Strawberry-rhubarb macarons with gold dust sprinkling on black matte Eva platter.
My mother is turning 75 in May and we’re meeting in London for a mother-daughter celebration with theatre, tea, museum trips and other entertainment and bonding. It turns out that this weekend is also Mother’s Day, at least in America, so we can doubly celebrate. My mother and I have tickets to see the David Hockney show at the Tate, since Hockney is my favorite artist, I’ve been looking forward to this for months. In preparation, I made some macarons to bring in a small box. My mother adores macarons and they are the one patisserie I am making in infinite variations and getting better and better at making. I’ve decided that pink macarons are the prettiest, especially when I serve them on my black Eva platter, but I dressed these ones up a little for the occasion by brushing on an edible gold powder…sublime. The pleasure in baking my own macarons is that I make flavors that you could never buy, and that in itself is very satisfying.
Rhubarb macarons with gold dust served on a black matte Eva platter with Eva teacups.
Since I had three egg whites, I made a larger batch of cookie shells than usual, then after I finished the rhubarb buttercream, I made a second buttercream with strawberry and rhubarb. This combo is also delicious, though I think the all-rhubarb macarons are prettier. In any case, the recipe below gives both buttercream options.
Strawberry-rhubarb macarons on posy plate from the Big Arrow – Maia Ming collection.
Rhubarb Macaron recipe:
1 1/2 cups almond flour (150 gr.)
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar (150 gr.)
3 egg whites, aged at room temperature (75 grams)
1/3 cup sugar (90 grams)
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
3-4 drops red food coloring
food-safe gold powder to brush on top of macarons
1/2 cup chopped rhubarb
2 tablespoons sugar
40 grams butter
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1. Sift the almond flour and confectioners sugar through a fine-mesh sieve. Re-grind any grains that are too coarse to fit through the sieve, otherwise the macaron shells won’t be smooth.
2. Blend egg whites at a low speed for 1 minute, then add cream of tartar and the regular sugar and blend another minute at low speed. Add the food coloring and blend 2 more minutes at high speed until egg whites are beaten into stiff, glossy peaks. The color density will depend on the strength and amount of your food coloring, but the color does lighten somewhat in baking. Setting a timer is useful while beating the egg whites, if the batter is over-whipped, the macarons get air bubbles and hollow out underneath the shells, but you don’t want to under-whip the batter either.
3. Add half of the sifted dry ingredients. Fold with a spatula from bottom of bowl upward, then press the flat side of the spatula firmly through middle of mixture and rotate the bowl slightly. This process is called “macaronage” and reduces air bubbles in the batter. Add the second half of the dry ingredients and continue the macaronage until batter is glossy and flows like lava. Getting this right is part luck and part practice, there are countless videos online for how to achieve a proper macaronage!
4. Rest a pastry bag inside a vertical cylinder to transfer the batter into the bag, then close the
top. Cut a small hole in the bottom tip of the pastry bag. The batter should be fairly stiff, but you don’t want it to come out too quickly, I cut my hole to less than 1 cm in diameter.
5. Either onto a parchment sheet or a macaron mat, pipe batter into 1 inch round cookies. I do this onto a macaron mat which helps to make the cookies perfectly round and the same size. I also find the raised rims help contain the batter from spreading out on the sheets. Some people use a template with circles underneath the parchment paper instead, but I love my macaron mats.
6. Drop the baking sheets firmly onto the counter 2 or 3 times to release air bubbles. Drop them pretty hard, the objective is to knock out any remaining air bubbles. Let the macaron sheets sit for 30-40 minutes to dry so that they create a slight crust on the surface.
7. Preheat oven to 160ºC.
8. Place the macarons in the middle of the oven. Bake macarons for 8 minutes and then take the tray out and face the front to the back. Bake for an additional 8 minutes, this way both ends of the tray get evenly baked. Only bake 1 sheet of macarons at a time. If your macarons are very large, bake a few minutes extra. I think every oven is a little different, but this is the sweet spot in mine.
9. Rhubarb buttercream:
Over a low heat cook the rhubarb with a tiny bit of water and the sugar, as it cooks blend the rhubarb and let the liquid evaporate so that you are left with a sticky paste which you let cool. Once the rhubarb is cooled, blend it with the butter and confectioners’ sugar until smooth and creamy.
10. Strawberry-Rhubarb buttercream. Make exactly the same way only use a blend of rhubarb and strawberries and no regular sugar, only confectioners’ sugar. Alternatively, blend some freeze-dried strawberries into a powder and add this to your rhubarb buttercream.
11. Once the macarons are completely cooled, remove them from the sheets and use a butter knife or spatula to spread the buttercream on half of the cookie shell bottoms, then sandwich the macaron with another shell on top. Repeat procedure with the remaining shells.
12. With a clean food brush, lightly brush some gold powder onto the cookie shells.
13. Store the macarons in a closed storage tin in the refrigerator or freezer. Sometimes I save the shells in the refrigerator and add the buttercream before serving, it depends how liquid the filling is because the moisture softens the macaron cookies.
Serve your macarons with tea on a beautiful plate!
#lifestyleceramics #beautytexturewhimsy #simplepleasures #maiamingdesigns