Sunday, December 26, 2010

Vanilla Macaron with Fromage Blanc & Ikura-December MacTweets Challenge 14

This month’s Mac Attack Challenge was  Savory Sweet. We were instructed to create a macaron that blends the savory and the sweet, the perfect balance. Invent a macaron to be served on a silver tray as an apératif or hors d’oeuvres with a glass of champagne, as a special snack or part of a festive buffet. This is the season to experiment, to savor, to enjoy and this month you will!

I was extremely excited when I saw the challenge for MacTweets this month.  I didn't hesitate, I knew exactly what I was making or trying to recreate- a vanilla macaron with Citrus Fromage Blanc and Loki Fish Ikura.   I first had one at the Incredible Feast at the University District Farmers Market in August.  It was created by Adam Hoffman of Rover's restaurant. J and I got the last two on the plate. How fortunate for us!

I swear to this day that if there had been more on the plate I wouldn't have left the tent until I finished them off.  Crunchy crisp vanilla almond macaron, sweet citrusy fromage blanc and salty salmon roe-an explosion of flavor in your mouth. This is an excellent dish for a cocktail party-and very festive looking with the red roe. 

But I warn you, make twice as much as you think you will need because they will disappear faster than you can say oh my God that was incredible ! Fromage Blanc is a sweet cream cheese, if your grocery store or cheese shop doesn't carry it you can make your own.  I found a recipe for it by Emeril Lagasse and you will find it at the end of this post.  You can use any Ikura or salmon roe-the fresher the better.  I also made a few with a raspberry chipotle jam for those guests who don't care for salmon roe-can you imagine ?

For the macarons I used my standby recipe that you can find here .  I was fortunate and found fresh fromage blanc at my grocery store.  I took 8 ounces of the cheese and 1/4 cup citrus marmalade and whipped it together until it was a nice piping consistency.  I piped it onto the vanilla macarons and topped it with the fresh salmon roe from Loki Fish.  The taste was a little different than what I remember from the festival but I think I got it pretty close to the original. Enjoy !

Homemade Fromage Blanc
courtesy of Emeril Lagasse

2 quarts whole milk, as fresh as possible
1 cup heavy cream (optional)
2 cups fresh buttermilk
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, strained
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt, if desired
Heavy Cream, for serving

In a large, heavy saucepan, add the milk and the cream for a richer fromage blanc. In a mixing bowl, combine the buttermilk and lemon juice and stir to combine well. Add the buttermilk-lemon juice mixture to the milk and begin to heat the milk, over low heat and very slowly, to 175 degrees F. While the milk is heating, stir only twice, making 2 strokes each time, with a heat-proof spatula or other flat utensil. Check the temperature often. As soon as the temperature reaches 175 degrees F, remove the pot from the heat and allow to sit, undisturbed, for 10 minutes.
Line a large colander with 2 layers of fine cheesecloth and set over a large bowl. Gently ladle the curds and whey into the colander and allow to drain until the drips of whey slows, about 2 minutes. Tie the corners of the cheesecloth together to form a hanging pouch, and hang pouch over a bowl and allow to drain until the cheese reaches the desired consistency.

Serve as is, with preserves, honey or fresh fruit, or add salt or fresh herbs, to taste, and enjoy as a savory appetizer. If a rich cheese is desired, spoon or pour a bit of heavy cream over the top before serving. Also, if a very smooth product is desired, beat the cheese briefly with an electric mixer before serving.

Refrigerate until ready to serve, up to 1 week. If cheese is marinated in oil with fresh herbs, it will keep, refrigerated, for up to 1 month.

Check out everyone else's results here


Debugcooking said...

Ahh they are so gorgeous...what a gr8 idea for starters...and I love that you haven't sandwiched these beauties ;-)

Lora said...

Very beautiful and they look so lovely on an appetizer plate.

Cristina said...

OMG! These are so elegant, both in flavors and presentation. I luv this idea of open-faced and its eyecandy appeal. I've never used Fromage Blanc...thanks for including a link to making it homemead, I don't think I've ever seen it in the stores.

I hope you're having a lovely holiday season! Cheers for a fantastic New Year ahead. :)

Shelley said...

Wow- those macs are really cool looking! I've got to get with it and do one of MacTweets challenges. Looks like you rocked this one!

HI Cookery said...

Your sweet and savory macs probably taste better than our champagne-caviar-cream cheese macs. :-)

shaz said...

Oh wow! What a great sounding combination, and not one I think I would have ever thought of myself. Who doesn't like salmon roe?? They look incredibly pretty and very hors d'oeuvres-ish :)

Have a great start to 2011!

Deeba PAB said...

Just out-of-this-world good sandy...I ♥ your macarons! I've finally got the book 'I ♥ Macarons' after seeing your magic, and am pleased as punch. Loving what you did with the challengfe, and thanking you from the bottom of my heart for posting the fromage vlance recipe. Got to make this SOON! Have a wonderful new year my friend...HAPPY 2011!! HUGS!!

Lisa said...

Just saw these in the Mactweet roundup, and I'm awed. They are fantastic, and what a creative idea! I was going to do a cream cheese and salmon macaron, but never got to it :( However, I sort of get to live it with your fromage blanc and salmon roe. Beautifully done!