ANZAC BISCUITS

anzac_biscuits_recipe

The Anzac biscuits we know today are not the biscuits eaten by our soldiers on the front lines. Their biscuits were called ‘hartdacks’ these things were so hard that soldiers could write on them and send them home as a note!

Sometimes known as ANZAC tiles or ANZAC wafer biscuits. Soldiers often devised ingenious methods to make them easier to eat. A kind of porridge could be made by grating them and adding water. Or biscuits could be soaked in water and, with jam added, baked over a fire into “jam tarts”.

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Making ANZAC biscuits is one tradition that Australians use to commemorate ANZAC day. Everyone has their favourite recipe and there are countless arguments over whether they should be served crunchy or soft.

Although the sweet ANZAC biscuits are far more enjoyable to eat than their hardtack counterparts it is safe to say that, with the creativity of the First World War soldiers, the ANZAC tile biscuits had far greater uses than just for eating.

ANZAC BISCUITS

Makes 16 Anzac’s
Prep 10 mins
Cook 15 mins

Ingredients

Group1
1 cup Rolled oats
1 cup Plain flour (can add a pinch of baking powder if you prefer your Anzac’s chewy)
1 cup Desiccated coconut
1 cup Brown sugar
Group2

125g butter
Golden syrup  3 tablespoons

Group3
Boiling water 3 tablespoons
Bicarbonate of soda 1 flat teaspoon

Method
1. Preheat oven to 150degrees.

2  line 3 trays trays with baking paper.

3 In a medium bowl, combine oats, flour, coconut and sugar
4. Place group 2 in a bowl and microwave for 45 seconds or until the butter is melted.
5. In a cup, combine water and  baking soda.

6 Stir into group 2 and mix
7. Add this to group 1 and mix
8. Using clean hands, roll tablespoons of Anzac mixture into balls
9. Arrange on trays, 4cm apart, to allow room for spreading (if you prefer a crunchier Anza, flatten the balls down with the back of a fork, you can always bake one as a tester to see how they spread and to check the consistency)

For sizing, I got 16 out of the mix, but you can make them smaller.
10. Cool on trays for a few minutes and then slide onto a wire rack to cool

11 Put the kettle on and remember our diggers

Tips

These are super quick to make so if you are after a quick morning tea go the Anzacs, the 1 cup measures make this one a snap.

Do a test Anzac to check if you are happy with the spread

If you like crunchy Anzacs use plain flour and press them flat

If you like chewy Anzacs leave them in a ball shape and add a pinch of baking powder, you can also reduce the cooking time by a few minutes

 

Variations

To give your Anzacs a twist try

adding a teaspoon of cinnamon for cinnamon Anzacs

a tablespoon of cocoa for chocolate Anzacs

half a cup of white chocolate and cranberries for a deliicious twist

Sticky date Anzacs happen easily, add a handful of chopped dates

try a handful of sultanas for fruit Anzacs

or half dip your originals or chocolate Anzacs into some melted chocolate

you could make a double mix of the original recipe and then split it up into portions to add flavors to.

Happy Baking!

 

NEW YORK CHEESCAKE WITH CHERRIES

Cheescake

This is the way my artisan boss taught me to make cheescakes, a few extra touches elevate this to ritzy cafe status. I have used Donna Hays recipe as the base with a few tweaks to make it even more delectable.

New York baked Cheesecake

Filling

330g cream cheese softened

500g fresh ricotta
4 eggs
1 1/3 cups caster sugar

1 1/2 tablespoon grated lemon rind

1/3 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1⁄2 tablespoons cornflour

1 1/2 tablespoons of water

cherry filling

1 pack of frozen cherries thawed-can use fresh or canned

1 1/2 tablespoons cornflour

2 tablespoons water or cherry juice

Shortcrust pastry

250g cold butter diced

215 g caster sugar

2 medium eggs

pinch of salt

475g plain flour  (can substitute for rice flour, but you will need a little extra to bring the dough together, perfect for gluten free , and I think actually tastes better)

vanilla pod

 

Method

Cream the butter, vanilla seeds and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs one by one and allow to incorporate.

Add the flour and salt on slow speed and mix until it only justs comes together

Over mixing produces a tough pastry so go slow.

Wrap in plastic film and chill overnight or at least an hour.

roll,cut and press into small pie tins.

 

Method

preheat oven to 150c

1 Lightly grease a 23cm spring base tin with butter.

2 Then line with some thinly rolled out shortbread.

3 Spread enough apricot jam to cover the base generously and refrigerate for 30 minutes

4 place the cornflour, cherry juice or water in a small saucepan and bring to the boil, cook out for a minute, add the cherries and allow to cool

5 When the cherries have cooled spread them out neatly and evenly over the apricot jam of your shortbread base.

6 Place the cheesecake filling ingredients, the cream cheese, ricotta, eggs, sugar, lemon rind, juice and vanilla in a food processor. Combine the cornflour and water until smooth and add to the cheese mixture. Process the mixture until smooth.

7 Place your tin onto a baking tray, pour into your shortbread lined tin and give it a few raps to release the air bubbles introduced in the food processor.

8 To remove the surface bubbles you can prick with a skewer and give the tray a few short slides, side to side. Or if you want a perfect finish you can use a blow torch to pop the bubbles

9 Bake for 1 hour. Turn the oven off and stand the cake in the oven for 1 hour, leaving the door closed.Then remove from the oven and allow to cool at room temp, then refrigerate.

10 To serve you can top with fresh cherries, coat with some boiled apricot jam, dust with icing sugar or serve it just the way it is! Delish!

photo 2photo 3PS We took these photos the day after the cheesecake was made, so there is a little shrinkage away from the sides

SAVOUR ONLINE CLASSES

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Savour have recently released their next step forward in training pastry heads with their new online school. You can learn how to make toffee eclairs, chocolate flowers, peanut butter macarons and a whole lot more.

The good news is they have a special introductory offer which will save you big buck!

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The bad news is it ends at midnight tonight, so in the words of my Auntie Mavis, Get on it!

http://www.savourschool.com.au/online-classes.aspx

 

La Belle Miette review

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La Belle Miette @ 30 Hardware Lane, Melbourne

Tucked next to a wonderful French café is La Belle Miette. A patisserie that specializes in macarons. La Belle Miette means the “beautiful crumb” or, more broadly, “beautiful small thing”. The group specialise in small delights and feature a tea room.

With the tribe in tow we ventured into the trendy Hardware lane to search out a pitstop. The family wanted the French café and I wanted the macarons, and there they were, right next to each other! First thought was it reminded me of Laduree in Paris with the soft pastel colors and of course macarons. The shop is small, but is full of macarons and people. There were around a dozen of us jammed in patiently waiting for our turn to be served. The flavor palette selection was

 

Caramel a la Fleur de Sel  (of course)

Chocolate

Pomegranate

Lemon

Cherry Blossom & Sake

Hazelnut

Pink Grapefruit

Olive Oil & Vanilla

Pistachio

Raspberry

Rose

Strawberry & Vanilla

Violet & Blueberry

I thought about the olive oil and vanilla, skipped past it to the caramel with French salt, deleted the obvious choice and turned left at Pink grapefruit. Thought twice about it and swung back towards a strawberry or lemon finally deciding on one Raspberry and one chocolate. The service and styling was impeccable. The assistant slid my macarons backwards along the marble slab in a vertical line and then swiped them horizontally to the next assistant who already had the printed cello bag ready.

I have eaten hundreds of macarons and was eagerly waiting to see how they were. Observations size was uniform, not sure if these are machine made, they had a wonderful soft shine and were a perfect size not too big to require a knife and fork, or so small you have to pop 5 or 6 down to even notice.

The texture was softer than I was expecting and the flavor combinations, especially the raspberry, were very good. For $2.60 it was all over way too soon, but such is the luxury of the Mac. Overall nice little boutique feel with good quality macarons. Fantastic packaging and staff.

 

La belle Miette are offering the signature silver embossed gift boxes free with purchases of 6 or 12 macarons, until end of January.

Valid in store or for pre-order.

La-Belle-Miette

ZUMBOS FINGERBUN MACARONS

 

fingerbun-macaron

Why not give these a shot for Australia Day this weekend? Here is Adrianos recipe for a French meets Australia treat from his latest book ‘A Fantasy Land of Macarons’

RECIPE

  • 300 g
  • almond meal
  • 300 g
  • pure icing sugar
  • 220 g
  • egg whites (about 7 eggwhites), at room temperature
  • 300 g
  • caster sugar
  • Pink
  • food colouring (see note)
  • 2 g
  • powdered eggwhite (see note)
  • FINGERBUN CREAM
  • 150 ml
  • pouring cream
  • 2 g
  • ground cinnamon
  • 250 g
  • couverture white chocolate buttons or finely chopped chocolate
  • 100 g
  • raisins, roughly chopped in a food processor
  • 50 g
  • desiccated coconut, plus extra for rolling
  • 50 g
  • croissant, finely chopped in a food processor

Method

  • 1
  • Grease large oven trays and line with non-stick baking paper or Silpat (see note). Place another oven tray under each lined oven tray.
  • 2
  • Put the almond meal and icing sugar in a food processor and process to a fine powder, then sift into a large bowl.
  • 3
  • Put 110gm eggwhites in an electric mixer with a whisk attachment. Put the sugar and 75ml water in a small saucepan over low heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Use a clean pastry brush to brush down the sides of the pan to avoid any crystallisation. Increase the heat and bring to the boil. Add enough food colouring to tint the mixture pink (see note). Cook until the mixture reaches 118C. When it is getting close to this temperature, add the powdered eggwhite to the eggwhites in the electric mixer and whisk on medium speed until frothy.
  • 4
  • Once the sugar syrup is at the right temperature, add it to the eggwhites in a thin steady stream down the side of the bowl. Whisk until warm (about 8 minutes).
  • 5
  • Add the extra eggwhites to the dry ingredients, then add the meringue and use a large spatula to fold it through until combined. Continue to fold the mixture so it begins to loosen. Working the mixture this way will soften it slightly. When the mixture falls slowly off the spatula it is at the right texture. The texture is important for the next stage, which is piping the macaron shells.
  • 6
  • Transfer the mixture to a piping bag fitted with a 7mm plain nozzle. Holding the piping bag about 1.5cm above an oven tray lined with baking paper, pipe straight down to make 4cm-diameter rounds, leaving a 3cm gap between each. As you finish piping each macaron, move the nozzle from 12 o’clock to 6 o’clock quickly to finish the piping action. If you have the correct texture, the macaron will soften again slightly and the tip on top of the macaron will drop, leaving a smooth top.
  • 7
  • Leave the macarons at room temperature for 30 minutes or until a skin forms. After 10 minutes, preheat the oven to 135C. To test if the macarons are ready to bake, gently touch one with your fingertip to check that a light skin has formed – the macarons should not be sticky. On humid days this may take longer. The skin is important because it lifts while the macaron cooks, creating a “foot” at the base.
  • 8
  • Bake the macarons for 16 minutes, or until they have a firm outer shell. Remove from the oven and set aside for 2 minutes, then carefully remove one macaron with a spatula to check that the base is also cooked and dry. If it is still slightly sticky, return the macarons to the oven for 2-3 minutes, then check again. Cool the macarons completely on the trays, then pair them up according to size.
  • 9
  • Meanwhile, for fingerbun cream, put the cream and cinnamon in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to the boil. Put the chocolate in a bowl. Pour the hot cream mixture over and set aside for 2 minutes. Stir until smooth, then fold through the raisins, coconut and croissant. Allow the ganache to cool and become firm enough to pipe. Fill a piping bag fitted with a 7mm plain nozzle with the ganache. Pipe the ganache on the flat side of half the macaron shells, then top with the remaining shells, ensuring the ganache comes right to the edge of each shell. Roll the macarons in the extra coconut. Put the assembled macarons in the refrigerator for 24 hours to set, then bring to room temperature and serve, or transfer to an airtight container.

Zumbarons: A Fantasy Land of Macarons by Adriano Zumbo,

published by Murdoch Books

LAMINGTONS

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Australia Day is fast approaching, so it’s that time of year for a Lamington!

I still think this is the best one I have tasted. We use to add a few little extras that gave ours a bit of a lift. Plus I have added a few tips.

For the cake

1/3 cup (50g) cornflour

1/3 cup (50g) plain flour

1/3 cup (50g) self-raising flour

4 x 60g eggs, at room temperature

2/3 cup (150g) caster sugar

vanilla extract 1 tablespoon

 

Method

 Grease a lamington or rectangle pan and line with baking paper.

Sift the flours and 1/4 tsp salt together 2 times to aerate.

Preheat oven to 180C.

Using an electric mixer, beat eggs, sugar and vanilla in a large bowl on medium-high speed for 6 minutes, or until mixture is thick, pale and tripled in volume.

Gradually sift flour mixture over egg mixture while simultaneously folding in with a large metal spoon until just combined.

Pour the mixture into the (27 x 20 cm) tin.

To level batter, use a crank handled palette knife or a plastic scraper

Bake for 20-25 minutes (or as directed in individual recipes), or until cakes have shrunk away from the sides slightly and spring back when gently touched.

Turn out on to a wire rack. Carefully peel away baking paper, and allow to cool.

lamington mix Coating

300 g icing sugar

1/2 cup of cocoa cocoa

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon vanilla essence

1/2 cup of raspberry jam

2 tablespoons port

Boiling water
Fresh dessicated coconut

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For the icing
Combine icing sugar, cocoa,port, jam and butter together in an bowl, adding a little boiling water to make mixture runny. Place into a pot and bring to the boil.Cut cake into 5 centimetre squares, dip into the lamington mix and roll into the coconut.In the bakery we would have one guy dip the squares and then place them onto a wire tray that was positioned over a  tray with 4 sides to catch all the run offs. The second guy would then allow the dipped sponge to drain and then roll them in coconut before the icing set.TIP Lamingtons were created to use up old sponge so if you have time do the same. 1 or 2 day old sponge is easier to handle and cut and soaks up the coating better. If you don’t have time, throw your sponge slab in the freezer for a few hours and cut it up and dip it before it thaws.Lamingtons taste great with some rasplum or raspberry jam.Slice the slab in half, spread out the jam and place the top back on. Place in the freezer to harden up, get everything ready, dip is the right dipping consistency, coconut is out on a tray, helper ready, remove from the freezer, slice into squares and dip!lamingtonTIPS1 Lamingtons were created to use up old sponge so if you have time do the same. Day old sponge is easier to handle and cut and soaks up the coating better. If you don’t have time, throw your sponge slab in the freezer for a few hours and cut it up and dip it before it thaws.Much, much easier to handle!2 If you are making jam lamingtons you can press the top of the sponge with a cutting board and a few heavy tins. this will flatten the tops and give you a square shape.3 Square up the edges of your sponge slab before cutting up the squares to achieve a ‘noice’ batch of square lammos.

4 Let the leftover coconut dry out, and then run through a coarse sieve to remove the lumps. Place in a container and you are ready for your next batch of lamingtons.

5 Boil the dipping mix and allow it to cool enough you can put your fingers in. The idea is  to dip while its hot and roll in coconut quickly so the icing sets

6 For PINK LAMINGTONS follow the recipe and directions changing the dipping sauce to this recipe

7 If your lamingtons are looking a little uneven, you can flatten them a little by pressing the dipped cakes with a board and some heavy tins

  • 3 cups icing sugar mixture
  • 20g butter
  • 1/2 cup milk or boiling water
  • pink food colouring
  • 1 teaspoon strawberry essence

Boil the milk or water, add the butter icing sugar and colouring and essence and stir to a smooth dipping sauce.

lamington

Throw a shrimp on the barbie, make Sam Kekavitch happy and get some lamb, and then sit back and listen as everyone says “these are the best lammos i’ve ever ‘ad! So much better than the supermarket ones”

Good on ya mate!

Happy baking

Aussie pavlova

Anzac Macarons

 

BAROQUE MACARON MASTERCLASS

Baroque Masterclass!

It was the crack of dawn and I was awake. I had beaten the alarm clocks ring and had some coffee on the go at 5am. Today I was having a master class with French pastry chef Jean-Michel Raynaud in Sydney hence the early start. This man is a pastry legend, he trained under Robert Schicci in Marseille, and conquered pulled sugar and at the ripe old age of twenty, he also served in a three star Michelin restaurant.

 

But it doesn’t stop there. He has been an integral part of Planet Cake and sweet art and has created menus for Nicole Kidman, Delta Goodrem and created Bec and Leyton Hewitts wedding cake to name a few. He use to be a champion kick boxer (won 3 Australian Championships and an Intercontinental Welterweight Champion title and I tend to think could still smash your patella’s if he really wanted to) so don’t upset him.

 

He has appeared on Food Safari several times and has featured in numerous print publications. Some of his amazing creations are a life size Barbie doll based off the 50th Anniversary Barbie doll that was built from mud cake and decorated in icing, silk and 2,000 Swarovski crystals. This cake was a collaboration between Jean Michel and fashion designer Alex Perry, hairdresser Joh Bailey, and jewelery designer Stefano Canturi

BarbieTurns50ChocolateMuddCake

To celebrate Barbie’s 50th birthday, in Sydney, Australia, Mattel unveiled a nearly seven-foot tall “Barbie doll” chocolate mud cake. The 2,645 lb cake was covered in gold icing, gold silk, and 2,000 Swarovski crystals valued at $50,000, and was based on the design for the limited edition 50th Anniversary Barbie Doll.

He also recreated the royal wedding cake in only 48 hours. Http://www.lifestylefood.com.au/articles/recreating-the-royal-wedding-cake.aspx

 

The plane landed at Sydney airport, from there it was a quick airport train to circular quay and then a 5 minute walk past the bridge (not bad scenery on the way to a class!) to The Rocks where Baroque is located.

I ventured in (what is the difference between a venture and an adventure. anyway? Maybe there are commercials or maybe something is added..?

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Anyway, 6 other foodies were also there for today’s macaron master class. Enter Jean-Michel Raynaud in the flesh. I had seen him on food safari, , the morning show, planet cake, and you tube,but now the maestro was in person.

He greeted us, offered and made coffees and then joined us on the couch to prepare us for today’s class . He repeatedly told us that pastry is a science, “it’s technical, and pastry is about technique”

He also told us that many of our myths would be deleted about making macarons

“ There are conclusions people follow, but it is their experience that makes them do it, best to stick to basics” part of the French discipline is doing just that, sticking to what has always worked.

We were given extensive notes and made our way to the adjoining kitchen to begin work.

First up we were given an incredible in depth session on the science of macarons. This was crucial to establish our understanding and squash so many preconceived ideas we had collectively gathered along the way. I couldn’t write quick enough as Jean Michelle poured out information on ganaches, liquid content, different chocolates and humidity. I very quickly noticed this man is everything I had heard he was and more. A passionate teacher who is intrigued by the why and what’s of food science and is looking for people to share it with.

 

I learnt so much! For instance one book I purchased had a recipe for ganache that I used, trouble was it was a disaster. My result was so far from what I had expected that I thought they must have printed it wrong. I had double-checked myself, and on this rare occasion knew for once it wasn’t me. Good news is it wasn’t the recipe either; the difference was the chocolate I had used. Some recipes call for a quantity of chocolate, but all chocolates are not created equal! They have varying percentages of cacao, which can and does change a lot. We learnt about forming ganaches made with water that don’t distort the chocolate and suspending butter inside of a caramel (told you it was technical)

We teamed up into groups of two, with half the class making soft caramel and the others making a rich ganache. My pastry buddy was Maria, who was also determined to conqueror the elusive macaraon.

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I’m not going t write down every little thing I learnt here because I feel it defeats the purpose of reviewing a class (the idea being to inspire you to go and see for yourself which I hope you do) but I will share something’s. This multi awarded gold medal chef will teach you so many principles and concepts that your cooking will be elevated to a whole new level.

For instance I have followed several recipes on how to make caramel with the results being… let’s say, ok. JM uses a dry caramel and takes it way past wherever you think it should be. Past blonde, past the fizzing foaming stage, remaining calm as smoke pours off the surface, until it takes on an apocalyptic dark reddish hue, only then does he remove it, cooling it down immediately with cold butter and stick blender. Installing the butter this way introduces it to the mix and prepares it to become an emulsion, this is important. Once the butter is incorporated into the mix it is poured into a stainless steel dish covered with cling film and cooled in the fridge.

 

The cling film needs to come into contact with the caramel completely and then another sheet of cling film covers the pan again. This is because if it isn’t sealed properly the consistency of the edges or uncovered caramel would be different and would consequently change the caramels ratio and structure (pastry is a science,

GANACHE

We were also shown how to make the ganache. I have always dumped my chocolate straight into the boiling cream to make my ganache, but will never do this again, (I promise)

This is too harsh and shocks the chocolate disturbing the cocoa butter (poor coca butter,) instead you are suppose to slowly temper, introducing the cream to the chocolate in stages. This keeps the cocoa butter happy and the texture and structure of your ganache ant its optimum quality.

It is amazing how varying one step in technique can change so much of your result, but as JM said it is all about technique and science. The cream to use is fresh cream not thickened cream (thickened cream has had gelatine added to it and that stuff is made of cow hoofs so why add it to your lovely French chocolate?) it is available at supermarkets.

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The ganache temperature was checked using a digital gun, gotta get me one of them!

5

And was left to set at room temp and received the proper cling film treatment for the same reasons.

With our fillings made and us understanding how to adjust ganaches using different chocolates and additions such as water, fruit purée etc we were ready to practice some piping, the results from our class were filled with laughing, blobs and as time moved on, some fairly good looking macs, now it was time to have some lunch

Jean Michelle as host prepared lunch for us, which consisted of delicious French banquettes, and perfect quiches. Then he made everyone a coffee again acting as barista

I was waiting for him to wash the dishes as well but there was a friendly pot washer who came later to take care of that. The view from the kitchen was spectacular, Sydney harbour to the left and a little further up … the bridge!

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Back in the kitchen and it was time to actually make the macarons. JM explained that French meringue was unstable and that he preferred using the Italian meringue.

We were shown how to make the IM and we’re taken through each step watching Jean Michelle go through the process. The TPT, which is short for ‘tant pour tant’, means equal quantities of almond meal and pure icing sugar.

 

Which brought us to myth number 1 sieving; JM doesn’t sieve the TPT and says it isn’t necessary. Blitzing your almond meal and pure icing sugar is important but you do not need to sieve. How about that? There’s some time saved.

He put his syrup on to the induction top and showed us how to know when your syrup is ready to use and how to fix it if it is not. Diving his hand into cold water and then grabbing a small piece of syrup he taught us the difference between softball and hardball, if you aren’t game you can always use a thermometer. (I practiced this at home and while it seems certain you hand will receive a third degree burn forever coated in rock candy, its not going to happen, just have your bowl of water near the pan)

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MYTH 2

When the syrup hit 115C, the egg whites were set to whip on high speed, enter MYTH 2 the aged egg whites. Some people aren’t going to like this but you don’t need to use aged egg whites. Using aged egg whites isn’t a problem, it means the whites will take longer to whip. It also means that doing that is not needed so go fresh, it’s easier and quicker.

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YOU CAN RE COOK YOUR SYRUP

What was also interesting was that if you had taken your sugar past 120 ish and it is too hot, you could cool the syrup by adding more cold water. Be careful as you do this it will bubble up quite a bit, but it will de cook the sugar bringing the temp down again where the syrup will slowly begin to climb in temp again. This is great because it takes the pressure off trying to get the syrup perfect. When the syrup reaches 120 and the meringue has reached half peaks it is ready to be poured into the mix, be careful not to splash the syrup against the whisk, this flicks and sets onto the bowl meaning your meringue now has less sugar which again effects ratio. Whip this until slightly warm.

 

MACAROONAGE

Surprisingly when JM adds 2/3rds of the meringue to the TPT he does so with vigour. I mean he smashes it. Forget your folding stuff here, the object is to amalgamate the mix and reduce the air. The last third of meringue is added

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and this is done with a lighter hand, still not the folding and turning I am normally use to.

He mixes and scrapes the bowl and pours a line of batter using the spatula to see if it disappears. This is to emulate the piped macaron and the tip that is left. If the line goes away after a few seconds it is ready to pipe, if not, give it a few more turns.

The mix was used tighter than what I have seen before, but I kept coming back to the results that the Baroque ninja turns out,

Their macarons are perfect, so if the man says that is how it is done, then that is how it is done.

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PIPING

AA Next it was our turn to pipe, we were shown how to go about it gaining some valuable tips and using the provided template

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Here is where MYTH 3 was destroyed. The macarons do not require time to dry and form a skin. JM puts them straight into the oven!

Now it makes sense why my macs have come out so dull so often. It is because the sugar was crystallizing, and when it does that things get dull. Who knew?

French macarons on the other hand do need drying time, however the Italian meringue is a different recipe and as such have different rules. French meringue is porous so it needs to skin, Italian meringue is not, and so drying is not relevant.

If you are going to add toppings now is the time, we added gold powder which apparently goes for 3K a kilo, red powder and ground pistachio nuts.

Ah the elusive macaron, it’s what makes trying to conquer it so much fun.

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OVEN

Our shells went into the rack and then into the oven, no12-15 minutes here, jean Michelle explained that if the sugar had not reached 160 Celsius in the oven that it the macarons would not be properly cooked yet.

Here is his process

Start at 165c for 5 minutes with the oven door closed, then put a knife handle in the door and turn the heat back to 150c For 22 Minutes.

Parchment paper is JM’s preferred material, however Baroque does use the silicone sheets. They give them a good scour with a scouring pad to rough up the surface so the macs’ get feet

 

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BACK TO THE FILLINGS

The caramel was retrieved from the fridge and was ready to be emulsified the. A quick hit on a slow heat began to melt the butter while beating the mix at the same time. This friction creates a change in the structure; it becomes lighter and thicker turning from a soft caramel to a caramel butter cream.

The coveted Fleur de sel (“Flower of salt” in French) was added next, a hefty 8 grams of the stuff, we were told to never use table salt, instead use salt flakes because they dissolve differently creating a superior taste and effect. They  will create little flavour bombs in your caramel and are worth the bit extra

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We paired our shells into similar shapes, and then piped the ganache and caramel fillings. The tops were added using a twist motion and viola! We had made macarons complete with shine, feet, domed tops and height.

We were given plastic shell trays to pack our macs to take home and were allowed to take as many as wanted! God bless you Jean-Michelle.

We were also given a certificate and carry bag so everyone around Sydney knew just where we had been!

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This is a must do class for every foodie, but I warn you the master classes sell out months in advance so book early.

Jean Michelle is a master chef who loves what he does and it shows. He is not only brilliant on the practical side of producing perfection, but has the food science aspects completely covered. He won’t simply tell you what will happen if you do something, he will tell you why, and this knowledge will empower you to become a whole new cook.

I have done some things not really knowing why; buy JM helped me out drawing on 30 years of experience.

 

When I saw the class went for 6 hours I thought two things

1 great value and

2 I don’t think I can concentrate that long before the AD.”………”……….kicks in

 

If you are thinking the same thing let me put you at ease, the time absolutely flew in fact I wanted it to keep going I was having so much fun.

If you are looking for a supplier to get some fleur de sal or quality chocolate, try www.Simonjohnson.com.au  or essential ingredient.com.au

Do yourself a favor and book this class in, it was brilliant!

 

Location Baroque Sydney, the Rocks

When Last Sunday of every month (except Public Holiday weekends) 10am to 4pm.

Cost $220 per person.

Max Class  8

To book, phone 0406 519 679 and/or complete an online booking form. Bookings are taken on a first come, first serve basis and confirmed once payment is made in full.

Website http://www.baroquebistro.com.au/Masterclass/ClassTermsConditions.php

Time 6 hours

Jean Michel’s facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jean-Michel-Raynaud/141382789245019

 

I recorded an interview with Jean Michel that I will post at a later date.

Bon Apetit!

 

NUT FREE MACARONS

Ancient-Harvest-Quinoa-Flakes

This is a fantastic nut free recipe from Jill Colonna’s Mad about Macarons. Do yourself a favor and grab the book, in the meantime here is Jill’s recipe.

MOKA NUT FREE MACARONS

150g organic egg whites

90g castor sugar

100g quinoa flakes (organic, pre cooked)

240g icing sugar

10g unsweetened icing sugar (optional)

Method

Follow the basic macaron recipe (follows) the quinoa flakes replace the almond meal. Grind the flakes to a powder using a coffee grinder , blender or mortar and pestle. You could add 10g of coca powder to the mix for chocolate shells. Ensure that you leave the quinoa macarons to rest for 1 hour 30 minutes. Follow the method of the basic recipe as you would for normal macarons and for timings and temperatures.

Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

Whisk egg whites till soft peaks form, add the caster sugar gradually and beat until glossy firm peaks form. Add food coloring and whisk till incorporated.

Sift the ground almonds with the icing sugar using a medium sieve. Discard and large pieces of almond. Mix well to incorporate the icing sugar and almonds.

Incorporate the beaten eggs whites into the dry ingredients using a large spatula, then works on the mixture using a large scraper. Press down with the scraper, going backwards and forwards along the bottom of you bowl, to press out any oxygen from the whites. Do this for no more than 5 minutes, the result should form a smooth and brilliant mixture that forms a ‘ribbon’ on the scraper. It can also be described as ‘magma like’.

Transfer the mixture to a piping bag with a plain nozzle (1cm round the tip). Twist or clip the bag above the nozzle to stop the mixture from escaping.  Pipe out the desired size of rounds (3cm for your standard medium sized macaron). Leave a good space between each round as they do spread slightly.

Leave for 30 minutes – 1 hour to set. This helps produce the feet that define a macaron. They are ready to go into the oven when they are hard to touch and no mixture sticks to your fingertips.

While they are setting, preheat your oven to 160c/320f. Bake in the centre of the oven, 1 tray at a time for about 10 – 12 minutes. (test after 8 minutes – touch the top of the macaron and gently move your finger side to side), if there is a wobble, cook for 2 – 3 minutes longer till firm.

When ready, leave on the baking tray until cool and then scrape them off carefully with a palette knife.

3+MAD_ABOUT_MACARONS

MACARON GLOSSARY

macarons

Here is a handy glossary of Macaron terms, it should explain a few things :)

Macaron Glossary

Bag ties Rubber bands that wrap around the twist of your piping bag, then lock to prevent mixture from squeezing out of the top.
Bec d’oiseau the meringue is ready when it looks like a bird’s beak.

Compound Chocolate  is a product made from a combination of cocoa, vegetable fat, and sweeteners. It is used as a lower-cost alternative to couverature chocolate using less-expensive hard vegetable fats in place of the more expensive cocoa butter. When snapped, compound chocolate doesn’t crack, instead it sort of bends. (Think cheap Easter eggs)

Couverature Chocolate Couverture is a term that means ‘covering’  and is used for chocolate that is rich in cocoa butter and high in cocoa solids.  It is the most superior form of chocolate, containing at least 32% pure cocoa butter. Snap this chocolate and it produces a sharp crack sound. (the sound of happiness)
Crystalization sugar crystalize on IM macarons when left to skin producing a dull matte finish, remedy is to bake immediatley.
Croutage the drying crust on a french meringue macaron.
Deflation removing air pockets from the macaron batter.
French Meringue Egg whites are whipped with castor sugar to form soft peaks, the TPT is then folded in. This method is not cooked and creates a porous meringue that needs to skin.
Egg white powder A free-flowing powder made from the glucose-reduced and spray-dried egg whites of quality farm-fresh eggs, egg white. powder has many advantages over fresh.Also called albumen powder.

Exoglass spatula this is a flat, strong spatula that makes mixing the first stage of the mix easier.
Fleur de Sel  the prized sea salt from Guerande in France which is hand harvested by paludiers using rakes
Ganache a whipped filling of chocolate and cream, used in confectioneries such as cakes and truffles.
Gerbet  an old name for the macaron, baker Claude Gerbet claimed to have created them and some ran with the name, they were also known as the Parisian macaron.
Hygrometer is an instrument used for measuring the moisture content in the atmosphere.
Humidity high moisture in the air that can interfere with macaron formation causing cracks and other faults.
Infusion a flavored liquid made by steeping a flavor into a hot or cold liquid, tea is an infusion.
Italian Meringue Liquid Egg whites whipped with a 118C sugar syrup, the heat in the syrup cooks the egg white producing a reliable meringue that is not porous.

Macaroonage this is the folding stage amalgamating the  almond meal and egg whites with the meringue. This stage causes the TPT to drop away from the surface of the piped shell leaving the top of your piped macaron as a thin veneered cap of egg white and sugar.
Macaronner The final batter of meringue and TPT
Maturation giving your macarons time to develop and mature to their optimum flavor
Mise en place pronounced miz-on-plas, literally “putting in place”
Pied (pee-ay) the pleated frill foot on the base of the macaron
Piping tube cone shaped piping tips made from tin plate, stainless steel or plastic.
Powdered egg white egg whites that have been pasteurized and freeze dried to extract their water resulting in a white powder.

Shell unfilled macaron halves.

Soft peak A term used to describe beaten egg whites. When the beaters are removed, soft peaks curl over and droop rather than stand straight up.The meringue is moist and glossy.

Stiff peak  A term describing the consistency of beaten egg whites. When the beaters are removed from the mixture, the points will stand up straight and the meringue is moist and glossy

Stabilising agent additives such as salt, lemon juice or cream of tartar (this is an acid salt)  can be used to condition the protein of the egg white thus stabilising the mix.

TPT  Tant pour tant,(tohn-pohr-tohnt) is French for half and half  ‘as much as’ and refers to equal amounts of the almond and icing sugar mix (1:1 ratio)
Titanium dioxide  is one of the whitest materials known to exist on Earth, which has earned it the nickname ‘titanium white’ It reflects light really well, As a pigment, titanium dioxide is used to enhance the white colour of certain foods
Underdeflating means there is excess air still trapped in the mix and can result in hollow shells.

GETTING RID OF THE EVIDENCE

WHAT-TO-DO-WITH-MACARON-MISTAKES copy
Getting rid of the evidence

Making macarons is an art form and requires skill and experience to produce consistent results. So what do you do with the ‘macawrongs’ that didn’t go to plan? These setbacks build your experience and teach you how to not do things, so when it happens it’s a good thing. Nevertheless you are stuck with something you would probably rather hide.
Here are a few options on what to do with the ‘experiments’

1 Give them to the kids and tell them to show no one! Any ‘show and tells’ or pictures winding up on facebook results in an instant 6 month grounding and no Christmas presents!

2 Put them back into a slow oven and dry them out. Allow to cool and then blitz in a food processor. Vhwala! You now have some tasty cake crumb for the sides of a gateaux or a crusty sprinkle for icecream.

3 Sometimes when you are mixing the macaron batter you can feel that it is  overly tight and no amount of deflation is going to bring it back. Adding extra egg white to loosen the dough will produce rubbery little flying saucer shaped discs. What you can do is  spread the mix out into a thin 2mm sheet or circle. This can now become a meringue styled sheet that can be inserted inside a gateaux, or even sandwiched together with ganache or buttercream and cut into slices. (no one will ever know!)

4 Use to build a dessert around,ie around the sides of a gateaux, an Eton’s Mess or stack them on top of each other, 3 or 4 high sandwiched with cream.

5 If you over cook your macs either give them a brush of flavoured syrup or a light spray of H2O. A softer filling such as a creme patissiere or a fruit gelee has a higher moisture content and will rehydrate a drier shell.

6 Blitz the macarons roughly to use as soil on a plated dessert.

7 Make Macky Road (rocky road)

8 Hide them in Tiramisu, replacing the sponge fingers for macstakes.

9 Give them to the dog :)

 

Guide to 21 Macaron mistakes

The perfect macaron

Macaron myths

perfect french macarons

Sunnyboy macarons