Thursday, February 24, 2011

Yuzu Macaron with Candied Grapefruit & Wasabi-MacTweets Challenge

This months Mac Attack challenge:
February’s Mac Attack is dedicated to Valentine’s Day. There is just no choice, no escaping it! So, with Chet Baker crooning My Funny Valentine, take your romantic heart and scurry into your kitchen and bake a batch of French macarons for that special someone, the lover, the spouse, the best friend, the children, the one whom you want to offer up something special, the one whom you want to make smile. Create something new, something exciting, something wildly romantic! Nothing says I Love You like a sweet little something, the size of a kiss, the flavor of your wildest desire, the macaron.

What could I bake for that someone special, which in my case is J.  He loves chocolate, actually he loves everything I bake,he's wonderful that way. But what does he really like ?  Well I know he loves all things spicy and all things citrus.  And I love a challenge, so what better way to create something that he might love then to try Pierre Herme's Macaron Delicieux recipe. It just sounded sexy, hot spicy wasabi, sweet white chocolate,crunchy macaron, nutty  pistachio, sweet juicy candied grapefruit, citrus yuzu-imagine the flavor explosion in your mouth.

I found the recipe in Pierre Herme's Macaron book.  If you remember I bought that book to help with my learning French and it's been a challenge to work my way through translating recipes.  When I finished with the translation on this one I knew something was off - I was stuck with what to do with the 2 sets of egg whites.  So I searched the Internet and surprise, someone had published the recipe on their blog , lucky me. Even luckier it was the blog "Zencancook".  It's a beautifully photographed blog with excellent writing .  Check it out, you will probably add it to your favorites.

Once I discovered what to do with the 2 set of egg whites I was ready to go.
When making macarons I'm a strong believer that you have to grab hold of a positive attitude like it's your life preserver to the world. Any little negative thoughts will effect the outcome of your macarons.  When I made the meringue in this recipe and added it to the the almond meal, powdered sugar and egg white paste this little macaron voice in my head kept whispering-it's too fluid, it's not thick enough to grow feet, no feet, no feet, no feet.  I kept shooing that evil little voice away but it kept sneaking back every chance it got. 

After following directions and baking 4 pans of my little babies I ended up with about half that were acceptable.  The first batch I made a critical error in forgetting to put a second pan under my baking pan so they blew up like little macaron balloons ! I am happy with my results -I got feet -in spite of that little voice that had been believing I wouldn't.  This is a challenging recipe but oh so very good.  If you do nothing else make the white chocolate and wasabi filling.  I couldn't stop sampling and it's even better the next day when all the flavors develop.  I'm not giving up on Pierre Herme Macaron recipes-I'm going to keep on practicing until I produce a macaron that looks and is as perfect as his.

Yuzu Macaron with Candied Grapefruit & Wasabi (Macaron Delicieux by Pierre Herme) published by Zencancook
Recipe translated/adapted from Pierre Herme’s “Macaron”

Makes about 72 macarons

For the candied grapefruit:

2 grapefruits
1 liter water
500 g granulated sugar
1 star anise
10 peppercorns
1 vanilla bean
4 tbs lemon juice

For the meringue:

300 grams almond flour, sifted
300 grams powdered sugar
110 grams egg whites, aged 7 days (or left outside covered overnight)
300 grams powdered sugar
75 grams bottled spring water
110 grams egg whites, aged 7 days (or left outside covered overnight)

For the yuzu ganache with wasabi:

40 grams yuzu juice (or lime juice)
300 grams creme fraiche
375 grams Valhrona white chocolate
20 grams grated fresh wasabi (or use tube)

For the finish:

150 grams pistachios, non salted

For the candied grapefruit:

The day before, wash the grapefruits. Cut and discard the extremities and slice (top to bottom) thick chunks of the skin with one centimeter of the pulp still attached. Place them in a pot of boiling water and boil for 2 minutes. Drain. Run the grapefruit chunks under cold water. And repeat the same operation 2 more times.

Crush the peppercorns with the back of a saute pan and place in a small pot with the water, sugar, lemon juice, star anise and the vanilla bean split in half. Bring to a simmer. Add the grapefruit chunks. Cover the pot 3/4 and keep it at a very low simmer for 1 1/2 hour.

Transfer the candied grapefruit + syrup to a container. Let it cool, cover and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, drain the grapefruit from the syrup and cut into little cubes.

Dry the pistachios in a very low oven. Turn them into a powder in a food processor. Sift and reserve.

For the macarons:

Sift the almond flour and the powdered sugar in a medium bowl.  Add the first batch of egg whites (110 gr) without mixing them.

In a small saucepan, combine the water and 2nd batch of powdered sugar and bring to a boil until it reaches 118′C. Meanwhile, place the second batch of egg whites in the bowl of a mixer equipped with the whisk attachment. When the sugar is at 115′C start beating the whites on medium speed.

Pour the sugar at 118′C over the egg whites. Beat until the temperature of the mixture drops to 50′C and you have a compact and shiny meringue. Fold the meringue into the almond-sugar-egg white mixture until it’s homogeneous. Place in a large pastry bag with a plain #11 tip.

Place parchment paper on 4 baking trays and use a pencil to draw 1 1/2 inches circles to cover the surface with 1/2 inch in between. You should have about 36 circles on each parchment papers. Turn over the paper so the pencil markings won’t transfer to the meringues.

Pipe rounds of the meringue dough onto the prepared parchment paper. Sprinkle the pistachio powder over the meringues and let them out at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. This is a very important step where the piped meringue rounds develop a thin ‘crust’ over their surface.

Preheat the oven to 350′F. Bake the meringues for exactly 12 minutes. Open the oven door quickly-twice during cooking. When the cookies are cooked slide the parchment paper onto a work surface and leave them to cool.

For the yuzu ganache with wasabi:

Place the chopped white chocolate in a bowl of a bain-marie (double boiler) and melt. Heat the yuzu juice to 40′C. Bring the creme fraiche to a near simmer. Pour the creme fraiche over the white chocolate in two additions. Add the yuzu juice. Add the grated wasabi. Mix until smooth and scrap the mixture into a pyrex or glass dish. Cover with plastic wrap and let it cool in the refrigerator.

Assemble the macarons:

Place the yuzu ganache in a pastry bag equipped with a plain tip. Garnish half the meringues with the yuzu ganache, place 3 or 4 cubes of the candied grapefruit in the middle and cover with the other half of the macaron to make a sandwich. Refrigerate in an airtight box for 24 hours. Enjoy them cold or at room temperature. They really are incredibly delicious. Bon Appetit !

Head over to Mac Tweets to see what everyone else did this month.


Meg Johnston said...

What an awesome combination of flavours! I still haven't attempted making macs, but I have always been intrigued with the combination of wasabi and white chocolate. Maybe I'll try them out!

Lora said...

These flavors are spectacular! White chocolate wasabi filling? Oh wow.

Saji said...

Thats amazing

Elaine said...

What stunning photos, Sandy! The ingredients in these macarons are so interesting and unexpected, but they must be amazing together. I am so impressed that you translate French recipes and try them out. You are an inspiration!

Littlebakerbunny said...

You don't need any more practice -- these are gorgeous, with perfect feet!

tina_bakes said...

an explosion of flavors!! how adventurous!! gorgeous macs too!

Debugcooking said...

Gorgeous Macs and very unusual flavor for me...must try

Anonymous said...

What a spicy and exotic Valentine treat with your macaron flavor combinations! :-)

Deeba PAB said...

Lost for words Sandy, completely am! These are absolutely spectacular, and better than any I've ever seen. Bow to you Sandy, and hats off for the huge effort. Well worth it, each bit!!

Anonymous said...

I have been thinking of using the juice from yuzu instead as well.. OMG I used the zest and the macaron's tasted like