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Posts Tagged ‘macaron

my version of the torte

The August 2009 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Angela of A Spoonful of Sugar and Lorraine of Not Quite Nigella. They chose the spectacular Dobos Torte based on a recipe from Rick Rodgers’ cookbook Kaffeehaus : Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Caffés of Vienna, Budapest, and Prague.

I apologise for the late post. This is my first DB Challenge and being late as well as well as not exactly happy about having a cake (due to my inept baking skills) to boot was not exactly the kind of start I want to be a DB’er.  Anyway, the reason for the late post was due to me down with what I initially thought was a bad case of cold and headache was actually a sinus infection. After a visit to the doctor, I developed a reaction to the prescribed antibiotics. I woke up in the middle of the night having chest pains. It was so painful I thought I was having a heart attack. So I had to go to the docs again to ease the reaction and being prescribed new drugs. This has been 6 days ago, and today I finally felt better for the first time in close to 2 weeks since the symptoms started.

In between the sinus ordeal, bad weather, organising everything in preparation to welcome my new baby girl this coming Sunday, (don’t be alarmed, I am not giving birth, just getting my piggy girl a much needed companion) .

I will be adopting from the Melbourne charter of the Australian Cavy Sanctuary, a small privately run shelter that is supported by volunteers and fellow guinea pigs lovers. I wanted to take the time out to mention that, animals of any kind deserves our respect and care as with any other human beings. G-Force, the movie about guinea pigs doing all sorts of things may boost guinea pigs sale throughout the world, but I just want to say that, guinea pigs overbreeding is a major problem throughout the US, UK and even here in Australia. At any given time right now, each of these private shelters that is ran out of their love for guinea pigs are looking after more than 100s of pigs at a time. So, if you are interested in getting a guinea pig after watching the movie, PLEASE, do your read up properly before getting one. It is not the same as getting a toy that you can just discard afterwards. Should you really want to get a piggy even after you have done the proper read up to understand the great responsibilities of caring for them, please adopt rather than buy. Buying only fuel more backyard breeders who breed and keep them in inhumane conditions. ACS has a really great support network, so when you adopt, you are not only just helping minimising the overbreeding and the vicious backyard breeder cycle, you are also joining a network of massive support at any given time should you and your piggy need it. We are a family.

Back to the torte.

My torte may not looked like the original Hungarian torte, but rest assured that it does taste the alright albeit less sickly because I did not use the actual buttercream recipe, but instead a buttercream that is although similar is based on the french pate a bombe. This happened because of two reasons; I was not keen to use so much butter and I had too much egg yolks left over from baking so much macarons.

I also skipped the caramel layer as from all the feedbacks from the forum, most of the girls were having problems with the top caramel layer and was not really impressed by it. So I made a burnt toffee caramel flavoured with some intense espresso to get that slight bitterness and made a “ganache” with it. This is then used as a filling in the macaron. Technically, that is my caramel layer.

Again, a play on salt. Salted crushed peanuts to give the extreme sweetness of this cake a much needed reprieve and also after the sweetness of the cake, my tasters were taken aback by the bitterness of the macarons on first bite. That said, the macarons with the bitter filling was a bigger hit than the cake.

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macaron4
There had been so many bloggers raving about macarons and so many bloggers making them so well. I am just posting because this is the first time I am making macaron with the current oven in the house, and its sort of a get to know you session. Above is the first ever batch i made, notice there was 2 with bumps. Ah well, did not stopped it from being delicious.

As the bender continues, Its scary is it not, this macaron thing. Once you start, you cannot stop. You just keep making them. It is like childbirth, a painful process (my arms are sore from sifting so much almond meal) but you keep doing it because the results are so worth it.

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first ever batch from this oven.

macaron2

second batch

BTW, it is painful to bake macarons with a small oven and with only 2 trays and 1 silicon mat. Like my lime green silicon mat? Funky isn’t it? 😀 Making them yourself is so much worth it, not only you get to learn to be patience and these temperamental babes really test your knowledge of baking and understanding of your individual ingredients, but it is also cheaper. In Melbourne right now, cheapest I have found is 1.95 aud at Cacao. Lindt new cafe that is at Collins St sells their Delice Macarons for 2.00 aud a pop and it is really not that great, still they are being sold out. When I went to the ChocolateRush festival last weekend, only the Cacao’s stand was selling macarons and they sold out, beating all those fancy cupcakes stands. The macaron craze has officially arrived in Melbourne, no thanks to that stank of a show, Masterchef Australia. (Let’s not even go there, I am a big fan of Masterchef UK, but Masterchef Australia, 1/3 into the season, for me, you just sank)

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the second batch fresh out of the oven

I was able to finally gauge my oven’s temperature after baking 4 batches. 160C for 5 minutes then followed by 100C for 30 minutes with the oven door ajar. When I was an apprentice, we used to make them in those big industrial pastry ovens, and what I remembered was my seniors they would use double tray (no need for me) and also baked it really low after the initial crust setting. When it is macaron baking time, the ovens will be occupied for at least 3 hrs. So, remembering them, I bring down my temperature and it worked beautifully, no sticking to the silicon mat and with a nice crisp shell and chewy center, just how I like it.

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I am pretty relieved. I have not baked them for ages (like years) and macarons is still one of those things that strike fear into my heart whenever I think about baking them (especially with unknown oven). Now, I have to say, layered cakes and artisan bread is still my crux. 😀

So, you may ask, what flavours did I make? The pictures above are whats left of the macarons after a 2 days carnage.  Two flavours were wiped out and these are what’s left and I am continuing to make more.

The flavours:

  • Crunchy peanut butter (finished)
  • Burnt coffee-toffee (finished)
  • Nutella with Dark chocolate (barely surviving)
  • Thyme scented lemon curd
  • Orange with orange marmalade
  • Oolong with Chai.

I am still on a bender, what I have up next, is thinking of making some adult macarons with a Shagger buttercream (Shagger- a cocktail made from Jagermeister, orangejuice & milk) and vodka lime buttercream. That is on my list. Also, to do some chocolate macarons a la Pierre Herme. Oh~ also Basil & blueberries. Ah, the possibilities are endless and only can be stopped by your lack of imagination.

Are you addicted? Because I am. They are so loveable.

p/s: i am not the most diligent of blog keeper and should any of the posts recipes interest you, please feel free to drop me a message and I will post up the recipe. ^_^


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