Membrillo & Mascarpone Macarons
Husband (giddy): yay…macarons! What kind?
Me (matter of fact): they are filled with mascarpone and a bit of membrillo left over from the shoot the other day.
Husband (amused): did you make them for Valentine’s Day?
Me (in my best Mrs Patmore impersonation): why on earth would I do that?
Me: well you know what I mean. We don’t really do Valentine’s Day here so I did not make them for that. Specifically. I made them for you. Specifically.
Me: dude! It’s been 14 years we haven’t cared much about that cheesy holiday and "awkward!-I forgot-a-card" day. So why push my buttons about it now?
Him: no reason. I just love seeing you scrambling…and I like to push your button. Specifically.
Fast forward to this morning. I did get him a card. And he did give me one. We were both at the grocery store yesterday and stopped by the stationary. I started flipping through the fun card and one made me giggle. So I got it. He did the same. They were fun cards. They made us giggle. And that will be the extent of our Valentine’s Day (he’s got a gig tonight).
I am not going to be the one whining about all the pink hearts and red cupids. They might burn a whole through my skull today too but I might have gotten softer in the last few years. Indeed, I am pretty sure I don’t dislike V-Day. I don’t like it either. I hate the pressure it adds for people in new relationships or in rocky ones. I like that it can give someone the wings to make a first step or to get someone out of the dog house.
Why doesn’t it phase me more than that? We are happily and giddily married. We don’t wait for February 14th to extend a nice gesture, to add a nice words, to exchange a card (I often tuck one in his bag before work). But I dig the idea of an extra hug, an extra "I love you" and a extra kiss. Most of all I like the idea of taking an extra minute to be grateful for my husband’s love and generosity towards me and my family.
Similar to Thanksgiving, we don’t wait for that day in November to be thankful for the things we have and enjoy, for the people we love and who love us back. Just like on Thanksgiving, today I said an extra "thank you" to Bill for the wonderful person he is to me. I did it yesterday. But I might forget at some point some day next year, next week. And I’d be silly to pass on an extra hug today. Anyday.
It does not have to be a dozen roses, a fancy card or a box of chocolates. Or it might. Whatever makes one feel and be a little extra kind today. I can rally behind that.
An extra bit of kindness had never hurt anyone. It would probably make the world go a little rounder too. So here is my virtual extra hug and "thank you" today for your love and generosity towards this blog and what I share with you.
Membrillo Mascarpone Macarons:
Makes about 30 macarons (depending on size)
Notes: I can’t post the exact recipe used for the membrillo (a.k.a quince paste) used to fill these macarons since the recipe is from a book not yet published (next Fall).
But I would direct you to Simply Recipes post on membrillo which I have made several times with great success.
For the macarons shells:
200 gr powdered sugar
110 gr almonds (slivered, blanched, sliced, whatever you like)
90 gr egg whites (use egg whites that have been preferably left 3-4 days in the fridge in a lidded container)(explanation here)
50 gr granulated sugar
Place the powdered sugar and almonds in a food processor and give them a good pulse until the nuts are finely ground. Sift if desired (helps keep the shells smooth in appearance).
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.
Add the nuts and powdered sugar to the meringue, 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 onto parchment paper or silicone mats lined baking sheets. Let the macarons sit out for 30 minutes to an hour to dry their shells.
When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 280F.
Bake the macarons for 15 to 20 minutes, depending on their size. Let cool.
Once baked and if you are not using them right away, store the shells in an airtight container out of the fridge for a couple of days or in the freezer for up to 2 weeks (longer and the sugar starts to seep out which makes them sticky). Fill the macarons and let them mature in the fridge at least 48 hours prior to eating them.
For the membrillo:
Follow recipe on Simply Recipes.
For the mascarpone filling:
8 oz (210gr) mascarpone, at room temperature (or substitute cream cheese)
2-3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons heavy cream
Prepare the mascarpone filling:
In a large bowl, whisk together the mascarpone and sugar until smooth. Add the vanilla and the heavy cream and whisk until all the ingredients are incoporated.
Assemble the macarons:
Place the mixture in a piping bag fitted with a plain tip and pipe a dollop of cream onto half of the macarons. Top with a square of pate de fruits and another macaron shell.
Juls @ Juls' Kitchen February 14, 2012 um 3:46 pm
This is the most perfect definition of V-Day I've read so far! so clever, so sensitive for both the lovers and the single people here! Lovely post as always! Thank you
And, by the way, I would appreciate one of those macarons today!
Laura February 14, 2012 um 3:56 pm
Given how tasty the membrillo was, I bet it's even more amazing in a macaron! They look wonderful 🙂
Michelle Stiles February 14, 2012 um 4:07 pm
This is a great perspective. Thank you!
The Church Cook February 14, 2012 um 4:10 pm
So, so beautiful……
Sara February 14, 2012 um 4:26 pm
These look amazing! What fantastic flavors – gorgeous! 🙂
erica February 14, 2012 um 4:28 pm
ooh, these macarons look and sound delicious! i love hearing how happy you & your Valentine are 🙂
and can i just say how excited i am to read your Downton Abbey reference?! having you been watching all the episodes? what did you think of this past weekend's episode? i am glued to the TV every Sunday night when it airs on our local PBS station. so much fun!
Unknown February 14, 2012 um 4:42 pm
I hear you about the expectations of V-day. Marketing and Advertising doing their overkill work. I love the idea of that membrillo in a macaroon cookie. The contrast between crunch and chewy sounds really good.
Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga February 14, 2012 um 4:44 pm
Happy Valentine's Day, Helene!
These are beautiful for VDay…or any day, of course 🙂
Erica February 14, 2012 um 4:57 pm
These look gorgeously delicious!
Brian Samuels Photography February 14, 2012 um 4:59 pm
That conversation sounds a lot like the ones that happen in our house! 😉
Happy Valentine's Day!
Natalija February 14, 2012 um 5:00 pm
Helene, I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one who shares those views on "Hallmark holidays". 😉 Thank you for the recipe. I have yet to really go through Plate to Pixel and to attempt macarons for the first time.
Sini February 14, 2012 um 5:12 pm
I'm a bit afraid of making macarons… But maybe I should try. It can't become that big a catastrophe.
Debugcooking February 14, 2012 um 5:14 pm
Such beautiful words…more so bcoz thats exactly how I feel!!
london bakes February 14, 2012 um 5:46 pm
Some beautiful macarons to go with a beautiful post.
Jill Mant~a SaucyCook February 14, 2012 um 6:22 pm
So I stopped in to read your post because I love macaroons and I was curious as to what membrillo was. I still am going to try and make this recipe but more than that I love your gentle reminder about being thankful and loving 365 days a year, not just on Hallmark Holidays. My husband and I will celebrate tonight, but we have to: we've only been married two years. That said, I can't forget how difficult this holiday is for those who are feeling lonely to start with and I think we should all be sending extra love out into the universe for them.
Helene February 14, 2012 um 6:57 pm
Jill Mant: that's just it: you don't *have* to regardless of being newlyweds. We never did. Not at 2 or 12 or 14 years. We never felt that we had to honor the day in any way shape or form. We just enjoy doing it every so often.
Giulia February 14, 2012 um 8:41 pm
I would love these macaroons today or any day for that matter. I grew up in Switzerland and we did not celebrate this day – with two little kids now we love to do something sweet with them to break up the dreary winter here in Canada. Making cards – giving instead of receiving. I don't think this day is for lovers only, but to remember all we love, family, friends and others close to our hearts – and who doesn't like something sweet or a lovely note – today or any day?
Nieves February 14, 2012 um 9:22 pm
Nice story 🙂 and wwwhhhoooouuu about those macarons! Miam!
Unknown February 14, 2012 um 9:56 pm
Those macaron look perfect. I never thought about filling them with mascarpone before…sounds like an excellent idea!
Yummy February 14, 2012 um 11:52 pm
Your images are beautiful, thanks for sharing. I look forward to trying out your recipe.
Vicki Wilde February 15, 2012 um 2:09 am
These are pretty 🙂 I just took a macaron class this weekend and was looking for a good filling to try out with my new mad skills! Thanks!
Marta @ I love breakfasts February 15, 2012 um 12:34 pm
It's such a lovely post. Your pictures are simply beautiful.
Valérie (France) February 15, 2012 um 12:57 pm
Il donne tout simplement envie d'être croquer
Je te souhaite une belle journée avec une météo plus clémente, la pluie est là chez moi.
Cinnamon Sue baby and toddler February 15, 2012 um 12:59 pm
I always look forward to your emails, such stunning photography. Thanks for sharing.
My Little Expat Kitchen February 15, 2012 um 2:41 pm
Hehe, I love that conversation with your husband. Sounds familiar. And of course, the next day there's always something special happening, some small gift and such.
Your macarons look fabulous (as always). I love the idea of adding the membrillo in the filling. Genius!
Seanna Lea February 15, 2012 um 3:35 pm
I haven't made macaron in months. I almost always have egg whites left over from making ice cream, so I will have to make a batch this weekend!
Colette (Coco) February 15, 2012 um 4:24 pm
You're a cute couple!
Mihaela February 15, 2012 um 4:35 pm
I visited your blog a lot of times (I came after macarons) but it's first time I leave you a message, I really liked your post today. And, of course, I loved the macarons, like always 🙂 I used a mascarpone and peach puree once to fill macarons, but it moisten them too much, but I will try mascarpone cream again. Thanks for the inspiration!
Anonymous February 15, 2012 um 9:11 pm
I swear everyone feels the same about Valentine's – fairly indifferent and not liking the commercialism but still secretly wanting to do something a little bit romantic and share something sweet with the one they love. These macarons are super cute and the perfect little gift, Valentine's or not 🙂
The Cozy Herbivore February 16, 2012 um 1:46 am
What a beautiful post! I feel exactly the same about Valentine's Day, but then again, it's nice to have a reminder to give our significant others a little extra squeeze now and then, isn't it?
For me, I did a most romantic thing for my sweetie: I made her some pan-seared smelts, following your previous post's recipe. She loves the little fishies, and although I am a vegetarian, I couldn't resist frying some up for her. She was so happy, thank you so very much for the recipe and the inspiration!
Maria February 16, 2012 um 2:35 am
These look amazing! And I love Mrs. Patmore :o)
Jayne February 16, 2012 um 2:46 am
I sooo agree with you on V Day. everyday is V Day if you have a great relationship. Oh yes, it has it's good and bad days but in general, if we enjoy each other, it's love day everyday.
[email protected] February 16, 2012 um 11:11 am
Yeah good idea just jump to the kindness. I like that. I love this combination. Do that last long with the mascapone in the middle?
Veronica of Muy Bueno Cookbook February 16, 2012 um 11:33 am
I love membrillo so was quite intrigued to read how you used it to fill the macarons. Since discovering your blog and beautifully written book I can say that I have tasted a macaron…my first bite was at a fun place in Paris called Angelina's. I have some membrillo in my fridge I just made last week so may try to make your macarons, hesitant but will make the leap…thanks for such a lovely site…besitos…
Dmarie February 16, 2012 um 7:38 pm
just when I thought macaroons couldn't get any better!
Lauren February 16, 2012 um 10:17 pm
I am a sucker for macaroons, but I have to admit that this color palette is what has me swooning!
Brandon @ Kitchen Konfidence February 17, 2012 um 12:13 am
Love membrillo! These look so delicious 🙂
Unknown February 17, 2012 um 1:08 am
Bryan did the same thing- we never celebrate Vday technically, but he still likes to push my buttons about it. ha. I can totally hear your voice yelling at him. 😉
KateSondersFoodWriter February 18, 2012 um 1:50 am
Oh, Helene, these are beautiful and so creative. I have not yet tried to make macarons (I'm timid!) but might have to give it a go for this recipes. Mebrillo- brilliant!
Anonymous February 18, 2012 um 6:21 pm
I really like your blog:)Great pics and so much inspiration…I Wish you a lovely week.
LOVE maria at inredningsvis.se
Anonymous February 20, 2012 um 6:45 pm
Isn't 50g of granualated sugar twice the amount you normally call for?
Any my thoughts exactly about Valentine's Day.
Unknown February 23, 2012 um 3:39 am
I have mixed feelings about v-day, too, and I really like the way you put it here, re: disliking the pressure it adds to new or rocky relationships, but appreciating the push it can give someone waiting to make a first move.
I don't, however, have mixed feelings about membrillo, mascarpone, macarons or alliteration – I love them all. Thanks for another charming post.
Ps. I'm immensely loving your book – thank you for sharing so many of your secrets!
Teresa Cook February 25, 2012 um 1:40 pm
Your photography is simply stunning and the Moo cards look amazing! Thanks for the fun giveaway! I'll have to check their site out.
thomastrevethan March 6, 2012 um 6:00 am
Thomas Trevethan Pastry and Confections Las Vegas
Chef Thomas Trevethan Secrete to the French macaroon!!!
It all starts with the filling – butter cream can be traditional, but by far not the best flavor it's dense and firm enough to stick the two cookie halves, but the result you will get is a French Macaroon that is to sweet to eat.
There are another two options, Pate De Fruit or a thickened fruit jelly, or a cocoa butter based ganache which gets our vote as being the best combination of sweetness from the cookie and acidy from the fruit.
Basic Macaroon Cookie
Based on Chef Thomas Trevethan recipe we recommend that you mix the egg whites and almond mixture together gently until it 'soft as silk', or until a peak in the batter will slowly sink back down into the rest of the mix.
1 1/3 cups icing/powdered sugar
5 oz (1 cup) almond flour or finely ground almonds
2 large egg whites
pinch of salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon extract of choice: almond, vanilla, orange, lemon, pistachio… (optional)
few drops food coloring (optional)
On four pieces of parchment, trace 1-inch (2.5 cm) circles about 1 inch apart. Flip each sheet over and place under your baking paper.
Sift almond flour and icing sugar together into a bowl. In a clean, dry bowl whip the egg whites with salt on medium speed to stiff peaks. The whites should be firm stiff and shiny.
With a soft spatula, fold in the icing sugar mixture into the egg whites until completely incorporated together.
Fit up a piping bag with a 1.1 cm round tip, pipe in spiral shaped circles and then let sit for 2 hours until a shell forms on the French Macaroons.
Heat the oven to 165C/335F and bake for 9 to 10 minutes, or until set and firm on top. Rotate the baking sheets after 5 minutes for even baking.
Remove the French macaroons from oven and transfer parchment to a cooling rack. When cool, slide a metal offset spatula or pairing knife underneath the French macaroon to remove from parchment.
Match up your same size French Macaroons and pipe your favorite filling then enjoy.
Thank you for reading from Thomas Trevethan Pastry and Confections, it is our hope that you will return soon, see more of our Macaroons at www.ttpclv.com
Gaviota April 4, 2014 um 11:30 am
I was wondering how long you can keep unfilled macarons shells for? Are they suitable for freezing or are they best freshly made? Many thanks for all your recipes!