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Black Tie Macarons And A Calendar Girl

Black Tie Macarons

These are not the Frenchie version of Oreos but rather Black Tie Macarons that I made for a party, not that I don’t like love Oreos mind you! You see, I don’t usually mingle with B’s music jobs unless they are at a restaurant or some gig for the city. They are jobs, fun and full of passion for music but they are jobs nonetheless. It’s not "Take your spouse to work" kind of day. He’s focused, he’s playing, he needs to mingle and talk to the guests. Then once in a while they are the jobs that I find myself completely intertwined with. It can be a client of mine marrying her daughter and having his band play, a restaurant we both love is having the band that night, etc… And then there are the jobs where I am supplying desserts or favors and his band is playing that night. Usually we are pretty good at keeping track of our schedules and I know where and when he plays and he can keep track of where I am by following the crumbs I leave behind me (not that far from the truth, really)! There are weeks however where we would not even see a giant pink neon post-it with our "where to be/what to wear" list even if it stared us in the face. It seems that the week before I headed to Lisa, I did not register as well a lot of info thrown at me and B. remembered two music jobs at the last minute, rushing in the house in shorts and tee shirt and running out in black pants, crisp white shirt in less than 2 minutes.

When you play music at the same restaurant for 20 something years, locals get to know you and you get to know them. When your spouse ends up working in the kitchen there, you widen the circle. Patrons start asking if you play for private parties and if your spouse can make a dessert table for said events and then you need more giant neon post-its…! Well last week we did not realize that we were working the same party and that our schedules were going to cross path. A dear to us couple was celebrating their 50th anniversary in an all out "Black Tie Affair" and while B. had the responsibility to toot his horn (literally), I had been asked to make macarons inspired by the event. Hmmm…It took me 2 seconds to decide I was going to make "Black Tie Macarons" filled with Swiss meringue buttercream.

Black Tie Macarons

Although I had seen black macarons before I had always thought that there was no way a tablespoon or two of powdered food coloring would be enough to make them deep dark. When I tried the experiment last year, they indeed turned out grey. After calling a couple of friends back home, I came to realize that the strength of the color was different from one country to the next. Different reasons later, I still had not tried them with another brand. The small bakery supply store where Lisa took Kelly and me to get the wedding cake pans had lots of stuff I would have loved to play with but my mission was to find the proper cake pans for the wedding cake. I was right on track until my eye caught a glimpse of their food coloring shelf…and there it was: one single bottle of black powdered food coloring. I looked at the label: one little goofy chef holding a whisk and the words "made in France". No brand. In a split second, it felt like the bottle was burning a hole in my hand, "my precious"….Then again, once back here after the wedding, life took over and I put the black macs aside until this couple called with their order. I am glad they trusted me with the idea and I was so pleased of how they turned out…but "my precious" is now empty again.

So yes, it was a good experiment, one I am willing to reproduce by working with the food colors I find here but I tend to like macarons on the natural to light color side and unless I am specifically asked for an unusual color, I don’t think I would have done "bright blue" or deep black ( I did add some pearl dust and sesame seeds for the optical effect at the party). The color had almost purple hues at times and the guests loved them but let’s face it…good thing it was dark and they did not show one another their tongues. It is a little too early in the season to be "eating coal"..eheheh!

Black Tie Macarons

Black Tie Macarons:

For the shells:
90 gr egg whites (about 3)
30 gr granulated sugar
200 gr powdered sugar
110 gr almonds
black powdered food coloring (the end color will depend on how much you use)

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. Combine the almonds and powdered sugar in a food processor and give them a good pulse until the nuts are finely ground. Add them 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 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 280F. Let the macarons sit out for 30 minutes to an hour to harden their shells a bit and bake for 20-22 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 in the center of one shell and top with another one.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream:
1/2 cup (100gr) sugar
2 large egg whites
1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Put the sugar and egg whites in a large heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and whisk constantly, keeping the mixture over the heat, until it feels hot to the touch, about 3 minutes. The sugar should be dissolved, and the mixture will look like marshmallow cream. Pour the mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat the meringue on medium speed until it cools and forms a thick shiny meringue, about 5 minutes. Switch to the paddle attachment and add the butter, one tablespoon at a time, beating until smooth. Once all the butter is in, beat in the buttercream on medium-high speed until it is thick and very smooth, 6-10 minutes. Add the vanilla and whip for another 10 seconds to incorporate it.

Tartelette Calendar - Customized calendar

Tartelette is now a calendar girl…!! Hmm, not in a red polka dot bikini but in the form of some favorite pictures of the past year. It all started when my mother asked me to make one so she could buy it for family and friends as stocking stuffers, then my aunt mentionned it to me again as in "your mom asked me to remind you to make that calendar this year"…and then I happily received email requests, so here it is! I hope you like it. The year has surely been a full and fast one!
You can purchase one by following this link, Tartelette Calendar on Zazzle or by clicking on the calendar icon on the sidebar.