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!
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!
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.......
I try to pick one up and it turned into this.....
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!
The second component of my petit fours were cointreau and chocolate truffles, thankfully these were alot easier than the macarons. Here is the recipe.
Cointreau and Chocolate Truffles
250 ml pouring cream
425 gm dark chocolate buttons
50 ml cointreau
For dusting: Dutch-process cocoa
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.
And so concludes the Bastille Day series, now we can all get back to real life.