetable shortening to provide some stability and firmness to the structure. 

Recipe for mixed berry ganache
Ingredients:
90g white chocolate couverture (I used Callebaut) 
25g unsalted butter
1/8 tsp salt
40g homemade mixed berry compote*
1 tsp freeze-dried raspberry powder
1 tsp freeze-dried strawberry powder

* I pureed equal amounts by weight of raspberry (pips sieved out) and strawberry, and added 10% by weight of sugar, a pinch of salt and a tsp of lemon juice. Cooked and reduced over low heat until about 60% of original total weight of ingredients. If you find this too troublesome, you may replace with whipping cream and double the amount of freeze-dried fruit powder or to taste. The compote can be kept in the fridge for up to a month in a sterilised glass jar. 

Steps: 
1. Place white chocolate, butter and dalt in a heatproof bowl and melt over a freshly boiled pot of water without the bowl touching the hot water. Alternatively, you may use microwave oven to melt chocolate and butter but be careful not to overheat. Chill in fridge for 5-10 min or until scoopable consistency. If the chocolate mix becomes hard, just let it sit at room temperature for a while. 

2. In the mean time, mix the compote and freeze-dried fruit powders together in a small bowl. Set aside. 

3. When the white chocolate mixture is firmed up (but not hard), whip it with a spatula until light and fluffy, like buttercream.

4. Add berry mix unto the whipped white chocolate, 1 tbs at a time, mixing until well combined before adding more. 

5. Transfer into piping bag and fill the macarons. 

Filling the rainbow

I didn't fill the hemispheres with the ganache as it would be too heavy to "float". I packed the extra filling instead for the recipient to fill when she wants to consume. I filled the balloons with marshmellows instead. 

A closer look at the hot-air balloons! 

I always make extra macarons, especially for characters, due to the high chance of breakage when handling it. The recipient plated the extras so nicely I just have to share it ๐Ÿ˜Š. 

The macaron creation at the party! 


Did this creation put a smile on your face as it did to the recipient? 


With love, 

Phay Shing 

7 comments:

  1. Just fantรกstic! Thank you very much for the how to’s .... ๐Ÿ˜˜ ๐Ÿ€๐Ÿ™๐Ÿป๐Ÿ”

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  2. Its really absolutely gorgeous and thank you so much for sharing your how-to’’s. Always super impressed with your technics!!! And I’m still super happy with your books so I can look up some of the technics u used. With great ❤️ ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿป๐Ÿ€

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for your kind words and glad that my books are helpful to you! Happy baking!

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  3. Hi Phay,I love how your macarons are always so white. I remember you once mentioned titanium dioxide, I'm wanting to try it. How much should I add? Each batch I use is 65g each of flour and powder
    Sugar. TIA!

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    Replies
    1. You can try 1/4 tsp (or 1/2 tsp if 1/4 tsp doesnt work) first for the portion you mentioned. There is still a need to have good temperature control.

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    2. Thank you so much. Currently my temp is at 315F, when I go lower than this it still browns and the bottoms are still sticky. I'm hoping the titanium dioxide will help the browning :)

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    3. Try baking at higher temperature for first 10 min and then lowering it to bake longer after that. It works all the time to ensure properly baked shells without browning ๐Ÿ˜Š. Of course a little titanium dioxide wouldn't hurt

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