Sunday, April 8, 2012

Moroccan Meringue - Pistachio & Orange Blossom Honey Macaron

There were several requests for the recipe to my last Wordless Wednesday post.  So, even though I did not document the process step by step, like I did when I made the Maple Nut Macaron, I figured I should go ahead and share it with everyone.

It is basically the same as the Walnut Macaron.  I simply substituted Pistachio "Flour" grated from some Dry Roasted Unsalted Pistachios that I found at Trader Joe's (I know...  I do a lot of free advertizing for them.  LOL)  I am sure you noticed that they are not nearly as "green" as "professional" Pistachio flavored Macaron usually are.  I have issues with synthetically dying my food, so I let the natural chartreuse-ness of the Pistachios speak for themselves.

The biggest difference for these was the Orange Blossom Honey Italian Butter-creme.   Honey is pretty potent stuff, being almost twice as sweet as table sugar, so I had to make some adjustments in my sugar syrup content.  Unlike the Maple Syrup, I could not just replace the sugar with honey.  The flavor would be a little too intense.  As a result, I had to combine the two, with a little Orange Blossom Water and some OJ.

So here goes......

Pistachio Macaron with Orange Blossom Honey Butter Creme

Pistachio Macaron

4.1 oz (115g) Pistachio Flour
8 oz (230g) Confectioners' Sugar 
5 oz (144g) Egg Whites
2.5 oz (72g) Caster Sugar
1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
1 tsp Vanilla Extract

Preheat the oven to 300° and have an 18” pastry bag, fitted with a plain tip ready.

Grab 2 half-sheet pans and lay down your template.

Lay down parchment sheets over the templates.

Pistachio Flour...

Place Pistachios into your Rotary Cheese Grater and apply some elbow grease, shaving them down into fairly fine "flour"

Combine this "flour" with the confectioners' sugar and pour the mixture into a sieve and sift it, reserving whatever bits don’t pass through.

If you still have left over chunky bits, measure it out.  If it's less than 2 TB go ahead and just add it the the Sugar/Walnut mixture.  If it's more than 2 TB, you need to grate a little more Pistachio flour and add it to the mix.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the Egg Whites, Caster Sugar and Kosher Salt.

Fit the mixer with the whisk attachment and turn the mixer to medium (4 on a KA) and whip for 3 minutes (this gives you soft peaks)

Increase the speed to medium-high (7 on a KA) and whip another 3 minutes. (this gives you stiff peaks or bird beak or "bec d’oiseau" to use the French term)

Crank it up to high (8 on a KA)  and whisk for another 3 minutes.
Stop your mixer and add any extracts, flavorings or colorings.

Whisk on high speed for an additional minute to ensure they are well incorporated - streaky coloring will make your shells crack. You should have a very stiff, dry meringue; when you remove the whisk attachment, there will be a big clump of meringue in the center.

(If the meringue is not clumping in the center of the whisk, and is still forming a "beak" at the end, continue beating for another minute, or until it does so).
Now add the Pistachio/Confectioners' all at once.

Fold them in with a rubber spatula. (you are going to have to kind of press as well to incorporate the dry ingredients)

The whole point is to "deflate" the Meringue it takes about 40-45 strokes.  After 30 strokes, you need to start paying close attention... stroke by stroke.  You are looking for a "Lava" consistency. To check for this, drop a mound of batter and count how long it takes to sink back into the mass.

It should take 20 seconds, no more and definitely no less, or you have over-folded the batter and when you go to pipe them out, your "Lava" will be more of a "Pyroclastic" flow; which is BAD.

Transfer about half the batter to a piping bag. (Don't over fill the bag, or it will rush out of the tip)
Pipe the batter onto the parchment, following the template underneath.  Remember to stop just shy of the border, because the batter will spread a little, especially after the next step.

Grasp the sheet pan, and smack it hard against your counter. Rotate the pan ninety degrees and smack it on the counter another couple times.(This causes the air bubbles to rise to the surface, so they don't crack your macarons during baking)

One thing I still could not get past, was letting them set on the counter to form a "skin", but I only let them set for 15 minutes and then slipped the template out from underneath the parchment paper.
Bake for about 18 -23 minutes, or until you can peel the parchment paper away from a macaron. (if it splits just above the foot, it's not done)
If you are watching closely, at about the 8 minute mark, the macaron will begin standing up on their feet.
Remove them from the oven and allow to cool, completely, on the baking sheet.

Once they are completely cool, go ahead and peel them from the parchment.  Use a metal spatula if necessary.

Orange Blossom Italian Meringue Butter-creme

1/4 cup Orange Blossom Honey
1/3 cup Granulated Sugar
1/4 cup Water
1 TB Orange Blossom Water
optional - 1 TB Orange Juice
60g (2 large) Egg Whites, at room temperature
1/4 tsp Cream of Tartar
a pinch of Kosher Salt
2 TB Caster Sugar
1 cup (8 oz) (226 g) unsalted Butter, cut into tablespoon pieces

Place Orange Blossom Honey, Sugar, Water and Orange Blossom Water (and OJ, if using) in a medium sauce pan and place over medium flame. (it foams up, so use a larger pan than you think you need)

When it begins to boil, insert your candy thermometer, and cook to 236-240 F degrees.

While the syrup is boiling, begin beating your Egg Whites with Kosher Salt in the bowl of an electric mixer at medium speed until foamy.

Sprinkle in the Cream of Tarter and continue whipping until soft peaks form.
Sprinkle the Caster Sugar over the egg whites and continue whipping until stiff peaks form (Bird beaked).
Reduce the speed of the mixer to low, and keep them moving until the syrup is done.  When the syrup 236°F, remove the pan from the heat, remove the thermometer from the pan, and crank up to speed on the mixer.
Slowly pour the hot, foamy syrup in a slow stream down side of bowl into egg whites, beating constantly at high speed. (Be careful not to hit the whisk or you may have shards in your finished butter creme)

Continue beating the meringue, scraping down side of bowl occasionally with a rubber spatula, until the bowl is cool to the touch, about 7 minutes. (and yes, if this all sounds familiar, you have just made Maple 7 Minute frosting)

Change out the whisk and replace it with the paddle attachment. Turn the mixer to medium speed and begin adding unsalted Butter, 1 TB at a time. (make sure it is incorporated before adding the next chunk)
Towards the end, it will look like the butter creme is breaking and becoming sloppy, just keep beating it and it will come together.
When the paddle begins making a "slapping" sound, that means your Butter-creme is done.
Spoon the butter-creme into a pastry bag fitted with a round tip.

Match your Macaron by size and shape, as there will be some variations, even with a template.
Pipe a quarter sized dollop of Maple Butter-Creme on one half.
Place it's matching Macaron half over the Butter-Creme and press gently.


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