Saturday, January 23, 2010

Salted Butter Caramel Macarons

Well, I'm back in Paris. I expected things to be a little easier--I stocked the fridge up with vegetables to make quick stir-fries all week long. Then, I realized cutting a lemon became a 20 minute-long chore all of a sudden. Ah, the joy of broken wrists. The plan for lunch today is to eat lettuce with my hands and no dressing. Well, that or go get a falafel. I'll let you guess which alternative I prefer.

Basically, I can't cook until the beginning of February, but my mind has replaced my mouth. I'm stocking up on recipes I want to make in a few weeks, and I can finally take a step back and think about everything I've recently baked. More specifically, these salted caramel macarons I made for Christmas. If you like strong but not burnt-strong caramel, then you'll love these. Ooh-ooh. They pack a lot of taste and are extra creamy.

Like all macarons, they take a little while to make--it's all about advance planning, really. I'm amazed at how successful and fail-proof each one of Pierre Hermé's recipe has been so far. In fact, I met him at a book signing a month or two ago and awkwardly wanted to say something, so I told him that I had successfully made his lemon macarons and that they were delicious. He mumbled something along the lines of "Good, that's how the book was meant to be", and went back to looking a little sad / bored that nobody was waiting in line to have their book signed. Oh, poor Pierre.

Back to the macarons: they're good, fun to make and small. Meaning that you can eat one, or two or three, and feel just fine about it. You can even eat the leftover filling with a spoon, but don't tell anyone I suggested it. Or you can justify it by spreading it on scones or fresh bread, but honestly, go the simple route.

Caramel + butter+ spoon + mouth = go for it!

Macarons caramel beurre salé
makes approx. 72


for macaron tops:
300g almond powder
300g confectioner's sugar
110g "liquified" egg whites (placed in a bowl and put in the fridge for at least 72 hours before use)
15g cofee extract
15g dark yellow food coloring
300g granulated sugar
75g mineral water
110g "liquified" egg whites

for salted butter caramel  cream: 
300g granulated sugar
350g liquid crème fraîche
65g 'demi-sel' (salted) butter
290g unsalted butter

-Sift confectioner's sugar and almond powder together. Add food coloring to the first bowl of "liquified" egg whites and mix. Pour onto the sugar-almond mixture, without mixing them together.

- Bring water and sugar to a boil, 118°C. When the syrup reaches 115°C, start beating second batch of egg whites with a stand mixer. Pour syrup onto the whites (which should be at soft peak stage by now), continue beating and wait until mixture is down to 50°C before incorporating it into the sugar/almond mixture. Fold everything in delicately.

- Pipe mixture onto a parchment paper-covered baking sheet, making round shapes approx. 3,5cm in diameter. Space them approximately 2cm apart from one another. 

- Tap baking sheet on kitchen counter, and let macaron tops crust for at least 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 180°C / 350°F. Bake tops for 12 minutes, opening oven door twice. After removing them from the oven, place parchment paper on counter or table.

- Make caramel filling. Bring cream to a boil. Pour 50g of granulated sugar into a large saucepan. Let it melt, and repeat 4 times. Let sugar caramelize until it reaches a dark amber color. Remove saucepan from heat, and add salted butter. Mix with a heatproof spatula and add cream. Mix and reheat until cream reaches 108°C.

- Place in a deep dish. Cover with plastic wrap, making sure that it touches the caramel. Place in refrigerator until cold. Beat unsalted butter with a mixer 8 to 10 minutes, and add caramel cream.

- Pipe resulting cream onto half of the macaron tops, covering them with the remaining tops.

- Place macarons in the fridge for 24 hours, bringing them back to room temperature for 2 hours before eating.

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Barbara said...

I have seen so many macarons during the past few weeks that I am beginning to think I better try to make some. I say try, because I doubt mine will turn out as well as yours! (And I've read about the problems other people have had with them)
What's making me move forward today is I love fleur de sel caramels and it sounds like that's what you used as your filling.

Paris Pastry said...

Hope your wrist heals soon! What a fun story about you and Pierre Herme! Can't belive nobody showed up to see him! I've made macarons once, but I've been too scared to try them again. I can't seem to get the "feet" that macarons have.

Lucie said...

The step by step photos in the Pierre Hermé book are really great and make the whole thing easy! Apparently the secret to the macaron "feet" are letting the tops sit for at least 30 minutes before baking--you should try again, I promise it's worth it!

Paris Pastry said...

Which book are you referring to? I have Pierre's 'Desserts' (which has no macaron recipe) and I'm thinking about purchasing 'Chocolate Desserts'. I think I need to try it again. I bought rose syrup a while ago and I think it wants to be made into rose macarons ;)

grace said...

ooooh, falafel.
oooooooh, salted caramel ANYTHING. hang in there, lucie! :)

Lucie said...

Thanks Grace! 10 days to go if all goes well :)

PPastry: the book is "Macarons", not sure if it's been translated into English yet though. If you speak any French, it's pretty easy to understand! Rose macarons...mmm

Mercotte said...

Yep, you have made nice macarons !! bravo !

Sinful Southern Sweets said...

I think I'm finally going to give in and give those macarons a try. I'm not going to be scared of them anymore:) I love the flavor combination on these. They are just flawless!

Lucie said...

Aw thanks! The key to success is time, time, and more time...but the result is always worth it :)

Will said...

It's funny and a bit cruel that you mention eating two or three, but the recipe makes seventy-two macarons! I'll gladly share, but there's no way I'm stopping at "two or three."

Lucie said...

Will, I guess you could interpret "two or three" as two or three per minute, really. That means you would have a minimum of 24 minutes to eat them all before anyone realized they were gone...