March 20th marks not only the beginning of Spring, it is also Macaron Day and I am honoured that today’s recipe is featured on my favourite blog and one & only fandom: Der Kuchenbäcker. The frequent readers may know that I already sang a hymn or two on him, all others are duly invited to check him out.
Macaron Day or Jour du Macaron was initiated 2005 by Pierre Hermé, the godfather of Macarons and Patissiers around the world sell Macarons on this day to fundraise for local charities. I like the concept but unfortunately there is no Patisserie around that takes part. Instead I want to bake some easter cookies again to donate them for a local group here in my town that meets every Sunday to help homeless and other people in need. It’s not just about supplying the people with food and warm beverages, it is also a communication plattform and a meeting point for people in need. None of the people organising it gets paid, everything they give out is donated and they organise via a facebook group. I have been there a few times, mostly to bring some clothes or cake, and stayed there for a while to watch and listen to the people. Most of them have been through a lot and it always reminds me of how small my own problems are. I am very thankful that those people have somewhere to go, normal people to talk to that don’t judge and give them back at least a bit of their dignity. It reminds me of how important it is to give back and to change the perspective on your own live from time to time.
Burger Macarons on Foodbloggercamp in Reutlingen 2016
But let’s get back to Macarons, because that’s what you came here for, right? I intended to host a Macaron session at Foodbloggercamp in Reutlingen because I think sharing ones knowledge is also a way of giving back. Even though I am not a master myself, a barcamp is a good plattfrom to share what I know and exchange with others. When preparing my session a bit I stumbled over a Macaron inspiration book I bought and wanted to bring to show how diversely decoration of Macarons can be. I don’t like the recipes in there but the decoration ideas are truly great. Thinking about last years cam in Reultingen to be very meaty and since I found my sister-in-meat in last years burger session, I felt I had to burger again. So I spontaneously decided to pack some sesame seeds and a packet of fresh mint I still had at home to pimp my Macarons to be Macaron burgers. Talking about my session at Foodbloggercamp, I still don’t feel good about the chaotic session I held. I really want to apologise to all attendees and thank you for your patience. I can do better than this, I hope you guys at least learned something and if you have any questions just drop me a line! Some special thanks go to Diana, for spontaneously co-hosting the session and sharing her experience, Jana & Isabel for jumping in to help me finish the Macarons, Natalie, for being super flexible and letting me block ‘her’ kitchen throughout most of her Session and Gyöngyi for putting me back together after I was really upset about my chaotic session.
What I have learned about hosting a session on the barcamp:
- It’s a barcamp, so expect the unexpected!
- Plan more time! After Berlin I thought doing one recipe in 45 minutes with proper preparation would be a walk in the park. Well… it wasn’t!
- Team up and ask for help! Taking care of hot sugar syrup while talking is a bit of a gamble. Even though I had a spontaneous co-host, I suck at delegating, the sugar syrup got too hot and lumped which resulted in a very hard meringue mass that comes out flaky and makes ugly Macarons.
- Bring a handout! It’s not the recipe, it’s all the little tips and tricks you have to share from your experience that attendees want. 45 minutes pass so fast and it’s just one of 6-8 sessions a day, so a handout helps to remember what you have shared. It also is a good preparation for the host, cause it makes you think about what you want to share in your session.
- Go easy on yourself! It isn’t just you in your kitchen at home all on your own, so don’t expect perfection. This is a tough one for me because I always strive for perfection, especially with Macarons. In my session I talked about how to make perfect Macarons every time and then I deliver lumpy and bumpy Macarons?! Though ugly the Macarons tasted superb, the flavour combination was amazing and the attendees learned a bit too (at least I hope).
So let’s build a sweet burger Macaron
Let me ask a simple question first: What makes a burger a burger? Simply put a bun and a pattie, add some lettuce and cheese and tadaaaa, it’s a burger. So let’s transfer this into sweet Macaron. Those of you who’d like to read the recipe in German can hop on over to my favourite Kuchenbäcker.
What you need for about 50 burgers:
- 1 batch Basic Macarons with Italian Meringue, spiced up with 1 scraped vanilla bean, uncoloured, half of them sprinkled with a little sesame seeds before baking
- 1 batch of chocolate ganache (see recipe below)
- 1 bunch of mint (preferably with big leaves)
- 1 ripe mango
Since the chocolate ganache needs time to cool and set, this should be done first. Cook up 200g of cream, pour over 250g of good quality chocolate, broken into pieces, and gently combine, working with a rubber spatula from inside out. Once it is roughly combined, stir in 50g butter (at room temperature) until completely blend. Let the ganache cool in the fridge for a few hours, it should be completely set, cool and preferably hard to form the patties.
While the ganache chills in the fridge you can prepare the Macarons. Follow my basic recipe and make 2 additions: scrape 1 vanilla bean to add to your almond-sugar mix and sprinkle half of the piped raw Macarons with some sesame seeds before baking. When size-sorting them make sure you find a matching sesame-topped for every non-sesame-topped Macaron.
Wash the mint leaves and pat them dry with paper towels. Cut the mango into thin slices and cut out squares of “cheese” that fit the size of your Macarons. Also pat the mango dry with paper towels because otherwise the Macaron will soak very quickly. Once you have prepared lettuce and cheese, it’s time to get the meat done.
Fetch the ganache from the fridge and use a teaspoon to get some ganache out. Quickly roll it to a ball in your hands, that ball should be sized in the middle of hazelnut and walnut when using 2€-coin sized Macarons. Flatten the ball with a palette knife or the bottom of a glass to form a pattie. I advise to put the ganache back in the fridge in between to chill, because when it gets too warm it is sticky, soft and doesn’t remain in shape. Don’t use up all your ganache, you’ll need a bit to attach the mint leaf to the bottom-shell too. If you’re out of ganache you can use a little dollop of red fruit jam aka Macaron Burger ketchup 😉
It’s time to assemble the little cuties. On each bottom put a pinhead-sized bit of ganache and gently press on that mint leaf. Best you lift the Macaron from the work surface for that because they tend to crack when pressing them on a hard surface. Add the ganache-pattie on the mint leaf, cover with a slice of mango-cheese and top off with the sesame-bun. Now admire your work, give yourself a pat on the shoulder and go on to finish the other Macarons.
Since the mango is very moist, these Macarons don’t need to set overnight and can be enjoyed directly. You can keep them in a cookie tin in the fridge overnight, but they get soggy very fast.The combination of mint, mango and chocolate gives them a rich, fresh and fruity flavour, to die for! If you want to keep them longer than a day, just leave out the Mango and the jam or keep the burger parts in the fridge separately and put together when you need it. If you like to give some Macaron to someone special, why not craft some tiny paper boxes yourself. I have used this tutorial and simply added a sticker on top.
Speaking of someone special…
… just a few more thank you’s
Last I want to thank the organisers and all the attendees of Foodbloggercamp in Reutlingen for making it another fun and special weekend, full of happiness, delicious food and great company. You all inspire me in so many ways and it always gives me a big boost in spirit, motivation and confidence. Thanks for being open, sharing your knowledge and experience (and Make-up), giving your opinion, hugs, love and endless fun. Coming to Cooking Concept with Markus, the best host you can ask for, and all you people feels like coming home. Thanks to the sponsors who supported the event, not only with session material, groceries and a gift bag (e.g. containing the cute cutting board in the picture) but also with great ambassadors, that shared their love for the company, the products and their knowledge with us.