Macarons…some various seasonal flavors

Going way back to sometime in the early Spring when I had first done macarons (click here) you can find my general recipe and it takes you through the process from food processing and sifting ingredients to folding in and eventually pouring the batter and cooking in the oven.

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This post is more into the aspect of filling flavors and being how we are almost, sort of in between seasons, I figured I could go in either direction (though more fall flavors will come deeper into the fall).

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In some cases, I made a white chocolate gnache with simply using a Ghiradelli White Chocolate bar and some heavy cream in a sauce pan and constant stirring (followed by cooling in the refrigerator. In these cases I placed a thin layer on both sides of the macaron and then either places in between some fresh raspberry that I had cut into smaller pieces or a whole blueberry. Optionally, some of the raspberry ones are topped with flaked coconut.

Another fruit based cream filling I had done involved fresh cantaloupe, mascarpone cheese, heavy cream, and some basil. These were all heated and blended together to make a nice thick cream. Some of the shells for these were topped with crushed mint leaves.

A fall seasonal flavor I tried was utilizing apples and fresh ginger. These ingredients were chopped finely and mixed together in a light homemade caramel until soft enough to become a more homogenous caramel cream.

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Finally I ended with filling some with the traditional chocolate gnache (utilization of bittersweet and semi-sweet chocolates by Ghiradelli). In all, a nice variety of flavor combinations, was pleased with flavors as well as the way the shells cooked and came out. They developed nice feet and there were no issues with air pockets of any sort.

Later to come in the fall, when I do find some fresh pumpkin, going to be experimenting with that. Also looking into other apple combinations as well as doing something with poached pears.

Stay tuned.

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Tartufo…Now I understand why it’s an expensive dessert at restaurants

Since I had leftover stir-fry from yesterday, I was able to focus today’s project on dessert. I’m not sure how I came to the conclusion of trying this, but I had this odd craving for tartufo. I’ve had it a few different ways at different restaurants and figured how bad can this really be to do. Well, it was interesting to say the least and now I understand why A) not a lot of restaurants carry this and B) why the one’s that do charge what they do.

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In this particular instance I went with two types of ice cream- vanilla and pistachio. The idea seems simple enough, make semi-circular domes of one type, make an indentation in it, put in the filling (in my case I crushed up maraschino cherries) and then take the other ice cream type and fill out the rest of the dome. I used a nice sized ice cream scoop to make the domes, however the ice cream goes from fairly hard to quite soft in no time at all and when it gets too soft it sticks inside the scoop (I used a small teaspoon at times to pull the dome out of the scoop).

After this initial step, the domes are put on a cookie sheet that is greased up and placed in the freezer for two hours to harden up.

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Now for the chocolate dome part, it was fairly simple. I melted down two types of chocolate, one a bitter and one a sweet so it isn’t just a dark chocolate and has a little sweetness to it. I added a small titch of coconut oil to this and then separately I had boiled some heavy cream which then got added to and mixed with the chocolate. For some flavoring, some vanilla extract was used as well. This gets mixed until smooth and then is removed from the heat. This then sits on the counter for around a half hour to cool down (have to watch it because if it gets too cold and hardens then you can’t coat the domes).¬†Once the domes are coated thickly (do quickly and near the freezer so they do not melt), they are then placed back in the freezer for another 2+ hours.

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Near the end of the last hardening step, I then proceeded to make the berry sauce which was just mixed berries, a little bit of the chocolate to help thicken it and a little bit of blackberry port that I had. This was mixed under low heat then removed to cool a little and thicken. I then also put some fresh cream on the side with some crushed almond on it.

In all, a long process to create, tastes absolutely amazing, and now I have a better understanding of restaurant desserts when it comes to choices and pricing.

Enjoy.