Coffee Mascarpone Macarons
It’s been a while since I last posted anything, and probably will not post anything else for a little while. It might be summertime that’s not pulling me into the kitchen to bake. Perhaps it’s the fact that I just moved into a new apartment, with a new kitchen, that probably threw me off my element. In order to get back to business I decided to tackle something familiar and close to my heart, macarons.
While I was working on my chocolate cake post, I discovered how delicious it was to combine coffee in mascaparone chantilly. I decided at the time that I had to try it in macarons one day. So why not now, when I’m looking for the familiar in an unfamiliar environment.
I think it’s the perfect combination. It got a soft and smooth texture with a delicate taste of cocoa and coffee. But to get this beautiful texture you have to let the macarons sit outside the fridge for half an hour before eating them. (I have to keep repeating that for the friends who don’t listen and still eat them straight out of the fridge!)
180 g almond flour
20 g cocoa powder
200 g powdered sugar
75 g egg whites (for the meringue)
75 g egg whites (for the macaronage)
200 g sugar
75 g water
Mascarpone & coffee chantilly
250 g heavy cream
2 g (1.5 tsp) instant coffee in granules
250 g mascarpone cheese
60 g powdered sugar
A bit of cocoa powder
Aging egg whites: The day before, separate the whites from the yolks (easier when the eggs are cold), set aside the whites in a bowl and cover it with plastic wrap. Take a toothpick and punch a few holes in the plastic wrap, then put the bowl in the fridge.
In this process, some of the liquid from the egg whites evaporate, which makes for a nicer and smoother macaron shell. I recommend weighing a little more egg whites than the amount in the recipe, because the weight drops slightly after evaporation.
The day you bake the macarons, take out the egg whites bowl and wait for the egg whites to reach room temperature before whisking them.
Cold infusion: Put heavy cream in a bowl. Add coffee granules and mix a little. Cover with plastic wrap and keep in the fridge for a night (about 12 hours). Mix well before use.
Mix almond flour, powdered sugar and cocoa powder in a food processor for a minute or two. Sift the mix in a sieve once, or better, twice. (The macaron shell will come out smoother that way, promise!) If there are any chunks that remain from the sifting, grind and sift them again. Set aside the bowl.
Italian Meringue: Put water and then sugar in a saucepan. Place on medium/high heat. Stir the sugar with a spatula to dissolve it. Once the water starts to boil, stop stirring and remove the spatula. Let the syrup boil and check with a thermometer that the temperature does not exceed 115°C (240°F). While it’s boiling, whisk 75g egg whites in a mixer on medium speed. When the syrup reaches 105°C (220°F), increase the speed of the mixer so the egg whites get to soft peaks (white foam consistency). As soon as the syrup reaches 115°C (240°F), turn off the stove, reduce the mixer speed to medium, and slowly pour the syrup into the mixer. Increase the mixer speed to high and continue to whisk for about 10 minutes, until the meringue cools. Add the other 75g egg whites to the flour mixture and mix well with a spatula.
Macaronage: This is just a mix of the meringue with almond cream. This step is critical. Take a third of the meringue, add to the cream and mix with a spatula to loosen up the density of the cream. Gently fold in the rest of the meringue until you get a shiny, dense texture similar to lava or raw tahini. (Here’s how you know it’s ready: take a spoonful of the batter and throw it back into the bowl in rows. After 10-15 seconds, the rows should sink into the mix but not flatten completely.) Make sure not to fold the batter too much, so it doesn’t get watery, which would make flat shells without the much desired “feet”. But also make sure not to fold too little, because then the macaron batter won’t flatten at all when you pipe, and it could rise and crack while baking. If you’re not sure, you can pipe a few test macarons, wait a minute and see if it stabilizes.
Fit a pastry bag with an 8 mm smooth tip and fill it with the batter. Prepare 3 or 4 baking sheets with straight, unfolded baking paper on top. Pipe a tiny bit of the batter on each corner of the baking sheet and “glue” the baking paper on top. Pipe circles of batter 2.5-3 cm in diameter with a little space between each one. Tap the bottom of the baking sheet. If bubbles remain on the macaron shells, you can pop them gently with a toothpick.
Sprinkle cocoa powder on the macaron shells using a fine sieve. Leave the tray out in the kitchen for about 30 minutes (depending on the room temperature) until the shells develop a crust and is not sticky when you touch it with your fingertip. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 150°C (300°F).
Put the tray in the preheated oven and bake for 14 minutes. For uniform baking, flip the tray after about 7-8 minutes. Baking time depends on your oven. Bake a couple test macaron shells before you bake the rest of the batter. When you get the tray out of the oven, immediately separate the baking paper with the macaron shells from the tray and place it on a cool surface (this makes it easier to remove the shells from the paper/mat). Wait for the shells to cool before removing.
Mascarpone & coffee chantilly
Put mascarpone cheese in a mixing bowl and whip until the cheese softens slightly. Remove the coffee infused heavy cream from the fridge and mix well. Add the cream to the mascarpone cheese gradually while whipping all along (each time make sure that the mixture is uniform before adding more cream).
Add powdered sugar gradually while whipping at low speed. When done adding sugar, increase the mixer speed to medium and whip until the cream is stable (be careful not to over-whip, otherwise the cream will separate). Fit a pastry bag with an 8 mm smooth tip and fill it with the chantilly. Use immediately.
Putting it all together!
Arrange pairs of equal sized macaron shells. Flip over one shell with the flat side facing up, pipe a little chantilly in the middle, put the second shell on top and gently squeeze so the chantilly spreads between them a bit. Put the macarons in the fridge for 24 hours, so the flavors develop and the cream seeps into the shells and softens them. Remove from fridge half an hour before serving to get the perfect bite.
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