The last post marked the halfway point of the #craicinatlantis roadtrip. For bearing with me here and following along on the new path, you guys deserve a treat. Those of you who followed my Instagram might have noticed that I was a bit in alert mode lately as I agreed to make the wedding cake for my former Handball teammate and her husband. She asked me earlier this year and as her request seemed to be doable (no fondant fuzz, a pretty naked cake with seasonal berries), I said yes.
Long story short, I was a nervous wreck that day and the night before, my freakout luckily was cushioned by some dear people who calmed my anxiety, talked some sense into me and a nice bottle of craft beer. I had planned a lot of extra time, as it was my first ever wedding cake and I learned from past cake projects that things never turn out perfect when they need to be on point… I took the extra trip to the grocery store to get more eggs with a smile after one cake turned out bumpy, as well as another cake baking about 3 times as long as I had calculated in the bigger tin. I tossed a batch of curdled custard that couldn’t be saved as it was way too flaky and even all my effort didn’t help. I dismissed the horror scenarios of cake crash or drop, but I think for days I could only think and talk about cake. I tried to take it as Irish as possible (“It’ll be grand!”) and repeatedly told myself that I am capable of doing this cake, which worked pretty well because I knew that everybody else seemed to have zero doubt about it. Some may think I was phishing for compliments, but sorry to disappoint you, I am a master in not believing in myself and my abilities. Even if 20 people tell me that I can, it is hard to convince myself. Self esteem can’t be forced, it can be learned, but it is a hard lesson and every oh so little bump in the road often results in huge setbacks. Enough of the detours, I got to get back to cake: The one thing I had no doubt about was the taste, I knew it was going to be delicious. Continue reading »
Can you believe it, Christmas is only 1 week away. Nothing says “I care about you” better that a homemade gift. It shows that you rather invest some of your precious time to delight your beloved ones than just ordering a gift online. There is nothing wrong with buying gifts, don’t get me wrong, but I love to give a little personal touch with something crafted or homemade and you should consider that too. So get into the kitchen or at your craft table and whip, glue or paint something for the ones that you love!
I know I promised my German readers to start blogging in German. I know some of you hav been waiting for this for a long time, but still I am trying to tackle some technical obstacles. But today is your lucky day as this Christmas Macaron recipe is part of the Advent calendar over at Kuchenbäcker blog. I am really excited about this and I hope you enjoy the read and of course the making of these wonderful Christmas treats. I put them in selfmade matchbox-like boxes or painted egg boxes, nicely decorated and with colourful ribbons. If you want to gift them for Christmas, here is a useful bit of information: They keep fresh in the fridge for up to 3 days or you can freeze them in ziplock bags. If you have never done Macarons before, you might want to look into my basic macaron recipe for some general tipps.
For the Lemon Curd:
5 egg yolks
150 g sugar
Zest of 2 organic lemons
250 g freshly squeezed lemon juice
150 g butter (at room temperature)
Necessary equipment: sauce pan, heatproof bowl that fits above your sauce pan, silicon spatula, thermometer, siev, immersion blender
Mix sugar and lemon zest and let the zest infuse the sugar for at least 30 minutes. Meanwhile you can weigh the other ingredients and do your preperations for the Macaron shells.
Place the heatproof bowl over simmering water, the bowl shouldn’t touch the water. In order to make the curd creamy you should not work in too much air, that’s why using a rubber spatula instead of a whisk is advised. Mix egg yolks, eggs, lemon juice and lemon infused sugar with the spatula in your bowl. Place the butter in another bowl that the siev fits onto. Keep the mixture in your heatproof bowl in motion so it doesn’t burn on the sides. The mixture must reach a temperature of 85°C. Once the temperature is reached, pour the mixture into the siev over the butter-bowl. This helps to get rid of the egg crumbles and results in a smooth and silky curd. Use the immersion blender to work in the butter, hold it upright to prevent too much air and keep blending until the mixture turns whiter. Cover and refrigerate while making the Macaron shells. For the Macarons:
185 g confectioners sugar
185 g ground almonds
4-5 tsp Gingerbread spice (or a little more if you like a stronger taste) + as much strongly deoiled cocoa powder to make 30 g in total
50 g water
200 g fine sugar
2 x 75 g egg white (equals ca 5 egg whites, but exact weighing is essential)
red gel food colouring
Necessary equipment: Food processor, 4 sheets of parchment paper,2 € coin, pencil, siev, candy thermometer, heavy saucepan, spatula, piping bag with round tip
Cut 4 sheets of parchment paper to fit your tray. With pencil and 2€ coin draw circles on your parchment and leave some space in between. You need an even number as each Macaon is a sandwich of 2 shells. The lines should be thick enough that you can see them through the parchment when you turn it upside down on your tray. Preheat the oven to 170° C with fan.
Place ground almonds, confectioners sugar, gingerbread spice and cocoa in the food preocessor and process in pulse mode. The resulting mixture is called Tant-pour-Tant. Sift the mixture into a bowl to prevent crumbs and set aside.
If you do not own a stand mixer, you will need a helping hand for the next steps. Put 75 g egg white in a heatproof bowl that fits in your stand mixer. Place water and sugar in the sauce pan and cook to syrup over medium heat. Use the candy thermometer to check the temperature, it must reach 118°C. As soon as 114° are reached, you can start the stand mixer or your helper to beat the egg whites until stiff at medium speed. As tempting as it may seem don’t put on highspeed as it will result in a heavy foam but we want silky smooth foam. Once the sugar syrup has reached the temperature you can remove it from the heat and let it sit until the bubbles disappear. Slowly pour the syrup into the stiff egg whites while constantly beating at medium speed, once all syrup is in there, you can put the mixer to high speed and beat until the meringue is lukewarm. While the meringue is beaten, you may mix the second 75 g of egg white with the Tant-pour-Tant with a rubber spatula until completly blend. Once the meringue is cooled, you should add a little red food colouring to intensify the brown colour of your Macarons. The meringue should be light rosé before you add a bit of it to your Tant-pour-Tant to blend. Then fold in the rest of the Meringue -et voilá your Macaron mass is ready to go. Transfer to a piping bag with round tip and fill the circles on your parchment paper as exact as possible without causing noses and bumps on the surface of your Macaron. Use your flat hand to slighty beat the bottom of your tray in order to get air bubbles out of the Macarons. Place the tray in the oven and set a timer for 6 minutes. If you look into the oven you can see your Macarons rise and get those typical little feet while the surface gets a lifting. When your timer buzzes it is time to turn the tray by 180° and give them another 6 minutes in the oven. Once they are done directly pull the parchment from the tray and let the shells cool. Please don’t let them remain on the hot tray as they will become too dry. Repeat the procedure until your piping bag is empty and all shells have been baked.
Now it is time to sort your shells and be a matchmaker. Find a sizeable match for each shell and carefully push your thumb on the inside without breaking it. Fill a piping bag with the lemon curd and bring a dot on one half of your Macaron-couple. Sandwich them together and push slighty to spread the curd evenly between the two shells. Store them in a cookie tin in the fridge and separte each layer with parchment paper. Give them a night to develop their full flavour and enjoy with a spicy hot chocolate or a glass of mulled wine. The Macarons can be kept in the fridge for up to 3 days or can be frozen. If you have leftover curd, you can transfer it into a sterilized jar and keep it in the fridge for 1 week. Enjoy as spread or as a sour ice cream topping. If you need the Macarons to last longer, you can also fill them with a dark chocolate ganache instead of curd.
And aren’t these little gingerbread ma(n)carons adorable?
Confessions of a baking addict: I am am obsessed with bakeware. I have tons of baking tins in all kinds of shapes but keep using only a fraction of them. But how many do you need? Many books suggest to aquire a loaf tin, a 8″ round one, a 9″ square pan and a bakingt tray. In addition some also suggest a 8″ tarte tin with removable base.
I own all of them except for the 8″ round, along with a few muffin tins, a round and a square 26 cm spring form, various bigger and smaller tarte tins, tartelette circles, Spongebobs, 3-tier-cakes, eastereggs, Santa Clauses and a lot of other stuff. Not to mention the million cookie cutters I bought over time and all the other equipment that keeps piling up in my basement. And still I catch myself urging to buy those 8″ sandwich tins or other things when browsing TK Maxx or the local kitchen appliance store. I don’t allow myself to buy anything new unless I kick out something else, but apparently I need to declutter my utensils in the near future… Continue reading »
I know I’ve been very quiet in the past months. I had another knee surgery coming up and invested my time more in larger baking projects that I wanted to blog about when I am tied to the couch anyway. Nice plan, but didn’t quite turn out that way. In the past four weeks after my surgerey I focussed on fightig my way back in to normal life and the total lack of structure made it difficult for me to motivate myself to actually do something. Last week I made a faithfull attempt to get back to blogging by writing myself a schedule but I couldn’t be bothered for some reason. I miss baking more than I’d admit. Writing about past projects only makes me want to do something of similar complexion again. And I am currently not capable of standing in the kitchen this long. I was looking through my To Bake List for something easy and quick, that I can handle in my current state. I was looking for a fruity all-in cake and found the Lemon-Pear-Polenta-Cake from the Cake Cafe book. Continue reading »
For driving me home I granted one of my colleagues the choice of the July recipe from my To Bake List (TBL). As it was very hot that time he chose the lemon meringue pie. I was very curious to try it and compare it to the Tarte au Citron. You see I am still very proud of that Tarte stuff and I think I can be. That is why I always compare… But this pie was very tasty, too and definitely wins the time-benefit-assessment.
Edit: I have adjusted the recipe slightly because I like to have more filling for a large 28cm tarte. Continue reading »
As you might have read before I took a Patisserie class a month ago and I’ve been dying to do the recipes on my own. I was just curious to find out if I am capable of making a competitive Tarte au Citron all by myself. And yes, I CAN!
Now I know why these little things are so expensive and I also have to admit that I will keep buying them instead of making them myself… I was also a little confused with the quantities in the given recipes. But after preparing the cream for what felt like ages and what was only enough for 3 little tartelettes, I recalled that we multiplied and divided some of the recipe parts… I try to give you quantities that should match but I haven’t tried yet. Continue reading »