Red Berry Macarons

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Red Berry Macarons

More berries! It's not that I won't find stone fruits and other summer fruits living in a Southern state, it's just that they will probably taste bland and by the time Fall hits, I know my baking mind will be ready for apples and pears. I have been freezing and preserving a ton these past few days so if I get a craving for juicy roasted peaches and creme anglaise in the middle of November, one trip to the freezer and I am set!

Friday afternoon when B. went to put bottles of water in the freezer as part of our preparations for Tropical Storm Hanna, he was amazed to find the bottom drawer full of halved peaches, halved plums, raspberries, blueberries, watermelon for quick sorbet, not to mention doughs of various kinds, etc... Tucked in a corner he noticed a small box with a few red berry macarons that I had saved "just" for him. He exclaimed "It almost makes me wish we lost power with that storm!" to which I replied "take a peak out the window and tell me that with a straight face!". We live on a tidal creek, our house is 12 feet off the ground so if the water keeps getting up into the yard with the midnight tide, we might get up to see a natural pool in the garage. I took hour by hour pictures this afternoon as I was cooped inside baking and making soup. A tropical storm calls for chocolate cake don't you think?

Why keep macarons in the freezer? Well, last weekend our friend D. came over and helped me out of a little situation and as a thank you I made her and her husband some macarons for their get together on Labor Day. I tell you what, there are many special moments in life but getting together with close friends, grilling, chilling, playing croquet and eating macarons is definitely one of them! Hard to think that this beautiful sunny day would lead to such a downfall of rain by friday, but such is Mother Nature. It is a very humbling feeling to know that one only can surrender to its plan and go with the flow. It's kind of appeasing to me, in a weird sort of way. I saw people giving in that collective movement of stress all day long, at the store, the gas station and I just wanted to go up to them and offer them a macaron to help them relax! I think I'll need a truckload of macarons if we get a hurricane this season (knock on wood real quick, thank you!).

Red Berry Macarons

Since I had a lot of egg whites left from making ice cream and other custards, I made a double batch of macarons, filled them and tucked the away in the freezer, well wrapped for when a little cravings hits us these stormy days. I did do my little rituals of turning the fridge and freezer to the lowest settings and hopefully we won't lose power for long if at all. Our hosts this past Labor Day love chesecakes and that was the inspiration for the filling, a cream cheese buttercream with a center of quick raspberry and redcurrant jelly. I call it "quick jelly" because it is not a jelly in the traditional sense of the term, it does not cook for long and contains gelatin to help it set, as well as the whole berries and not just their juice. I needed a small quantity for the macarons, hence the rapid method instead of the whole jelly making and ensuing canning. Feel free to subsitute with your favorite berry jam, homemade or not.

I get quite a few emails about macarons and I do not consider myself an authority in the matter, there are indeed quite a few bloggers sharing the same passion, and a quick Google search can quickly lend to macaron heaven as far as choices. I do recommend reading the tutorial in Desserts Magazine: not because I wrote it but because I tried to gather a lot of tips, ideas and methods from other chefs, home cooks and bloggers. It is by no means a comprehensive guide to macaron making but I think it is a great place to start demystifying as well as understanding some key points in the method (regardless of the type of meringue you use). I mostly use the French meringue method with great results but if you want to try your hand at the Italian meringue method, my friend Mercotte in France has written (in English) a great tutorial on the subject.

Red Berries and Jelly

Red Berry Macarons:
Makes about 15-18 depending on size

For the shells:
3 egg whites (about 90 gr)
30 gr granulated sugar
200 gr powdered sugar
110 gr almonds
2 Tb powdered red food coloring

For the whites: the day before (24hrs), separate your eggs and store the whites at room temperature in a covered container. If you want to use 48hrs (or more) egg whites, you can store them in the fridge. In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites to a foam, gradually add the sugar until you obtain a glossy meringue. Do not overbeat your meringue or it will be too dry and your macarons won't work. Combine the almonds and powdered sugar in a food processor and give them a good pulse until the nuts are finely ground. Pass through a sieve. Add them to the meringue,with the coloring and give it a quick fold to break some of the air and then fold the mass carefully until you obtain a batter that flows like magma or a thick ribbon. Give quick strokes at first to break the mass and slow down. The whole process should not take more than 50 strokes. Test a small amount on a plate: if the tops flattens on its own you are good to go. If there is a small beak, give the batter a couple of turns. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip (Ateco #807 or #809) with the batter and pipe small rounds (1.5 inches in diameter) onto parchment paper lined baking sheets. Preheat the oven to 300F. Let the macarons sit out for 30 minutes to an hour to harden their shells a bit and bake for 8-10 minutes, depending on their size. Let cool. If you have trouble removing the shells, pour a couple of drops of water under the parchment paper while the sheet is still a bit warm and the macarons will lift up more easily do to the moisture. Don't let them sit there in it too long or they will become soggy. Once baked and if you are not using them right away, store them in an airtight container out of the fridge for a couple of days or in the freezer.

For the cream cheese buttercream:
1 1/2 sticks (170 gr) butter at room temperature
4 oz (120gr) cream cheese, softened
3 egg whites
1/2 cup (100gr) sugar
2 Tb water
1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla paste or 1/2 vanilla bean split open and seeded.

In the bowl of stand mixer, whip the egg whites until they have soft peaks. In the meantime, combine 2 Tb water with the sugar to a boil in a heavy saucepan and bring the syrup to 250F. Slowly add the sugar syrup to the egg whites. If you use hand beaters, this is even easier and there is less hot syrup splatter on the side of your bowl and in the whisk attachment of the stand mixer. Continue to whip until the meringue is completely cooled. Slowly add the butter, one tablespoon at a time. The mass might curdle but no panic, continue to whip until it all comes together. Add the cream cheese, the same way, a little at a time until everything is smooth. Whisk in the vanilla extract, or paste or bean. Keep it to spreadable consistency for the macarons and refrigerate the leftover for cupcakes or mini toast in the fridge up to 3 days or in the freezer.

For the quick red berry jelly:
1 cup raspberries (250ml)
1 cup redcurrant (250ml)
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tb lemon juice
1 Tb lemon zest
2 tsp powdered gelatin
3 Tb cold water

In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the water and let it bloom.
In a heavy saucepan,combine the berries, sugar, lemon juice and zest. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and let simmer 10 minutes to let the fruits release their juices. Remove from the heat, add the gelatin and stir until completely melted into the fruits. Pour into a small plastic container line with plastic wrap, let cool to room temperature and refrigerate until set. Can be kept in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer.

To assemble: pipe or spoon a small amount of macarons on one shell, position some jelly right in the center and top with another shell.

Red Berry Macarons

91 comments:

Audax said...

Love the colour and the taste must be out of this world. The story of Labour Day how nice for you. I will look up the tutorial. Always a treat to see your blog.

Amber said...

I feel like a moron because everyone seems to make these, know about them, etc.. I have never even had them. But I must say I don't know what you are best at...food or photography. You make a flippin cookie look like absolute heaven, the kind I would push some little kid out of the way for. But the whole reason I am here and blogging and cooking more often is to stretch myself, although I have had more failed recipes since I began and my photos are well...let's just say when I photograph people I tend to get half heads, the backs of heads, you get the idea. Luckily food doesn't move, but it does melt. Augh. Now I am hungry.

steph- whisk/spoon said...

every macaron you make looks more delicious than the last! hope all's well at home with the storm.

Mrs.French said...

lovely as always...however, I have to say your stellar attitude is what floors me in this one...life throws you tropical storms and you make macarons...my kind of gal you are!

Christy said...

Helen, I just adore the last photo!!
No need to be humble, really. We all know you are one of the most fabulous macaron expert out here in the blogosphere!

And I so love the shapes of the red berry jellies!! Good idea on keeping summer fruits in the freezer for winter. But before I can do that I need to get a bigger freezer. Hmm...maybe I should even start by freezing some pears and quinces!!

Manggy said...

Hmm, given that your humidity is so high, maybe there's some hope for me to make good macarons yet! I'm always afraid of producing a bunch of caps floating in a sea of molten egg white, haha :)
I sincerely hope your area remains safe during this turbulent season. I don't think eating your delicious stored macarons would be tempting fate! (Honestly I didn't even know you could freeze them, so that's good.) I am salivating over the berry-cream cheese combination!

Baking Soda said...

I should really really go beyond myself and my qualms and make these. I could at least try right?
Just love the pics Hélène!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Wow, those macarons are beyond perfection! Very professional looking and very pretty! You are very adventurous!

Cheers,

Rosa

Mercotte said...

Ils sont superbes et l'association crème de mascarpone et gelée va être un de must du livre de PH qui sort la semaine prochaine , j'ai eu la chance de déguster les nouveautés lors du lancement en juillet ...tu es tout à fait dans l'air du temps et j'ai aussi travaillé la gelée dans mon petit livre, framboise poivron assez sympa aussi !

Milli said...

THis is just so so so amazing...
I'll have to keep experimenting on macarons until they look like yours......

Suzana said...

Macaroons and berries in the same sentence sounds like heaven to me! Reminds me I'm yet to have a try at those beauties. Lovely photos, as usual. :)

ParisBreakfasts said...

WOW WOW WOW !
I can totally empathisize with B. and his Sherlockian detecting skills.
Can you please have a contest where the winner gets to peek in your freezer?
Even if it's just virtual via Flickr?
When am I going to get up the nerve to try to make these lill' darlings?
Hmmm...
Bet you saw that the Maitre has a new book coming out...
http://www.pierreherme.com/retrait-boutique/product.cgi?pid=833&cwsid=3628phAC194316ph2170631

I'll now go look at your pools of water..

Aran said...

Helen, I keep my macarons in the freezer too and trust me, my neighbors love it. I have found Gary a couple of times sneaking into the garage to steal a couple of macarons out of the freezer... I love that. Sharing macarons is such a pleasure... As always, fantastic!

RecipeGirl said...

These are just plain beautiful. Definitely too pretty to eat :)

It's funny that you don't consider yourself the authority on macarons because when I think of macarons... I happen to think of your blog in the same thought!

Carrie said...

Everything you make is beautiful, but these are simply...stunning!

Mobula said...

As always, woderful macarons!!!
Berries, cream cheese... sounds delicious!!

Ana

• friedl • said...

They look really beautiful. Almost a pity to eat them ;-)

Dani said...

these look wonderful.... i just wish i was confident enough to throw my hat into the macaron ring... some day maybe!

Botacook said...

Ces macarons sont superbes et aideront certainement à remonter le moral pendant l'hiver! J'ai beaucoup aimé le petit texte sur la tempête et ton attitude "zen" ;)

Judith said...

Everytime I see new macarons on your blog, or on some of the other French or bilingual blogs I read, I keep telling myself I will make them. I've never actually had a macaron! Maybe this will be the time. Too bad I used up all my egg whites on angel food cake. I'll have to get more at the Farmer's Market this morning.

Brilynn said...

Those are just gorgeous! I'm constantly in awe of the beautiful things that come out of your kitchen.

VeggieGirl said...

Hooray for more berries!! I can't get enough of them, ever.

Great tip about keeping the macarons in the freezer!

Kim said...

I am not surprised one bit that you would face a storm in such grand style with macarons! When you freeze your fruit do you do anything special or just as is?

Bridget said...

These make me happy just looking at them. :) The color is so beautiful and the cookies looks so cheerful!

amy said...

what a nice surprise to find in your freezer! and yes - let me tell you - chocolate cake is a MUST during stormy weather!

also - do you freeze your left over egg whites? what do you store them in? and how do you defrost them?

Dana McCauley said...

Don't feel like a moron, Amber. Macarons were new to me until a year ago and I profess to be up on things.

Tarty: those jellies look lovely!

Patricia Scarpin said...

Every time I see macarons, I think of you, my friend - and because you are so generous about everything you know on food and baking, I'm in the kitchen now, trying to make my first batch of macarons. You are the inspiration for me right now!

xoxo

Clumbsy Cookie said...

Why, although you're using summer berris I can only think of Christmas?! Theire color is brilliant, the filling is genious so they are delicious for sure!
Hope Hanna leaves you alone!

Elra said...

I love macarons and I must admit that this is my favorite cookie.
Like every blogger out there, I also tried to make it and it turned out just okay. I must follow your tutorial next time and hopefully it will be (almost) perfect like your.

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

Those are the pinkest macarons ever! My granddaughter is into all things pink now -- it would be such fun to make these for her birthday party.

Dwiana P said...

great macarons! one of the cookies that I am afraid to make it as I see many people fail making those. Yours truly look wonderful.

also nice of food styling! great inspiration.

chefectomy said...

Helen,

I have a daughter with nut allergies and I noticed you used ground almonds for the shells. I want to make this. Can I leave the almond out or is it necessary to include for the shells to turn out right?

Wonderful post, as usual.

--Marc

Esra said...

Oh, I fell in love with these pink macarons. They are perfect !

StickyGooeyCreamyChewy said...

Mother Nature can certainly be a b*tch when she gets angry! I think a few of those stunning macarons could calm her down!

I hope that you both fared the storm okay. Now, we just have to figure out what Ike is going to do.

Tartelette said...

Amy: I never freeze whites. Not that I am against it but there is always something I want to make with them! I know that people freeze them in ice cube trays and use them with good results.

Mard: almonds or a combo of almonds and other nuts is the essence of the cookie. I am not familiar with nut substitutes that would work with those. Let me do a little research and see what I can find.

Edward said...

Ha no way! great minds must think alike - i made strawberry macarons today and i used an italian meringue for the first time, they turned out great my best yet

gkbloodsugar said...

Zingy!

Lovely post, and I think the new header is awesome.

cindy* said...

what charming little macarons! now that i have conquered my first batch all i can think about are macarons. delicious!

Lesley said...

Macarons have become one of my "specialties". Like anything, practice makes perfect. What I so appreciate about your site is that you give me new flavors to do all the time! I might try these next week!

PheMom said...

These macs are so very pretty! Just wanted you to know that I just gave my fireplace mantle (a nice solid maple) a few really good knocks for you! I don't want you to have a swimming pool in your garage! (Though I think a storm is an excellent reason for chocolate cake - though really, chocolate cake is its own reason in this house LOL!)

Mallory Elise said...

i want to make macarons so bad! grrr!

Cookie baker Lynn said...

What gorgeous photos! Sending prayers your way for no hurricanes or power outages.

Esi said...

Your macarons look beautiful and I love the sound of the cheesecake buttercream. I wish red currants grew around here, they are so beautiful in pictures!

Cakebrain said...

When you post about macarons, I'm here! Gee whiz, Helen, you have a knack for these little cookies. I love the deep red colour you achieved and your food styling is gorgeous! I wish I could get a hang of taking better photos!

Mike of Mike's Table said...

Not an authority on macarons? You have turned out so many delightful twists on these and I never tire of them. They look absolutely beautiful

Jude said...

Still working up the courage to try out macarons. Wish me luck!

Fifi Flowers said...

That's it... I'm poppingover for a visit... macarons on hand for visitors... WOW!
They are so pretty and colourful... I adore them! And no... I still have not had one since June... no place close enough... so sad!

Leonor said...

I'm addicted to macarons but I've never tried to make some...

Yours look just D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S!!
...as everything you do... :)

Zita said...

Saw it on FG, I knew by then they were yours w/ out even clicking...

berry macaron... mmm bery berry berrylicious :)

pea & pear said...

Oh the world of macarons is spinning out of control.. I am scared....and there you are just making macarons willy nilly ;) these look so delicious!!!! I am sad that I will never master macarons.

Alexa said...

Coucou Helene,
I have been through a devastating earthquake and a 1 week long power outage in the middle of winter... I agree with you being prepared is essential and having some special treats on hand helps deal with the stress you are going through... A gentle reminder that everything will be okay. Tes macarons sont tres elegants et ont l'air super bons.

creampuff said...

Ah, macarons. One of the last baking frontiers for me ... but perhaps you should provide me with a life's supply. Then I don't have to worry about conquering a new world.

Yes. Good idea.

So ... when can I expect my first shipment???

mimi said...

gorgeous, as always! the color is so beautiful without being too bright. do you think you can use liquid food coloring or only powder? glad to know you can freeze them too!

Anita said...

I love the idea of cutting out the red berry jellies! Your neighborhood sounds so lovely and warm, even when unexpected things like storms happen!

Maria said...

gorgeous macarons! That tutorial really helped us out. We love making macarons. Berry is next on the list! Thanks for being our macaron inspiration!

mr.sound and mrs.sound said...

Honestly speaking this makes my mouth watery. I really go back and forth looking at your photos here. Same goes to this article post about parisian macaroons. A lot of variety of colors and very very delicious looking macarons. Love it!
http://www.foodista.com/2008/02/26/parisian-macaroons/

My Sweet & Saucy said...

Love the cream cheese filling! Sometimes macarons can be a little too sweet for me, but these sound like they have just the right combo of flavors!

Tartelette said...

Mimi:Powdered food coloring is prefered because it does not add any moisture to the batter. If you use liquid coloring, make sure not to add to much and add it before the batter is completely folded so that you can monitor how liquid your batter gets. Most people make the mistake of adding the liquid coloring at the end of folding and then fold some more to mix it in and that's where the macarons will crack on you.

linda said...

I wish I would find something like that in my freezer ;) Lovely macaron and filling. Love the colour you used for the macaron.

simplesong said...

oh these look DIVINE! you are so incredibly talented.

glamah16 said...

I dont know if I ever told you, but that Macaron tutorial was the best! The first ones I made came out pretty decent. Beautiful creations as always and I hope things stay controlable down there.

That Girl said...

There's something so fresh and captivating about currants, all brights, shiny, and red.

Lori said...

How funny... macaroons were on my docket for tomorrow! I am deciding between two flavors. I have the egg whites sitting on the counter right now. Too funny.

As always your pictures are impeccable. I bow to you oh Queen of Pastry (said with lots of endearment)!

Bunny said...

I don't think there's a bone in your body that could make something ugly!! They are beautiful, the color is amazing!

Camille said...

My husband is now looking over my shoulder and first he saw Aran's blog and I said, "Here is another you must see!" I clicked onto your blog. He loves berries, especially raspberries so, as he said with Aran's, he said with yours, "You have to make these!" I think he should not look over my shoulder too much..makes him hungry.

These look fantastic and I love the last photo!

Peabody said...

Berry fabulous! You have them down to a science now.

Vera said...

Helen, these are picture perfect!

Dalybeth said...

I'm ready to try again. I am ending the cookie section of the Handbook and want to end it on a happy note. I will spend the rest of the month making Macaroons if I have to until I get them right.

Sara said...

I love macarons and especially love currants. I get a black currant macaron at a bakery here in San Francisco that's amazing. Your creations are always so beautiful.

strawberriesinparis said...

oh sweet!! I'm so happy to see more of the reason I originally fell in love with your blog! Beautiful Helen!

Vanillaorchid said...

your macarons are really really fantastic and perfect!!

I really love them.

Zoe Francois said...

I need one of those! They are so lovely and just what I crave. I made lemon curd so I have a whole lot of egg whites that need using up.

Marcello Valentino said...

io non so se parli Italiano...Devo complimentarmi con te per i tuoi piatti e per le tue foto.....
A presto.

Ruby said...

I was so excited when I read your recipe! Not only do the macarons look fabulous, the recipe is also gluten-free! Almond flour is a staple of my reccent adventure into gluten-free cooking (due to my husband's allergy). I had no idea you could use almond flour for something so luscious. :) Oh, and the fried stawberries on an earlier post - also gluten free! So, thanks againg for your inspiring blog and innovations in the kitchen.

Em said...

I just love your dessert photos so much! How beautiful! :)

miri said...

To me you ARE an authority in the macarons matter - you make them so perfect and you're always so creative in their flavors and colors - just beautiful! Wonderful photos and styling, as always!

Philo said...

Tes macarons sont magnifiques !
PS : Si tu veux des carambars je peux t'en faire parvenir gratuitement, si tu es tentée fais-moi signe

Satisfying my Sweet Tooth said...

I am pretty new to the food blog world, and I'm completely impressed with your beautiful food! You can never have too many good berry recipes and I especially can't wait to try the fried strawberries! You are amazing!

Y said...

A tropical storm definitely calls for chocolate cake, yessiree! I have a question regarding freezing macarons though - I've done it in the past when I've made too many, but after defrosting them in the fridge, I find they're usually softer and have lost the crunch of the shell. Do you have a trick that prevents this from happening? My defrosted ones never taste as good, texturally, as the fresh ones, such that it almost seems pointless to freeze them in the first place.

Tartelette said...

Y: I never encountered a problem with freezing them. I put them in an airtight container type Tupperware line with a double layer of plastic wrap and store them in the top part of my freezer, which is closer to the fridge (I have a bottom pulled down freezer).

Deborah said...

I love the color of these! Just gorgeous! And a perfect snack to hideaway for a stormy day.

Jen Yu said...

Good grief. More temptation with macarons. You are too much! I love the berry jelly especially. That alone is worth the price of admission, my dear. Good thing I wasn't there, or you'd not have had any jellies left for your macarons. I really will make macarons some day (with your tutorial no less!).

Jaime said...

Ooooooh, you made these come out so perfectly. Thank you for stopping by my blog. You are very talented. I'll be here again for sure.

Ashley said...

Absolutely beautiful.

nat said...

hi, i have tried this macaron recipe twice already and both times i just can't seem to get the macaron out it gets stuck to the parchment sheet even though i put some hot water to ease out the macaron. I followed the recipe pretty closely except for the powdered food colouring part, i use liquid food colouring instead. Is it because of the colouring therefore i have a fragile shell and sticky macaron?

Tartelette said...

nat: yes it could be due to the liquid coloring depending on how much you used. One way around it would be to add some meringue powder or 1 Tb almond powder+ 1 Tb powdered sugar to the mix. One other thing would be to add a few minutes of baking.

Hope that helps.

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Kimberli said...

You're pictures are beautiful. I can't wait to try these recipes out myself. Quick question..I see that the amt of sugar varies from recipe to recipe of 30g - 50g (ie black and white macaron, vs berry macaron)..what quantity of granulated sugar do you recommend?

Tuquynh said...

I've been desperately craving good macarons ever since I got home from Paris and finally got up the nerve to do it (with your blogs help!) tonight. Just wanted to say thanks and freaking spot on! :) My roomates and I are ridiculously happy right now:)

Tabitha said...

I love coming to your blog for reassurance and tips on macarons. You make them seem so simple, there's no dread when I read your recipes, unlike a lot of other sites (my blog included).

It's funny, the first time I tried my hand at them was 4 years ago when I was stuck at home because of tornado warnings and sightings around town. Thought I'd just share that tidbit.

Allison said...

I love making meringues and marshmallows, but I've never tried macarons. Thank you for the step by step instructions. I can do this, I think!!

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