Saturday, 17 March 2012

Pistachio and chocolate macarons




Hello everyone. I'm back from my travels and slowly getting back to baking and blogging. It was an awesome trip and I had an amazing time! I was quite jet lagged on return and it has taken me quite a while to get back into the swing of things which is why things have been quiet on my blog and twitter.  I will post a few pictures from my travels when I get my photos organised but for now it's back to baking!

As it's St Patrick's Day I wanted to make something green and decided to tackle my baking nemesis... macarons. I've never made them before but I did attend a class recently with my AlphaBakes co-host Caroline which you can read about here.  I've always had a fear of making them having read many horror stories and I'm afraid this is not a success story :( 

I used the recipe that we were given in the class (which produced great results).  Basically you need egg whites, sugar and pistachios.  I used fresh eggs as I didn't have time to age the egg whites but added a pinch of cream of tartar and salt to the eggs.  The macaronage looked good and I had high hopes before they went in the oven. I let them sit for 30 minutes and they actually formed a skin. After baking, they looked slightly brown but some of them had "feet" and I thought success!! Then I tried to peel them off the silicone mat and they literally fell to pieces :( I'm not sure if I was meant to grease the mat first and I notice that Caroline had similar problems with her mat. The ones I piped freehand onto a baking sheet turned out ok - they're nowhere near perfect but they are passable.  I suspect my macarons were undercooked but they were getting quite brown or perhaps my oven temperature was wrong. They are quite fiddly little things!

So I decided to try them again but made them greener this time. However, I initially put grape violet colour instead of green as I saw the "G" and assumed it was green!! You can see a few purple streaks but I'm sure you would not have noticed if I didn't tell you.  I also decided to use the other side of the macaron mat to make mini macarons. This time, I could peel them off the mat easily but they didn't have feet on them! 

The plus point was that they tasted really good as you can really taste the pistachio in the macaron shells and it paired well with chocolate. I will definitely attempt these again (probably not for a while) so watch this space! Hope my baking mojo returns :) 

I am entering these to AlphaBakes as the letter for this month is "M" 


and also to We Should Cocoa hosted by Chocolate Teapot as the theme this month is green


 silicone mat 

 egg whites 

 pistachios blitzed with icing sugar - you can't really see the green but it was definitely a light green. 

 slightly overzealous piping! 

 "freestyle" as I ran out of space on the mat 
 result from round 1 (these were from the shells I piped on the baking sheet

 i'm pretty sure those are little feet! 

 
broken shells from my first attempt and some from the second attempt 
 round 2 - greener!


  reverse side of the mat 
 mini macs ready to be filled

 final result 

I made a chocolate ganache for the filling - heat 4 tablespoons of cream and add 100g chopped chocolate and 25g butter and stir until mixed and smooth. Sorry forgot to take a picture of the ganache! 

34 comments:

  1. oh dear, I've promised Jill Colonna of Mad about Macarons that I will have a go at these after missing her demo in Glasgow. You are not filling me with confidence. On the up side, at least they were edible and, you know, they don't look half bad!

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    1. Thanks Janice! They did taste good and everyone was suitably impressed. Don't let me put you off, I'm sure yours will be perfect :)

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  2. Well done for giving them a go. They are so hard and I think they take a Lott of practice. I've only made them a handful of times but have had mixed results. Glad to see you back and blogging after your fab trip. Look forward to hearing more about it.

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    1. They really are tricky but I will try again. Cant wait to show you all the goodies I bought and the yummy cakes I had.

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  3. My attempts have been equally as bad cant wait to see travel pics!

    Nom! X

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    1. I find that hard to believe! Will hopefully post some pictures soon x

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  4. Think we all have horror macaron stories - they're so damn hard to get right! I still think they look nice though.

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    1. They have been my worst (baking) fear. Ah well, cant win them all! At least I can make cakes and cookies :)

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  5. Welcome back! I'm glad to hear you had a fab time!

    Great effort on the macaroons too...they're so tricky but yours look really tasty!

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    1. Thanks, trip was fabulous! They really are very tricky indeed. glad I gave them a go though.

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  6. Welcome back BA :) I never tried making macarons... to be honest, I'm not sure I want to... I read so many stories of them failing miserable, shells cracking, ambient humidity spoiling everything... ouch :( It must be rewarding though - the ones you made looks really, really nice!

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    1. Thanks Charles. Don't let my efforts put you off! I'm glad I gave them a go and will be trying again (the perfectionist in me is crying) but maybe after I've licked my (baking) wounds!

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  7. I've been here many times, my macarons have all too often refused to come away from the paper although I find letting them cool completely on the paper leads to a better success rate. I'm not sure what ratio of pistachio to almond you used but 50/50 is best - if you try making macarons with nuts oilier than almond they don't work so well. Keeping half of them almond helps absorb excess oil from other types of nut. Keep at it though! They always taste nice even if you have problems with them!

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    1. I let the second batch cool for hours and they were easier to peel. This recipe used only pistachios, no almonds. Maybe thats where I went wrong? Thanks for the handy tip. I will have to try again with an almond recipe.

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  8. Pistachio Macs are proving very popular this month lol. They can be tricky little beggers but I personally love the flavour combo you have gone for ;0)

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    1. definitely tricky little buggers! luckily they tasted good :)

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  9. Great minds think alike!! I too had problems with a few of mine sticking- I've been recommended to only remove them from the sheet when they are completely, completely cold. I'll be trying that next time (I'm determined to get them right!). Delicious flavour combination- yummmm, glad they tasted great!

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    1. I removed the second batch after they were cooled for hours and they did come off easier but there were still some broken ones :( I am also determined to get them right and will have to try again and again!

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  10. They look like they turned out pretty well - aside from the broken ones anyway! Wonder why we both had problems with the macaron mat? It was meant to make life easier! I will have to try again...

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    1. Thanks Caroline. I think it was because they were slightly undercooked and not cool enough the first time. I will also have to try again and again!

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  11. Welcome back! What a brave bake to come back on! I still haven't tried making macarons, they scare me too much. I'd crumble under the pressure.

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    1. Thanks! I'm still scared of them but will try again in the far, far future!

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  12. These macaroons look lovely! The green from the pistachios really comes through. hard work but so worth the effort! X

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    1. Thanks they don't look as I want them to but they tasted good. Definitely took a lot of effort!

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  13. Congrats on making macarons - who cares how them came out! I love the shot of the ones that crumbled - that's going to be what mine look like when I attempt these ;) Great job & love the post...

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    1. Thanks! At least I had a few reasonable ones to show. I'm sure yours would turn out beautifully!

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  14. Looks like you are making some really good progress here with your baking.
    I want to give macarons a go, they are just so tricky and my skills are not those of a master baker unfortunately.

    The flavour combinations of these look bloody brilliant.

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    1. Thannks for your kind words. I find macarons very tricky and would avoid making them if possible! I did try them again with more success. Pistachio and chocolate work really well together. Do give these a go - they tasted far better than they look :)

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