As I've worked on perfecting the French macaron, I've discovered that reducing the sweetness of my fillings better compliments the macaron shells.
My original strawberry macaron recipe calls for reduced-sugar strawberry preserves but after experimenting, I've found I should reduce the sugar even more. The solution is to make my own strawberry preserves using fresh berries.
It really doesn't take much time. Just simmer two cups of diced berries in a saucepan with 1/4 cup of sugar. Let it cool and it's ready to be whipped into cream cheese for a light and fresh tasting filling.
I'm making these for my niece Nathalie's high school graduation picnic this weekend. I hope she likes them.
Fresh Strawberry Macarons
180g ground almonds, sifted
270g powdered sugar, sifted
150g egg whites, aged 2 to 4 days in the fridge and then brought to room temperature
100g granulated sugar
Pink food coloring
Line four heavy baking sheets with good quality parchment paper and set aside. Also, set aside two pastry bags for the piping of the macarons.
Sift together your ground almonds with the powdered sugar and set aside.
Whisk the egg whites (at room temperature) to glossy firm peaks adding the granulated sugar gradually in four parts. Add the coloring.
Incorporate the dry ingredients into the beaten egg whites using a large rubber scraper. Mix well.
Fold the mixture with the rubber scraper by pulling down the sides and flipping the mixture over. Do this until you have a smooth mixture that falls like a “ribbon” off the scraper.
Transfer the mixture into the two piping bags. Use rubber bands to close the piping bags. Clip the tip of the bags, one at a time, and pipe small quarter sized rounds, leaving 1-inch of space between each because they spread as they set.
Leave to set for about 30 minutes or until the top has formed a crust and is not sticky to the touch.
While they are setting, preheat the oven to 325 degrees. A convection oven is preferable.
|Macarons waiting to be baked. After baking, the color of the macarons will become lighter so be sure to use enough coloring.|
Bake one sheet at a time in the center of the oven for about 12 minutes or until the cookie is firm, matte and doesn't wobble when touched.
Leave on the baking tray until cool then lift them all off the parchment carefully. You may need to use a thin knife to help lift them off.
Sort into pairs and fill with Fresh Strawberry Filling.
|Macarons after baking. Notice the lighter color.|
Fresh Strawberry Filling
2 cups diced strawberries
1/4 cup sugar
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
|Diced fresh strawberries.|
|Strawberries after being simmered the a bit of sugar. Yum!|
In a saucepan, combine strawberries and sugar. Cook over medium high heat until it comes to a boil. Reduce the temperature and simmer for 5 to 7 minutes or until the mixture is thick and the strawberries begin to fall apart. Use a fork to break up the strawberries even more.
Transfer to another bowl and let cool completely. You can refrigerate the berries to speed up the process.
In stand mixer, whip the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Add the strawberries and vanilla and whip again until fully incorporated. You may need to chill the filling to firm it up before piping between the macarons.
Use a piping bag to fill the macarons.