Thursday, October 15, 2015

Pomegranate Raspberry Macarons

A bottle of Pomegranate Raspberry preserves from St. Dalfour, the company that makes my favorite Black Currant preserves, is what inspired me to create these colorful and flavorful macarons.

I noticed the preserves at my neighborhood grocery store and couldn't resist buying them. What I love best about preserves from St. Dalfour is that they are not too sweet. There's no cane sugar used in making them and instead the preserves are sweetened with fruit juice concentrate.

To make the buttercream filling, all I did was whip the preserves into unsalted butter and add a pinch of sea salt. It really couldn't be any easier and the tartness of the pomegranate really comes through and helps contrast the sweetness of the almond shells.

For interest, I painted the inside of my pastry bags with stripes of red gel coloring for a marbling effect. I like this technique a lot but it also kind of stresses me because I'm not in complete control over how the design will turn out. There's no way to know what's going to come out of the pastry bag until you start piping. The color of these luckily turned out to be a pleasant surprise.

Here's how I made them:
Pomegranate Raspberry 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
Red gel 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.

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.

Using a small brush, paint some stripes of red gel coloring on the inside of the piping bags. Get the color all the way down to the tip but don't go crazy and use too much or you will have a mess. A little goes a long way.

Transfer the mixture into the two piping bags. Use rubber bands to close the piping bags.
One of my filled piping bags, now I just have to clip the tip and start piping macarons.
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.

The macarons resting before baking.
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.  Bake one sheet at a time in the center of the oven for about 10 to 12 minutes or until the cookie is firm, matte and doesn't wobble when touched.
The macarons after baking.
Leave on the baking tray until cool then lift them all off the parchment carefully. You may need to use a thin knife or spatula to help lift them off.

Sort into pairs and fill with Pomegranate Raspberry Buttercream.

Sorted macarons ready to be filled.
Pomegranate Raspberry Buttercream
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup Pomegranate Raspberry preserves (I used St. Dalfour brand)
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
Red gel coloring (optional)

Whip the butter until it is light and smooth. Add the preserves and sea salt.

Whip this together until the filling is light and creamy. When you first start whipping the ingredients together, it will look like a curdled mess, but don't panic. The filling will eventually come together and be beautiful. Just whip it and whip it good! Tint the buttercream with red gel coloring if desired.

Filling the macarons.

I'm really pleased with how these turned out but am already planning my next macaron creation. There just are so many flavor/color combinations that I want to try. Stay tuned.....

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