August 2, 2009

Bastille Day Wrap Up - Macarons and Truffles

white chocolate and raspberry macarons

Yay, after all my procrastination, I am finally up to the last instalment of the Bastille Day epic. And what a good one it is. It involves tears, catastrophic failure....multiple ones, booze, dizzying heights of joy and finally exhaustion, and that's only the macarons! So I think that's probably the best place to start. When I received my June issue of Gourmet Traveller with the gorgeous macarons on the front cover, I knew immediately what I would have for petit fours. So I did what any fellow food blogger would do, I hit the blogs. I wanted to find out what everyone else's experience with the tasty macarons was. Duncan @ syrup and tang has a great resource, and he truly knows what hes talking about, for sheer beauty I turned to Ellie @ Kitchen Wench and her beautiful macarons, a few sound tips from Julia @ Melanger and a good old belly laugh from Rilsta @ My Food Trail and her macaron sunglasses, I'm sure the first in the world!

white chocolate and raspberry macarons2

Many years ago I baked my first macaron, resulting in a massive failure. 2009 was the year to give it another go. So first thing first, trial run for the big day, I chose Duncan's macarons au sucre cuit recipe. I weighed my ingredients, made my batter, piped them out and then put the little ones in the oven and out they came - hard as a rock and looking nothing like french macarons. Little did I know that my scales were registering ZERO grams when in fact I had put in 50! So the next day I purchased a brand new shinny set of digital scales, and boy do I love them, they weigh things correctly....if only my bathroom scales were like my old kitchen scales!

white chocolate and raspberry macarons3

Attempt two saw me under mix my batter, so I ended up with shells that weren't exactly shiny and they distinctly lacked the "feet" I was looking for. So onto attempt 3, this time I mixed them perfectly, they came out of the oven shiny and they even had feet....bonus score! But....and there is a BIG but, my ganache was not so good. I followed the gourmet traveller recipe, which was a big mistake. It turned out a little wet due to the whole pieces of raspberry, so by the following day my macarons had turned into a wet goopy mess. I had taken them into work to show off my new found skills and I ended up almost crying. I popped open the box and saw these.......
squeezy macarons 2

I try to pick one up and it turned into this.....

squeezy macarons

I officially hated macarons at that point. Because I'm a complete nutter, by late afternoon I had already resolved myself to trying one more time, the saying is 4th time lucky right???? This time I got it right! Woo hoo, go team me. I changed the ganache recipe, I made a thick raspberry syrup and added it to the ganache, and I was in macaron heaven! It only took me 4 goes, dozens of eggs and countless hours of my sanity. But it was all worth it in the end!

chocolate truffles3

The second component of my petit fours were cointreau and chocolate truffles, thankfully these were alot easier than the macarons. Here is the recipe.

chocolate truffles2

Cointreau and Chocolate Truffles

INGREDIENTS

250 ml pouring cream
425 gm dark chocolate buttons
50 ml cointreau

For dusting: Dutch-process cocoa

METHOD

1. Break chocolate up into small pieces and place in a bowl. Bring cream to the boil and pour over chocolate. Add alcohol and stir until smooth and glossy, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, but still workable.
2. Using two spoons, make quenelles and then return to refrigerator for 2 hours to set. Dust with cocoa powder and refrigerate overnight.

chocolate truffles

And so concludes the Bastille Day series, now we can all get back to real life.

13 comments:

Julia @ Mélanger said...

I hear your frustration in trying to conquer the macaron. The set in the first photo looked absolutely lovely. You should be very proud. I've not had problems with ganache before, but if there is too much moisture from something like berries that would definitely cause havoc. Shame that happened. I was a bit sceptical of the overall GT recipe, particularly when it suggested resting the piped batter for 4-5 hours!! Will you try again?

Conor said...

My future self thanks you for going through this painstaking four stage process so that one day I will be able to learn from you and use perfect scales and mixing technique and ganache recipe and turn out perfect macarons after my first attempt (and also have a perfectly clean kitchen immediately after, whilst simultaneously having a great hair day and winning the lotto)

Stephcookie said...

Oh wow they look gorgeous, I've been trying to build up the courage to attempt macarons though I get the feeling I will fail many times before I succeed! I can just imagine how upsetting it would have been to discover the batch that went soggy overnight, but congrats on it working out well the next time! :)

Rilsta said...

Thanks for the mention about my macarons! :)

I can imagine your disappointment when they turned out so perfectly and the next day they look like mess! You can at least bask in the glory of having turned out nice looking macarons and it was actually the ganache that let you down and you got it right when you changed the ganache recipe!

I love the lovely pink colour of them and you got a beautiful shape!

Betty said...

Yay for you macarons! I'm so impressed that you persevered to get it right - congrats! Looks like the effort was worth it because they look lovely and perfect!

Arwen from Hoglet K said...

You're very dedicated to have so many attempts, and your final macaroons look lovely. The truffles sound sooo much easier though!

Anita said...

I've had similar problems trying to perfect macarons, but they all seem to taste good, even if they don't work out perfectly. I do love the first photo though. Sounds like you had a fantastic Bastille Day!

Food lover said...

I have only one thing to say - YUMM!!! OMG it looks amazing!

Maria@TheGourmetChallenge said...

Hi Julia - I was too, 4 hours resting time, they wouldnt have just been rested they would have be dehydrated and rested!

Hi Conor - oh wow, that really sounds like a great day in the litchen, I'm sure you'll achieve it!

Hi Stephcookie - Just do it! Regardless of what they look like, they taste bloody fantastic!

Hi Rilsta - No problems, I loved the sunglasses so much they definitely deserved a mention.

Hi Betty - I agree, well worth the effort

Hi Arwen - Oh yeah, I would take the truffles over the macarons any day of the week!

Hi Food lover - These are actually my reject batch, I saved the good batch for the big night and was left with the not quite rights for the photo shoot the next day

Agnes said...

Oh you did good! I think I would cry if I ever made macarons.

Maree said...

You're a much braver woman than me taking on those macarons! Congrats, the final product looks just like the cover of GT!

Iron Chef Shellie said...

OH macarons! what a b!@tch to make!! so hard to perfect!

So much easier to buy them and enjoy them :P but not as fun

Boffin said...

I think I have a craving for your truffles - chocolatey morsels of goodness - they were SOOO good. And I have an idea for decorating a red velvet cake... although I am aware it will not be quite to everyone's taste! Yay Aliens!
http://www.greatwhitesnark.com/2007/12/11/geeky-cake-of-the-week-alien-chest-burster-baby-shower-cake/
H