Creme Brulee Pistachio Macarons

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Creme Brulee Macarons

Thank you immensely for the warm birthday wishes and emails. You guys are the best! Phew! This past week was filled with opportunities to take me away from updating more often. Work related issues to ponder, projects, family. I decided to put my mind on a break for a few days. Break is over now. Does that happen to you too? This feeling that the cup is full and you need to just press "pause" for a couple of days? There is always a sweet moment involved for me though. One filled with Creme Brulee Pistachio Macarons for example. As good as a red rose on your birthday.

Jen emailed me recently that she was making macarons and that sent me into a mini brainstorming session. I quickly replied with "I've had this idea for a while to make a creme brulee filled macarons. I just need to sit on the logistics for a minute". I pretty much knew how to go about it but there is always this doubt that your idea may be better in your head than the actual production.

Creme Brulee Macarons

When I told Bill about it, he gave me this look of "You and your macaron ideas! Why?". In a cocky French way I simply replied "I want Pierre Herme to personally email me and say "I give up - You win". Yes, just that. I am never that bold about what I do which surprised me a great deal. I am such a dork! I think I even scared Y one evening we were talking about it and she got utterly confused when I said "I am having a throw down with Pierre Herme, except he does not know about it. It's all in my head".

What can I say? Engineering macarons relaxes my brain cells.


For the filling I used a basic creme brulee recipe, and baked it into an 8x8 square pan lined with foil and set in a larger roasting pan filled with water. I turned the heat lower than for regular creme brulees and watched it carefully. Once baked and cooled to room temperature I refrigerated the pan overnight before using it in the macaron. To fill, I used a small cookie cutter and cut out rounds in the baked creme brulee, gently lifted them onto a macaron shell and topped it with another one. Make sure to refrigerate these a couple of hours before eating so that all the flavors have the chance to meld. Take these out of the refrigerator only 15 to 20 minutes before serving. The creme brulee my turn on you or become too soft to be handled properly.

Speaking of engineering... I've got something to share with you that has me so excited I could burst!! Two weeks from now Bill and I will be sitting down with Jen and Jeremy at a table at The Kitchen. In Colorado. Yeah!! B. is going there for work and Jen graciously invited me over so I could spend some time with her in the kitchen, in town and on the trails. When all the oks came in, I started mapping out the drive, getting guides, etc... Yes, you read right, we are driving the 1700 miles or so to get there. We are well aware of all the bumps in the road (no pun intended) with a road trip but I plan on making a bunch of sweet treats to smooth things out if needed. No argument can last long with a macaron in hand!

Creme Brulee Macarons

One year ago: Lemon Madeleines.
Two years ago: Rhubarb Cupcakes.

Creme Brulee Pistachio Macarons:

For the shells:
90 gr egg whites (preferably aged overnight in the fridge or on your countertop if the kitchen is relatively cool)
30 gr granulated sugar
200 gr powdered sugar
55 gr almonds
55 gr raw pistachios
powdered green food coloring (I only used a tiny amount to bump up the green from the nuts)

For the creme brulee filling:
1/2 cup (125ml) whole milk
1/2 cup (125ml) heavy cream
1/2 vanilla bean, seeded (see note)
1/4 cup (50gr) sugar
2 egg yolks

In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites to a foam, (think bubble bath foam) gradually add the sugar until you obtain a glossy meringue (think shaving cream). Do not overbeat your meringue or it will be too dry. Place the powdered sugar, almonds and pistachios in a food processor and give them a good pulse until the nuts are finely ground. Add them to the meringue along with some food coloring if using, give it a quick fold to break some of the air and then fold the mass carefully until you obtain a batter that falls back on itself after counting to 10. 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 or silicone mats lined baking sheets. Let the macarons sit out for 30 minutes to an hour to harden their shells a bit. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 280F. When ready, bake for 15 to 20 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. To fill: pipe or spoon about 1 big tablespoon of butterceam in the center of one shell and top with another one.

Prepare the creme brulee filling:
Preheat the oven to 300F and position a rack in the enter. Line a 8x8-inch square pan with foil and lightly coat with cooking spray or melted butter. Place this pan in a larger roasting pan and set aside.
In a medium saucepan set over medium heat bring the milk, heavy cream and vanilla bean seeds to a simmer. In the meantime, whisk together the sugar and egg yolk together in a large bowl until the mixture is pale. When the milk/cream is hot, slowly pour it over the egg yolk and sugar, whisking constantly to prevent the eggs from curddling. Let the mixture cool to room temperature, skim the foam on top and pour it into the prepared baking pan. Fill the roasting pan with water so that it comes about halfway up the side of the creme brulee pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. It is ok if the center still appears a little wiggly. It will set as it cools.
Let cool to room temperature before refirgerating preferably overnight.
Note: to seed a vanilla bean: place it on a flat surface and cut it in half lenghtwise without cutting all the way through. Scrape the seeds inside with a pairing knife. You can add both seeds and pods to the milk and cream as they heat up but remove the pod before whisking the liquids into the eggs and sugar.
Do not throw away your bean! Wash it, let it dry and add to some sugar for vanilla scented sugar in a pinch.

When ready to assemble the macarons, cut out rounds smaller than the diameters of the shells into the brulee filling and place it on top of a shell. Top with a second one but do not press down.

105 comments:

Christy said...

Helen, firstly, let me wish you a happy belated birthday!! Second, creme brulee filling is a fantastic idea!! Now I'm wondering if I can do it with bavarian cream...hmm..And I don't think that I've read about you going on a vacation before, so have a good play (in two weeks' time) in Colorado.

Cakelaw said...

What a clever way to get the creme brulee in the middle. These look amazing and I am sure that they taste amazing too!

Manggy said...

Have fun in CO! Of course, that goes without saying right? :) I had a creme brulee macaron at Macaron in Manhattan, but it was unpleasantly syrupy and just... weird. There's nothing supposed to be very complex about it, but I think they tried to incorporate the burnt sugar flavor into it... Not horrible, but not the best possible result either. On the other hand, these look delicate and beautiful :)

My comfort food network said...

As usual this is mouthwatering. I want to try this, where can I get the pastry bags and tips(bed bath and beyond/williams sonoma)? Any place you recommend? Thanks.

Ciao Chow Linda said...

Oh my goodness those creme brulee pistachio macarons are just heavenly looking. You came up with another brilliant winner. And those photos - well - they're just perfection. Enjoy the trip.

Maybe said...

Quelle bonne idée de mettre un disque de crème brûlée telle quelle dans le macaron ! Pour répondre à ta question, oui, parfois je me dis qu'il faudrait que je prenne l'air pour mieux revenir... mais jusque là j'ai toujours eu envie de continuer ! PS : Petite veinarde pour ton road trip dans le Colorado !!

Julia @ Mélanger said...

Beautiful. I love macarons. I wish I could get a really clean background on my photos. Any hints on white balance control???

Ria said...

Wowie! That's a stunner!! Helen, I have recieved an award and would like to share it with you, its up on my blog.. please collect it :)

Aran said...

How cool you get to go to Colorado and meet Jen! Something fabulous will come out of that I bet. The macarons look crunchy, creamy, nutty and lovely!

Char said...

wow - those are beautiful and I'm so happy to hear your birthday was rather wonderful. they say the test of a good marriage is a road trip but I think you have it handled. Have a great time.

Shuna Fish said...

I have this crazy, pastry chef-approved, method for making really thick creme brulee mixture for filling. It shouldn't work, but it does.

Make CB appareil.
Pour it into a metal bowl over a lot of boiling water/full bain marie.
Whisk off an on for at least an hour.
Mixture will come together slightly, and then it will break.
Keep it over steam and whisk it occasionally until it is so broken you feel disgusted with yourself.
Then keep it on some more.
Re-emulsify custard with a hand- blender or Vitamix.
Chill over ice bath.

When this mixture is done correctly it is quenelle-able!

p.s. I am meeting all the European pistachio pastes I can at the moment and there are some amazing ones made with Sicilian & Iranian pistachios!

Engineer Baker said...

Wow, that's a lot of driving! I'm glad you had a wonderful birthday and a nice little break. Hard for it not to be nice with those macarons though!

Jen Yu said...

I'm so happy it worked! LOVE your CB idea - you are, as always, brilliant! And I cannot wait to see you. Even though I have over 1000 posts to catch up on my reader feed, I had to come see what you've been up to this week :) Hurray!!! xxoo

anna said...

I love that filling! I come up with a lot of macaron concepts, but need to purchase some special ingredients before I can make them, and I don't have a lot of expendable money for obscure ingredients right now. Have a great trip!

Tartelette said...

Anna: same here, cash is very limited for us too so you won't be seeing any fancy ingredients here either! If you do, that is because it was a gift from a reader or my parents!!
Good luck with the macs experiments!

Janet Rudolph said...

Sound fabulous!

Deeba @Passionate About Baking said...

Have a great great time (& drive) to CO Helen. Am sure the drive is going to be enjoyable & challenging too! Those macarons are fabulous...& do take me back to the DB challenge with the yule log & creme brulee insert...LOL! Now you take it to another level altogether. WOW!! Love the new blog image too...very nice indeed!

kellypea said...

Love the delicate color of these, and not much I can say about the idea other than SWOON. Creme brulee? Oh my oh my.

cindy* said...

the macs are lovely as ever! and your trip sounds fantastic, you two ladies are going to have a crazy/fun time!

Mallory Elise said...

first-there is nothing dorky about engineering macarons; drawing cakes and desserts is how i got through algebra and psych 101 this semester, hehe. and you already have taken down Herme, theres no more competition.

have fun in colorado! im about to go on a trip too :P

ladyironchef said...

this is super duper cool. I was thinking whether i saw wrongly when i read the title, creme brulee macaron? what an ingenious idea! is it possible to do tiramisu macaron? :D

Julia McAlpine said...

Ooo, great idea! I love macarons and my boyfriend is obsessed with creme brulee! Perfect way to compromise!

Garrett said...

You surprise me every time with your creations! Inspired me to get back on that list of cupcake ideas I have tucked in a drawer! Beautiful shots as always!

The Cooking Photographer said...

Ok, finally I'll brave it and make macarons. How can I resist with you around?

Zita said...

Ha... just dare you dream ,you never know one day it might come true...I personally think PH should get together with you and make this macaron flavor that's just out of the world :)

Cindy Ruth said...

What a fabulous sounding combination! And beautiful as always. I've got to try to make macarons one of these days.

baharr bahar said...

you are the best! i wanted to make creme brulee last week to my boy friend. But this saturday his sisters' brithday and i planned to make her macarons. thank you so much , this recipe will be the best present to them . :)

Cindy Khor said...

happy belated birthday to you!!! the macarons looks elegant

Snooky doodle said...

oh these macaroons look super yummy :) Photos are amazing!

Petra :-) said...

happy birthday :-) oh these macarons are looking so mouthwatering...and the colours....I just cutted two days ago shimmering, iridescent silk in a similar shade and dark red one for new projects...like the rose on the picture ;-)

Philo said...

Ganache originale et comme toujours tes photos sont belles. Tu me donnes envie d'aller en cuisine mais il est tout de même 23h10 ici donc c'est mon lit que je vais rejoindre.

Cathy said...

Oh, you've read my mind. I bought pistachio macarons at Laduree two weeks ago and am dying to try them. You've given me courage to give it a go.

zaida said...

what a beautifull photo-composition and the macarons look... mmmmm, delicious!

Cookinette said...

Creme brulée and pistachios - what a great combo! I am sitting on egg whites, and I was thinking about using them for baiser, but given this inspiration, I will give the macaroons a shot.
Best wishes to Pierre Hermé - he better be prepared ;)

Bryan said...

these are really pretty! i love your numerous variants of macarons!

i wonder though if there's a way to get the actual brulee part involved?

in a manner similar to adding small pieces of fruit gelee to the center of some macarons, perhaps a small flat of super thin caramel-sugar could be added into the finished sandwich?
it would have to be thin so you dont tear up the inside of your mouth, but also, it would sort of dissolve and fuse with the creme and create a nice toasty brulee flavor!

Bron said...

I'd take your macarons over PH's any day! ;-)

Barbara said...

Not only sounds delicious, but looks heavenly. I cannot wait to try them.

Lori said...

Cant wait to see what the two of you cook up or bake up! What fun, driving across the country.

The macarons, well you are an engineering macaron genius!

Nags said...

i love pista flavoured anything! beauiful pics, as usual :)

Elyse said...

Sorry that I’ve been an absent commenter; I just finished up my law school exams and am finally getting around to my google reader. These macarons are genius! I think you're totally going to beat Pierre :) Great job! Can't wait to try these out.

Helene said...

Oh quelle excellent idée les macarons à la crème brûlée. Aussi je lis sur ton voyage et le Colorado est un endroit que j'aimerais bien visiter un jour. Je vais suivre les aventures.

Nirmala said...

These one one another reat looking macaroons. But I feel they did not rise to the usual levels or I migh be wrong. I have drooled enough on eye-candying all u;'re macaroon pics and this appears to be bit lower than the suual puffiness. But they look great! BTW did you get my banner image ? Did u like it?

Tartelette said...

Nirmala: as long as they have feet, macarons are either flat or fat. Flatter ones are actually closer to the ones you would find in pastry shops in France, like Pierre Herme's and Laduree. They are also more tender. I would not put a macaron up if it was defective or having a bad hair day!
Thank you very much for the header (it was mispelled though) and for the birthday thought!

Tartelette said...

Forgot...
Bryan: it's a great thought but one I am keeping for the winter months! As Maangy suggested it, the caramel could turn into a puddle of goo in no time under humid weather like there is right now where i live.

african vanielje said...

Helene, I love a woman who can't resist a challenge. Not that you look like the underdog. I think the throw down already has a winner. I can't think of a better flavour combo, and I love the delicate colours. Have a great road trip.

veron said...

Yum, this opens more possibilities for macaron fillings...I always wanted to try a custard type filling as they are not too sweet. Pictures are gorgeous....and why are you mapping out the drive...trying to make sure Bill stays on track and do not take the back roads? ;)

Mercotte said...

Toujours aussi réjouissant de passer chez toi et bravo pour ta bannière elle est topissime !

heroin_e said...

happy belated birthday! i know you had a wonderful one. :) (as opposed to "i hope you had...")

Tartelette said...

Veron: no, I am mapping the route so I know he takes the right back roads. We have had funny experiences driving through Louisianna and Tennessee on our last road trip!

Chia's Perspective said...

Helen, I made pistachio macarons the other day. And, I had some creme brulee in the refrigerator, so husband and I tried to put on shells. What a coincidence. Macarons have become our favorite snacks in the house.

Chia

chocolatecup said...

ingenious really:)

Patricia said...

You win in my book...your macarons are exquisite and I can only imagine how heavenly they taste...they are perfect in colour and form! besides...you don't come up with macarons flavoured with foie gras, so my vote for the ultimate macarons goes to YOU!!! BEAUTEOUS AS EVER!!

oneshotbeyond said...

these are truly light and beautiful. Happy belated B Day!

ann ju said...

these look amazing.

limonana said...

ahhh i've missed your work...allows for some delicious daydreams!

Marija said...

You win if you ask me :)

Cynthia said...

Belated happy birthday hon!

Nirmala said...

Sorry Helen, my comment is not to offend you but thought the ingredients would have made some effect. Its known to the world that you were the Queen of macaroons and honestly I have never seen/tasted a macaroon and hence trying hard to create it at home as its not available in India as far as I know. Have sent a new header with the right spelling. You are so modest :)

Tartelette said...

Nirmala: not offended in the least. Usually takes way more than that. A lot of factors contribute to the many looks of a macarons. As long as they have feet and are not hollow inside, you're fine.
And so not accepting that title!

Tartelette said...

Julia@melanger: for the white balance I customize my own everytime I shoot. It takes a little time at first but now I am used to it. If you use DSLR, your camera should have a function for you to set it up each time.

Juliana said...

Creme brulee...I already love it...such a nice idea...very unique as always. The pictures are great.

Cakebrain said...

I didn't think it was possible to incorporate two of my favourite desserts into one little cute package! the flavour must be fantastic!

Fifi Flowers said...

You kill me with all these FAB macarons... and the colour of these is enough to throw me overboard!
LOVE your blog!

Bonbon Oiseau said...

um, can i just say it? you win!! pierre herme's got nothing on you helen!
on friday we had a little dinner party and a friend brought macarons from bouchon--the larger ones, like little hamburger sized ones---they were possibly the best i've ever had...i am addicted...

Patricia Scarpin said...

You surprise me every time, darling - what a wonderful flavor for a macaron, and I just love the idea of cutting little rounds of creme brulee for the filling! Genius!

Oh, can't wait to see what you two darlings will prepare together... :D

Aimée said...

What fun to be Colorado bound! Keep us in the loop on Twitter!

Sunshinemom said...

Fantastic read as always! That is really good - engg. macaron ideas relaxes your brain cells!! No wonder you come up trumps each time:)

PheMom said...

I have absolutely no doubt that the two of you will make it the most wonderful road trip possible! I can't wait to hear all about it!

As for your throwdown, well, that email could be arriving shortly if you keep it up at this pace! ;)

Joyce said...

Helen I so want to try this recipe. I have yet to tackle macarons out of fear, but these look so.... good! Enjoy... xoox

Inge said...

Hi there, i'm a total virgin when it comes to macroons, so the question is, if I have almonds which are already ground, will the weight amount be the same for the receipe or less. I really do want to make these! Thank you for a great blog.
Inge.

ro-chan said...

HI,your macarons look really divine! and creme brulee is such a creative idea. i can't wait to try it out. i'm just not sure about singapore's warm temperature.

LyB said...

Well, at least a 1700 mile drive is bound to give you a few photo opportunities! :) Once again, I am in awe at your macaron prowess. Pierre Hermé better be careful!

farida said...

Helene, your macaroons looks great! love the addition of pistachios to them. BTW, I made your almond macaroon sandwiches from Desserts Mag. turned out great! I will blog about them on my blog soon. Thanks for the recipe!

PS: Happy belated b-day to you!

Y said...

How beautiful! I love the many flavours of macarons that people seem to keep coming up with (like Mr. Herme!). Although, no punch-ups please.. I'm sure you'd win hands down anyway ;)

Anita said...

These are soo pretty and such a lovely flavour combination! Thanks for the great recipe and I hope you had a beautiful birthday!

Eileen said...

As soon as I have some time, I am going to make these. I have had so much fun with macarons recently and I love this flavor combination. Hope you had a great birthday. I celebrated mine also last week.

Fuji Mama said...

Happy Birthday!!! As usual I'm way behind. Sigh. You so deserve that throw down...the macaron episode of Iron Chef!

Jenny said...

Sigh, I've missed being able to take the time to drool over your creations.
And I must have anticipated you this week as I actually bought some almond meal a few days ago!

Randy said...

90 gr of egg white is from how many eggs? Thanks!

Tartelette said...

Randy: depending on the size of your eggs it can be either 2 or 3.

hoganfe said...

This recipe is so unique I can't wait to try it thank you!

mary
hoganfe handmade
handbag originals

youfei said...

Hi Helen,

I've just made some macarons yesterday and they were pretty yummy. My only concern is that the shells are pretty soft and delicate. They crack under a little pressure and they are really soft with bitten into. They've soften up alot more after a night in the fridge and does not have a slight crisp shell anymore.

Any idea why the shells are so soft? Could they be underbaked?

Tartelette said...

Youfei: if the shells lifted easily from the paper, I don't think they were underbaked. I am going to venture it is the humidity where you are. Singapore, right?

youfei said...

Hi Helen,

Yep yep! I'm in Singapore =) Hmm perhaps you are right, it was pouring heavily actually when I made those little sweet things.

I'm trying it again and those shells are drying now. I'll see if it gets better today =)

Thanks alot!!

Amira said...

I know this was written in May but I had to comment cos this made me chuckle. I know exactly what you mean about things maybe being better in your head! But I bet this turned out amazing - creme brulee and pistachio, what a combination!

misstangguo said...

Love your recipe, my only issue is that i tried making macaron 10 times, all failed...


In singapore... the warm is killin them, i tried from kitchen to livingroom, to now, racking in my bedroom and oning the air-con at 18 degrees and fan, waited 4 hours still not dry...

I wonder how and i wonder why...

DessertForTwo said...

I'm pretty sure this is the most delicious recipe I've ever seen. So original! In my mind, you've already beat Pierre! Keep it up! :)

galit said...

I just made these macaroon and as much as i thought everything went well and looked great, the marangue came out a little too dry and solid, especially in the outer shell. Do you have an idea why it might have happened?

Tartelette said...

glait: easy answer: could have been overbaked.
Important answer/question: did you eat them right away?
It is imperative to let the macarons sit, filled at least 24 hrs in the fridge before eating. 48 hours is best.It soften the shells without making it mushy.

Ai Bake House said...

Hi Helene,

Were you using an electric oven to bake your macarons? Or you used a gas oven?

Helene said...

Ai Bake House: I use electric convection oven.

Huong said...

Hi, I love your recipes and try them out whenever I can.
I made these pistachio macarons many times. ....the first few times they came out perfectly. However lately everytime I make them they crack and do not form any feet. I haven't done any different since from the first time until now.
Cracking happens within 2-3 minutes into the oven. I use a gas oven and live in mid-michigan , do you have any guesses why it happens?

Helene said...

Huong: it's very difficult for me to tell you what could have happened if you say you have not done anything different from the first time.

Huong said...

Would the dryness in the air have anything to do with it? Right now it's starting to get cold and it's really, really dry. I only let them stand 20 or so minutes and they already have nice skins formed. Still..they crack.

Helene said...

Huong: I doubt it, if anything the lack of humidity usually helps. Check your folding and the meringue just to make sure you are doing exactly the same thing as before.

bealight.star said...

Tartelette,

i made the macaron twice, i got the macaron's leg :)) but the top is cracking too easily, when i bite the macaron, the top one is kind of hallow/crumbly? the middle part is all right i think.....do you what's the problem of my macaron? thank :)

Huong said...

Hey Helene! I have retried making shells of all flavors many times. I've figured out for me that the way I pipe them has a great impact on the outcome (cracked/not). Before I piped it in a way to make them perfectly round every time, however..this made them crack. I didn't think it would impact the result but it did. I changed that.
Now, I have another problem. They form amazing little feet but as soon as i take them out of the oven they deflate and the feet become squished and thin. Is there some factors about this that i'm not thinking of?
Again, it's still pretty cold here..are they going through "shock" from the hot oven, to cold surface?

Thanks a lot!

Helene said...

Huong: sounds like they just need to cook longer.

Yoshiko said...

Hello Hélène,

Thank you so much for the wonderful recipes you share with us.

I have been trying to make this specific macaron recipe for some time, but I think I need to pick your brain, if you will allow me. I first made these with the ingredients at the quantities specified in the recipe. They came out wonderfully - smooth tops, nice feet, tender interior. I did think that they were a bit too sweet for me, so I cut the sugar by 25% the next time I made them. They came out puffy with no feet and deflated as they cooled. At first, I thought it was because of the way I had folded the meringue and the nuts, but I have made the recipe another three times, each with different ways of folding, and I keep getting the same results. Is the lack of sugar keeping me from producing the feet?

Thank you!

Helene said...

Yoshiko: yes, reducing the sugar will create those problems. Macarons are not eaten as cookies but more confections in Europe. They are by nature sweet.

Yoshiko said...

Got it. Thank you!

Christine said...

Hello Helene! First I would like to say how much I love your blog... Amazing food and photos! Thank you so much for sharing your recipes with us!!
Now to my question: Where can I find raw pistachios? I've looked online and they are pretty expensive so I was wondering if I could make with roasted ones?
Thank you again! Can't wait to try making these...

Phoebe Ho said...

hello!!
is it alright to multiply the recipe by 2? will it affect the quality of the macarons?

jhkang356 said...

Instead of grinding the almonds in a food processor, can I just use almond meal/flour? If the answer is yes, how much almond meal/flour, do you think I would need?

Helene said...

jhkang356: yes you can and in the same amount.
Good luck!

Tartelette All rights reserved © Blog Milk - Powered by Blogger