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Step by Step Strawberry Balsamic Macaron Recipe Using Pierre Herme's (Italian) Method Strawberry Balsamic Macarons made with the Italian method. When I first started making macarons, I checked out every single macaron book from the library. As I did my research I came to understand that there were essentially two ways to make macarons using either the French method or the Italian method. Now, you're probably wondering what is the difference? The French method, used for most of my macarons including the Earl Grey Macarons , is when the dry ingredients are folded into the meringue. The Italian method uses a hot sugar syrup mixture that is incorporated into the egg whites while they are being whipped, and then into the dry ingredients. Previously, I had tried my hand at making macarons with the Italian method when I made the Ispahan Macarons . However, since that initial success, I've had failure after failure using the Italian method. Perhaps it was a temperature issue, under mixing, over mixing or resting time? Finally, this summer's break afforded me the time to spend

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Macarons Piere Herme

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Step by Step Strawberry Balsamic Macaron Recipe Using Pierre Herme's (Italian) Method

Strawberry Balsamic Macarons made with the Italian method.

When I first started making macarons, I checked out every single macaron book from the library. As I did my research I came to understand that there were essentially two ways to make macarons using either the French method or the Italian method. Now, you're probably wondering what is the difference? The French method, used for most of my macarons including the Earl Grey Macarons, is when the dry ingredients are folded into the meringue. The Italian method uses a hot sugar syrup mixture that is incorporated into the egg whites while they are being whipped, and then into the dry ingredients. Previously, I had tried my hand at making macarons with the Italian method when I made the Ispahan Macarons. However, since that initial success, I've had failure after failure using the Italian method. Perhaps it was a temperature issue, under mixing, over mixing or resting time? Finally, this summer's break afforded me the time to spend dedicated time experimenting with the Italian method following Pierre Herme's method and also the one in Thomas Keller's Bouchon Bakery.

I actually ended up baking macarons for an entire week. One batch using Pierre Herme's, another using Thomas Keller's and a final one using my "tried, tested & true" french meringue method. This post will be based on the recipe from Pierre Herme's book with the following posts on my other experiments and testing!

Strawberry-Balsamic Macarons sitting pretty.

Now, let's talk about what these Strawberry Balsamic Macarons taste like. Certainly the flavour of strawberry came through. The dark chocolate balsamic that I used did not seem to add to the flavour profile of these macarons, though it certainly gave the buttercream a darker hue. For everyone that tried this batch of macarons, they felt that it definitely tasted like strawberry, but was on the slightly sweeter side. I wonder if this may have been due to the method? It also seemed that macarons made with this method didn't need to rest in the fridge for the required 2 days and could be served almost immediately the next day.

Strawberry Balsamic Macarons Recipe - Based on Pierre Herme's Italian MethodIngredients for Macaron Shells (Italian Method) 150g Almond Meal 150g Powdered Sugar 55g Egg Whites (to be mixed into dry ingredients) 55g Egg Whites (place in bowl of mixer) 150g Granulated Fine Sugar 38g WaterDirections:1. Using a scale measure out all the ingredients. Remember to set aside 55g of egg whites for mixing into the dry ingredients and to place the other 55g of egg whites into the bowl of the mixture.

Scale to weigh all ingredients to the exact gram.

Here are the egg whites, granulated sugar and water measured out.

Measure and weighed powdered sugar, almond meal and egg whites.

2. Place the powdered sugar and almond meal into a food processor and process them together.

Process almond meal and powered sugar together.

3. Sift together the almond meal and the powdered sugar. If there are any larger chunks left over, process it again in the processor.

Processed and sifted almond meal and powdered sugar.

4. Mix 2-3 drops of your choice of gel food colouring (I used Wilton Red) into the 55g of egg whites. Take the egg whites mixed with the food colouring and pour into the almond meal and powdered sugar mixture. Allow it to sit.

After sifting the powdered sugar and almond meal, pour coloured egg whites on top.

5. Take a heavy bottomed pot and pour the granulated fine sugar and water into the pot. Attach a candy thermometer to measure the temperature of the sugar and water as it heats up.

Getting ready for the hot syrup - take a heavy bottomed pot, measured out superfine sugarand water.

6. Turn stove top to medium-high. Bring the water and sugar solution to 115C (~239F). Try not to stir the solution as it will reach the correct temperature faster without disruption.

Set the heavy bottom pot on the stove to medium-high. Allow the water-sugar solution to reach 118C.

7. Meanwhile, start whisking the second portion of 55g of egg whites to soft peaks.

Sugar-Water solution boiling away and egg whites whisking in mixer.

8. Once the water and sugar solution reaches 118C (~245F), pour it slowly over the whisking egg whites. It will form a white meringue (see below). Continue to whisk and allow the meringue to cool down to 50C.

Hot syrup poured into egg whites and forming a meringue.

9. Once the meringue has cooled down to 50C, fold it into the almond meal-sugar mixture.

Meringue folded into the almond meal-processed sugar mixture.

10. Mix the meringue into the dry ingredients. Mix from the inside out, while turning the bowl in a clock wise direction.

Mixing the meringue into the dry ingredients.

11. Mix until the mixture turns glossy and resembles that of runny cake batter.

Mix until the mixture looks glossy and resembles runny cake batter.

12. Transfer batter into a piping bag fitted with a plain nozzle (I use piping tip A1).

Transferring batter to piping bag.

One of the tricks I use: Since I'm often baking macarons myself, I prop up the piping bag in a clearcontainer so it makes the transferring of the batter much easier.

13. Line your thicker baking trays with silicon mats and pipe rounds about 2-3 cm in diameter or 3-5 cm (depending on how big you want them), spacing them approximately 2 cm apart. If you are in need of a template, try this template. When you are done piping, you will notice that each macaron shell has a little top to it.

Freshly piped macaron shells.

14. Before piping the next tray rap the try on a work surface to flatten the macarons. Use a toothpick to pop any bubbles that may have formed. Allow the macarons to sit for at least 30-45 minutes until a skin has formed on the top of the macaron shell (the batter should not stick to your fingers when you lightly touch the shell). The timing will vary depending on how humid or dry your baking conditions are.

Macaron shells resting for 30-45 minutes before being baked.

15. While the macarons are resting, turn the oven temperature anywhere between 250-350F. You may have to do some experimenting with your oven to determine the best temperature for your macarons. This batch of macarons were baked at 260F in a regular oven for a total of 20 minutes. Open and shut the door of the oven at 8 minutes and again at 10 minutes to allow some of the heat and moisture to dissipate.

Finished macarons baked in a regular oven at 260F for 20 minutes using the Italian meringue method.

On this particular day of baking macarons I had enough batter left over to also pipe onto parchment paper. Here we can see the differences between macarons baked on parchment paper versus a silicon baking mat. The macarons baked on the parchment paper were a little uneven on the bottom and top and had somewhat smaller feet piedin comparison to those baked on the silicon baking mat.

Strawberry-Balsamic Buttercream Recipe 80g Caster sugar (superfine sugar) 25g water 1 whole egg 1 egg yolk 160g soft butter (cut into cubes then whisked) handful of hulled strawberries (less than a cup) 1-2 Tbsp sugar 1 Tbsp lemon juice 1 Tbsp balsamicDirections:

1. Wash and hull the strawberries.

Handful of washed and hulled fresh strawberries.

2. Cut the strawberries into pieces, then sprinkle 1-2 tbsp of sugar onto the strawberries. Mix in the lemon juice and balsamic vinegar to taste. Allow the strawberries to macerate in the fridge.This process of maceratingthe strawberries allows the natural juices of the strawberries to come out. The lemon juice helps to keep the strawberries' fresh colour.

Strawberries macerating with sugar and lemon juice.

3. Pour the 80g of superfine or granulated sugar and water into a heavy bottom pot. Bring the mixture to a boil at 250F (120C).

Bringing the sugar and water to a boil. Use a candy thermometer to check the temperature.

4. Meanwhile, whisk the egg and egg yolk together until it lightens in colour.

Whisked egg yolk and egg.

5. Take the strawberries out of the fridge and blend in a food processor. Allow some bigger chunks to remain. Pour the mixture over a strainer and allow the juices to drain.

Processed strawberries being strained.

6.Once the hot sugar mixture reaches 250F pour it immediately into the whisking egg mixture. Turning down the whisking speed may help prevent the hot sugar threads from sticking to the sides of the bowl. Once the hot sugar mixture is in the bowl, increase to a higher whisking speed. Continue to whisk until a meringue has formed - it will be shiny and glossy. Once the meringue has cooled, add in the strawberries.

7. With a hand mixer, cream then whisk the butter until it has thickened. Add by the tablespoons to the strawberry buttercream mixture.

Strawberry Balsamic Buttercream

8. Transfer the buttercream to a piping bag, and pipe small mounds onto the cooled down shells.

9. Assembly the macarons by putting the top gently on the buttercream, pressing down and twisting slightly to the right.

Visual comparison of macarons baked on a silicon mat versus parchment paper.Slightly more uneven macaron shells for macarons baked on parchment.

Top view of macarons baked on a silicon mat versus parchment paper.Here you can see that the top of the macarons baked on the parchment paper are slightly uneven.These are probably one of my most successful and tasty macarons. With all the experimenting that I did with various oven temperatures, having a consistent oven temperature is super important. Allowing the oven temperature to reach the correct temperature before you open the oven is important as some of the heat dissipates when the oven is open. Baking the macarons at a lower temperature such as 250F ended up with the desired feet but took almost 20-30 minutes to bake! On my last batch of macarons, setting the oven temperature to 350F for 12 minutes yielded nicely baked macarons with the desired feet. So, I would definitely encourage you to set up a chart to figure out which oven temperature is best for your macarons in your kitchen.

These particular macarons are full of fresh strawberry flavour (though the balsamic flavour could be intensified if desired) and are ready to be eaten shortly after finishing them. For best results allow the macarons to rest in the fridge for 2 days. These macarons can also be frozen. Just allow them to come to room temperature an hour or two before serving. I also recently hand carried 2 tupperware boxes of these macarons to Toronto and they fared quite well! No breakages!Hope you enjoyed this post and will try your hand at making these macarons!

Strawberry Balsamic Macarons with fresh strawberry buttercream.

Step By Step Earl Grey Macarons with Earl Grey Buttercream Recipe

Finished Macarons, after some experimentation.As you can see, too hot of an oven can create macs with concave bottoms.

Thanks again everyone for participating in my Macaron Giveaway! For those of you who want to try making Earl Grey Macarons, this step by step blog post is for you! Before we start, here is a list of kitchen items you will need for the best chance of success with making those macarons: a scale (crucial for measuring to the exact gram or oz!) fine mesh sifter (I picked mine up from the dollar store) food processor (try to find one that will last. I went through 3 of them in the past year) Kitchen Aid (or similar), a hand mixer can also do the trick piping bag and large round tip Parchment paper or Silicon Mats (mine are from Crate & Barrel & Silpat) gel food colouring (I am currently using the Wilton brand) thicker baking trays (this helps prevents the macaron shells from getting too much heat) toothpicks

Ingredients for the Macaron Shells:

100g of Aged Egg Whites (2-3 days in airtight container at room temperature)225g of Powdered Sugar (also known as icing sugar)125g of Almond Meal5g of Dehydrated Egg White Powder (also known as albumen)28g of Granulated Sugar

French Meringue Method for Macaron Shells:

1. Measure all ingredients with a scale.

2. Process almond meal and icing sugar in the food processor.

3. Sift the blended almond meal and powdered sugar through a fine mesh.

4. Start beating egg whites at low speed (2 on my Kitchen Aid).

5. When egg whites are foamy (mousse-like) add in the dehydrated egg white powder (albumen) and granulated sugar mixture.

6. Choose the colour you want for your Earl Grey macarons. I used a blue gel food colouring for these shells (Wilton Sky Blue). Don't be afraid to make the macarons a shade darker as the colour will lighten in the oven.

7. Increase speed on Kitchen Aid to 4. Beat egg whites until "soft peaks" form (stop, and tilt head back, look to see if egg whites form a small bird's beak). Do a check by stopping the mixer and tilting the head back to check the firmness of the peak. If a peak stays up, then you are done. Ensure that they are not stiff or foamy since that means you have gone too far! You have now made the "meringue".

8. Slowly add the blended almond meal-powdered sugar mixture 2 tablespoons at a time to the meringue you have created. Try using Chef Nini's method.

9. Mixing in a clockwise rotation seems best. The process that she describes is slowly adding your almond mixture into the egg whites in a clockwise direction. She also split her almond mixture into 6 parts. Mixing in a clockwise direction do the following:

1st part= 16 turns2nd part = 11 turns3rd part = 14 turns4th part = 11 turns5th part = 11 turns6th part = 23 turns. Take a look at the video for a more detailed visual.

Here the macaron mixture flows like 'magma'

10. Once the mixture feels and looks like magma (flows slowly - as pictured above) transfer it to a piping bag.

11. Pipe out small circles. I tend to pipe down and then do a quick circular movement to the right to finish piping one shell.

12. Pipe approximately 30 shells on each tray. Before piping the next sheet, firmly rap tray on floor or counter to get rid of any air bubbles inside the shells. This is called "tamping".

13. Use a toothpick to pop air bubbles on shells (this part is essential otherwise you get volcanoes instead of smooth macaron shells)

14. Let macarons sit for at least 30-45 minutes until a skin forms and is dry to the touch (this is also an important step)

15. Preheat oven to 250-295 degrees Fahrenheit.

If baking at 295F put one tray in the oven and bake for 8 minutes, then rotate tray (by now the feet should have formed!) and bake for another 11 minutes.

If baking at 250F (which I've been doing since we moved), bake the shells for 20-30 minutes before rotating the pan and baking for another 10 minutes. This allows for the shells to rise slowly enough to form a firm crust and the sought after pied (feet)

16. Take out of oven, allow macarons to cool.

17. Peel from silpat/silicon mat, and get ready to fill with your buttercream.

Note: Everyone's oven is different! I highly encourage you to experiment and bake some test batches and take notes. I use a table to help me with the headings: Resting Time, Temperature In, Bake Time and Results. For instance, when I used to live on the 10th floor of a south facing building I was resting my macarons for 30 minutes and then baking them at 295F for 8 minutes, rotate and then another 11 minutes. Now that we have moved and have a different oven I am baking my macarons at a lower temperature of 250F (which really measures at 275F) for 20 minutes, rotating and then another 10 minutes.

Earl Grey Buttercream (based on Pierre Herme's method)

80g caster sugar (superfine sugar)25g water1 whole egg (~60g)1 egg yolk160g soft butter (cut into cubes)One bag of double bergamot (Earl Grey) tea

Directions:

1. Bring sugar and water to a boil in a small pot.

2. Heat the sugar to 250F(120C). If it boils clean the sides of the pan with a damp pastry brush. Try not to continually mix the solution. Allow it to heat on its own.

3. In another bowl or the bowl of your Kitchen Aid whisk the eggs and egg yolks until it lightens in colour.

4. Once the hot sugar mixture reaches 250F pour immediately into the whisking egg mixture. You may find turning down the whisking speed temporarily will help prevent hot sugar threads from flying everywhere. However, it is imperative to pour the hot sugar mixture in quickly and then increase to a higher whisking speed.

5. Continue whisking until the mixture has cooled down completely. It will start to look like a meringue and be glossy.

6. Meanwhile, cream then whisk the butter until it has thickened.

7. Once the egg mixture-meringue has cooled, add the butter.

8. Continue whisking until the butter cream is smooth. It may curdle slightly but this is okay. Keep whisking and the butter cream will come back together.

9. Cut open the tea bag and sprinkle into the buttercream and whisk until smooth.

10. Immediately transfer butter cream into a piping bag fitted with a nozzle and pipe away.

11. Pipe a small mound of butter cream onto each half shell.

12. Top with the matching shell to finish the macaron.

Once you are done matching and topping shells, resist the temptation to eat them! Macarons should be stored in the fridge in a covered container for 2 days to reach its optimal flavour and texture. When you are ready to eat them, take out of the fridge two hours before eating. If you are making an entire batch for a special event or can't finish all of them (like me) freeze you macarons in a covered container. Prior to eating defrost in a covered container for 2-3 hours in room temperature.

These macarons taste quite delicious. As you take a bite of the macaron, it is similar to taking a sip of Earl Grey tea. Pairing these macarons with Earl Grey Tea on a sunny afternoon would be perfect! Alternatively, bring them out to eat at a picnic, for dessert or even a small afternoon snack.