Thursday, August 12, 2010

Under The Lighthouse Dancing with MacTweets

Deep peace of the running wave to you
Deep peace of the flowing air to you
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you
Deep peace of the of the shining star to you
Deep peace of the of the son of peace to you
Wedding toast from the movie Under the Lighthouse Dancing

Remember how I fell in love with Positano after seeing the movie "Only You" ?  Well after seeing "Under The Lighthouse Dancing" I fell in love with Australia, specifically Rottnest Island

And the next time we head down under it's going to be to Rottness Island.  We wanted to head there on our wedding trip in December, but unfortunately it was "Schoolies " or Australia's version of Spring Break.  And finding a place to stay was impossible.

After seeing this movie many years ago I would have slept on the beach or would have paid anything to sleep in the beach house which was featured in the movie.  It wasn't until recently that I learned the hauntingly beautiful beach house used in this movie was specially constructed and then moved to somewhere in Perth-unfortunately it was destroyed by a tornado in 2005. When we win the lottery I'm going to have a beach house just like this built somewhere on a beach in Tasmania.  If you have never seen the movie, find it on Netflix and rent it or buy it at Amazon-it's a beautiful love story.  If I could have afforded it, I would have flown all my family and friends to Rottnest Island and had a wedding just like the one in the movie!

So where am I going with this little story? To the August Mactweets Challenge, but of course ! The challenge was to create a macaron inspired by a movie.  So I chose Under The Lighthouse Dancing.  I was just going to make plain cream colored macarons -inspired by the white lighthouse in the movie.  But that seemed boring to me this afternoon, so I decided I would make them indigo blue to match the colors of the beach house.  Take one, indigo blue is hard to achieve with food coloring.  Blue, green and purple should produce something that comes close to indigo and it did-in the little bowl I was mixing in.  And when I mixed the colors in with the macaronnage I should have trusted my instinct.  I knew it was too light but I thought okay so I'll have a light indigo blue.  What I ended up with was an unappetizing light colored violet gray.  Not only did the macarons look inedible,even with their lovely pied, they looked like something CSI would find at crime scene. 

Take 2, after many attempts at mixing colors I gave up on indigo blue and settled for turquoise to match the waters surrounding the beach house in the movie.  I guess I should have stuck with my first inspiration-the lighthouse ! But I have pretty feet !  And I have turquoise to match the waters surrounding Rottnest Island.  Now all I need is a plane ticket , my love beside me and some sunscreen !

I used my favorite recipe from I Love Macarons by Hisako Ogita.  It's been a no fail recipe for me and it's really easy if you just follow the directions.  This is the first time I made his butter cream and it's very good. Smooth, buttery and not too sweet.  I added a little bit of rum in keeping with the island theme. If you have any type of problems when you make macarons-buy this book and follow along with the pictures and directions-you just can't miss.

Makes about 2 dozen macarons
2/3 cup (3 oz/85 g) ground almonds
1-1/2 cups (5 1/4 oz/150 g) powdered sugar
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
5 tbsp (65 g) granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract, or seeds from 1/2 a vanilla bean

1 Cut a sheet of parchment paper to fit your baking sheet. Draw 1-inch (2.5 cm) circles on the paper, spacing them at least 1/2 inch (1.5 cm) apart. This pattern will be your guide for squeezing out the batter.

2 In a food processor, grind almonds and powdered sugar to a fine powder. Sift the mixture through a medium-mesh sieve twice. Set aside.

3 In a stainless steel mixing bowl, beat egg whites on high speed until they are foamy. Gradually add the granulated sugar to the egg whites and beat on high until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 1 minute. Add vanilla and stir lightly. When the meringue is stiff, firm and has a glossy texture, it is done.

4 Add half of the sifted flour mixture from step 2. Stir it with a spatula, scooping it up from the bottom of the bowl.

5 Add the rest of the flour and mix it lightly while forming a circle.

6 Macaronnage (the term for mixing flour and meringue to make macarons): When you run out of flour, press and spread out the batter against the bowl’s sides. Scoop the batter from the bottom and turn it upside down. Repeat this process about 15 times. Pointer: If the macaronnage step is repeated less than 10 times, the baked macarons will lack luster. However, when it is repeated more than 20 times, oil stains may remain on the pastry’s surface after baking.

7 Macaronner (term for mixing the batter until it is firm and drips slowly when it is scooped out): When the batter becomes firm and drips slowly as you scoop it with a spatula, the mixture is done.

8 Attach a 1/4-inch (1 cm) tip to a pastry bag. Twist the bag to hold the tip tightly. This prevents the batter from leaking out.

9 Place the pastry bag, tip first, inside a deep measuring cup and pour in the batter. Clip the bag top to prevent the paste from coming out. You could also use a string or rubber band.

10 Place the sheet used in step 1 on the baking sheet and squeeze the batter onto the center of the circles. Make small circles since the batter tends to spread.

11 Rap the baking sheet firmly against the counter or other flat surface. This helps the macarons hold their rounded shape and helps the pied, or little “foot,” to form. Pointer: As macarons bake, small pleat like frills form at the bottom of each. This pleat is called a pied, or foot. Without it, the pastry cannot be called a macaron. Some bakers attribute the pied to the macaronnage, some to the oven temperature, and some to a good rap of the baking sheet on the counter before baking.

12 Let dry at room temperature, uncovered, for 15 minutes. A slight crust should form on top. If the batter circles do not stick to your finger when you touch them, the drying process is complete. On a dry and sunny day, the drying process takes approximately 30 minutes. On rainy days, it helps to dehumidify the room.

Baking the macarons
1 Place oven racks in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
2 Stack the baking sheet holding the batter circles onto an empty baking sheet and slide both into the oven. Pointer: Using two trays, one inside the other, prevents the bottom of the macarons from over baking, and from puffing up too much or cracking.
3 Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, rotating the trays once and switching them from top to bottom racks and vice versa, until slightly crisp and crackled on top. If the insides of the macarons are still soft after 15 minutes, lower the temperature to 300ºF/150ºC, cover the tray with foil and bake for another 2 to 3 minutes.
4. Place baking sheets on wire racks to cool. When the macarons are completely cooled, remove them from the baking sheet. Pointer: Macarons can be stored for about one week in a sealed container in the refrigerator.

Butter cream filling
This vanilla-flavored butter cream is made from whole eggs. This recipe is enough for about 45 macarons. You can freeze the unused cream.

1 egg
3 tbsp (1.4 oz/40 g) granulated sugar
1.4 oz (40 ml) water
7 tbsp (3 1/2 oz/100 g) unsalted butter
Vanilla extract- i used a teaspoon of this and a tablespoon of rum !


1 Cut butter into pieces ¼ inch/5 mm thick and place in a heat-resistant bowl. Heat in a microwave oven for 10 seconds.
2.Take the bowl out of the microwave oven and check the hardness of the butter. If the pieces are soft enough for your finger to press into them, the butter is done. If they are still hard, heat them for another 5 seconds.
3 Stir the butter with a spatula until it becomes smooth and creamy like mayonnaise.
4 Put water and granulated sugar in a heat-resistant container and stir well. Heat mixture in microwave oven for 1 minute. Remove from oven and mix until the sugar is completely dissolved. Heat for another 4 minutes. Remove from oven and stir with a spoon. Pointer: Wear oven mitts or gloves during this process because the container can become very hot.
5 Scoop some syrup with a spoon and drop it into a small amount of water. Then try to scoop the syrup out of the water and make a ball using your fingers. If you can do this, the syrup has the right amount of density.
6 While heating the syrup, break an egg in a bowl and beat it lightly with a hand mixer. Drop the syrup, like a thread, into the bowl and whisk it at a high speed. Change the speed to medium and then to slow, continuing to whisk until the bottom of the bowl is no longer hot and the mixture becomes white and heavy. Pointer: Place a wet cloth under the bowl so that the bowl does not move when you whisk.
7 Divide the butter made in step 3, adding it to the syrup in 2 or 3 batches. Whisk with a hand mixer at medium speed each time you add butter. When the butter is well mixed, the process is done. Pointer: While whisking the butter and syrup, bubbles may appear that seem to separate the butter from the syrup. You may think you have made a mistake but just continue whisking until the butter becomes creamy.
8. Stir a drop or two of vanilla extract into the mixture until blended. Spread the cream between the cooled puffs. Cover the remaining cream with plastic wrap and place it in the freezer for future use. Write a date on the package. It can be frozen for one month.

And buy the video too !


Jamie said...

Beautiful! These macs are perfect!! Perfect feet and shells and the blue is gorgeous and it is the blue of the ocean. I love the story and though I've never seen the movie, your images make me feel how beautiful it is. So so glad you found Mactweets and are baking with us! Excellent first challenge and I look forward to seeing more of your macarons and baking with Mactweets.

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

Rottnest Island sounds like a dream destination,away from it all. You will get there someday!

Cathy said...

Gorgeous macarons! Even though the blue isn't exactly what you were looking for I think it's beautiful with the buttercream filling.

Thanks so much for stopping by my blog to visit. I'm always so happy to find another Pacific NW blogger. I'll be back soon.

shaz said...

Oh I love the colour of these macarons Sandy, makes me feel so tranquil. I'd never heard of the movie nor been to Rottnest before and I live in Sydney!. Hope your dream comes true one day soon (both the visit and the lottery) :)

Roadtrek Girl said...

Thank you all for the lovely comments and taking the time to stop by. I love the blogging world !

Lora said...

Just beautiful with enviable feet! I am curious now to check out the movie and that beach house is to die for...

Linda Vandermeer McCubbin said...

Lovely turquoise macarons. Have never seen the movie but now after your description I'll put it on my list.

I just made indigo for a rainbow cake and I mixed the blue and purple with black with an okish result.

Cristie said...

The blue in your mac's is amazing! Color with food is not always what you think it is going to be, but this really looks wonderful on my computer. Never heard of the movie, but any place you can go to get away like that would be heaven.

Deeba PAB said...

Sandy ... adopt me! I LOVE these & have ordered the book at Amazon. I wanna make macs like you girl, I do! You inspire me to sneak into the kitchen and have another go. LOVE the colour too. Brilliant and inspiring macs! {Thanks for posting the recipe}

Cecilia said...

I love the color of your macs! The movie looks interesting, I have added it to my Netflix!

Ken said...

Gorgeous blue hue. Love love love. Did u use liquid gel coloring or powder? Inquiry minds wants to know. ;-)

Roadtrek Girl said...

Thank you all for the wonderful comments.. And Ken I used the gel :)

Debugcooking said...

Ive never seen such gorgeous MACS ever...such pretty colour and feet..

Fahrenheit 350° said...

Those are really darling! I'm originally from Portland, so I'm in love with finding your blog!

Bonnie said...

What beautiful feet. I actually like the color. Love the blog.