Saturday, December 24, 2016

Pistachio Macarons

Follow my easy step-by-step photo tutorial to these Classic Pistachio Macarons filled with Ladurée pistachio cream. Simply the best!

yield: ABOUT 25 FILLED MACARONS
cook time:20 MIN
total time:2 HOURS (INCLUDING RESTING AND COOLING TIME)

Ingredients:

For Macaron Shells:

2/3 cup (60gr) ground almond flour
1/3 cup (40gr) ground pistachio flour*
¾ cup (100gr) powdered sugar
2 large egg whites (about 70gr)
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
¼ cup (50gr) sugar
1/8 teaspoon green gel food coloring

For Filling:

1/3 cup (65gr) sugar
2 tablespoons (30ml) water
2 egg yolks
2oz (55gr) unsalted butter, softened
3 teaspoons (20gr) pure pistachio paste (I used my homemade version)
Helpful Equipment: • Pastry bag with Wilton Extra Large Round Tip #1

Direction :

In medium bowl, sift together almond flour, pistachio flour and powdered sugar twice. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl with whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on medium speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar and continue to beat. Slowly add sugar one tablespoon at a time. Increase the speed to medium high and beat until hard peaks. Add the food coloring (I used Wilton Leaf Green). Beat on medium speed for one more minute.

Sift the dry ingredients over the whipped egg whites. Gently fold the mixture running the spatula clockwise from the bottom, up around the sides and cut the batter in half. The batter will look very thick at first, but it will get thinner as you fold. Be careful not to over mix it though. Every so often test the batter to see if it reached the right consistency. To test the batter, drop a small amount of the batter and count to ten. If the edges of the ribbon are dissolved within ten seconds, then the batter is ready. I repeat, do NOT mix again. If you still see edges, fold the batter couple more times and test again. I posted a few pictures above to show you how just a few folding changes the consistency of the batter. This step is so crucial, so please make sure to test often to ensure not to over mix the batter.
Transfer the batter into a pastry bag with a round tip. (I use this Wilton A1 large plain round tip.)
Pipe out 1.5-inch rounds about an inch apart on two baking sheets lined with parchment paper. You should get about roughly 54 shells.
Tap the baking sheets firmly on the counter a few times to get rid of any air bubbles. If you don’t release the air bubbles, they will expand during baking and crack the beautiful macarons shells.
Let the macarons rest and dry for 15-30 minutes. On a humid day, it might take an hour or so. To see if it’s ready to be baked, lightly touch it. If the batter doesn’t stick to your finger, then it’s ready. Preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C).
Bake the macarons for 18-20 minutes. To check the doneness, remove one macaron. If the bottom does not stick, they are done.

Transfer to wire rack to cool for 15 minutes, and then remove from the baking sheets.
While macarons are drying, prepare the pistachio cream.

 In a small saucepan, combine water and sugar and heat it over medium heat. Stir the mixture until the sugar is completely dissolved. Then bring it to a boil and cook until the syrup reaches 250°F (120°C).
In a mixing bowl with whisk attachment, beat the egg yolks for 2 minutes. While the mixer is running on low, slowly pour the hot syrup into the egg yolks. Increase the speed to medium high, and beat the mixture until it cools down to 104°F (40°C). The mixture will become smooth and white.
Add the butter a tablespoon at a time. Then add the pistachio paste and food coloring, if desired. Continue to beat the cream until nice and smooth.
Transfer the pistachio cream into a pastry bag and fill the macarons. It’s best to serve macarons the next day.
Store the filled macarons in airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. You can also freeze the filled macarons in airtight container for up to 5 months.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Basic French Macarons

Yield: about 2 dozen sandwich cookies

INGREDIENTS

212 grams almond meal
212 grams confectioners’ sugar
82 and 90 grams egg whites, divided
236 grams granulated sugar, plus a pinch
158 grams water

Buttercream or ganache, for filling

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 350˚ F and place a rack in the middle of the oven.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper.  In a large bowl, combine the almond meal and confectioners’ sugar.  Whisk together to blend and break up any clumps.  (You may also use an equal weight of blanched or slivered almonds and grind them in a food processor, but I much prefer the convenience of almond meal, not to mention I think it ultimately results in a better texture.)  Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in 82 grams of the egg whites.  Blend the egg whites into the dry ingredients until evenly mixed.  The mixture will be thick and paste-like.

Meanwhile, combine the sugar and water for the syrup in a small saucepan over medium-high heat with a candy thermometer clipped to the side.  When the temperature is around 200˚ F, combine the 90 gram portion of egg whites with a pinch of sugar.  Begin whipping on medium-low speed.  Continue whipping the whites on medium speed until they form soft peaks.  If soft peaks are achieved before the syrup reaches the target temperature, reduce the speed to low to keep the whites moving.

Once the syrup reaches 248˚ F, immediately remove it from the heat.  Increase the mixer speed to medium and pour the syrup down the side of the bowl in a slow drizzle until fully incorporated.  Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and whip the meringue until stiff, glossy peaks form.  (If you are going to add color to the macaron shells, this is the time to do so.  Gel or powdered food colors should be used.)

Add one third of the meringue mixture to the bowl with the almond mixture.  Fold in gently until the mixture is smooth.  A bit at a time, gently fold in the remaining meringue until the batter is smooth and runs in thick ribbons off of the spatula.  You may not need all of the meringue, so add it gradually.  (I typically use most but not all of it.)  Add the batter to a pastry bag fitted with a plain round tip with about a ½-inch opening.  Hold the bag perpendicular to the baking sheet about ½-inch above the surface of the pan.  Steadily pipe rounds about 1¼- to 1½-inches in diameter.  The batter may create small peaks immediately after piping, but if it is the correct texture these will smooth themselves away after a minute or two.  If the batter is too stiff, the peaks will remain and the tops of the shells may not be totally smooth.  If the batter is too thin, the rounds will spread further.

Transfer the baking sheet to the oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 325˚ F.  Bake for 9-12 minutes, until the tops are smooth and set and “feet” have formed around the bottom.  Let the shells cool just briefly on the baking sheet, maybe 5 minutes or so, and then peel away from the parchment.  They should come away easily and fully intact.  Transfer to a cooling rack.  Repeat as needed with the remaining batter, replacing the parchment paper with each batch.  (Bring the oven temperature back up to 350˚ F before baking a second sheet, and proceed as before.)  Once the shells are baked and cooled, match them up in pairs by size and sandwich with the filling of your choice.   Store in an airtight container.

*All of the measurements for this recipe are listed by weight.  A kitchen scale is necessary for making macarons as volume measures are far less accurate and may result in a poor outcome.

SOURCE
Bouchon Bakery by Thomas Keller and Sebastien Rouxel

Monday, October 31, 2016

Strawberry Shortcake Cheesecake




Ingredients:

Bottom crust
22 Golden Oreo's Crushed
5 Tbsp Melted butter

Filling
4 x 8 oz packages cream cheese
1 2/3 cups sugar
1/4 cup corn starch
1 Tbsp Pure Vanilla Extract
2 Large Eggs
3/4 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
Jar of Smucker's strawberry ice cream topping

Topping
12 Golden Oreo's Crushed & divided into 2 bowls (one for plain Oreo topping, one for your strawberry ones)
1 1/2 Tsp Softened Butter
3 Tbsp from a small package of strawberry gelatin


Directions :

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Line the outer perimeter of your pan with aluminum foil and generously apply butter to the inside to prevent sticking.

Crust – crush the Oreo’s & incorporate the butter, press into the bottom of your springform pan.

Filling – Place one 8-ounce package of the cream cheese, 1/3 cup of the sugar, and the cornstarch in a large bowl.

Beat with an electric mixer on low until creamy, about 3 minutes, then beat in the remaining 3 packages of the cream cheese. Increase the mixer speed to high and beat in the remaining 1 1/3 cups of the sugar, then beat in the vanilla.

Blend in the eggs, one at a time, beating the batter well after each one.
Blend in heavy cream.

At this point mix the filling only until completely blended. Be careful not to over mix the batter.
Gently spoon 1/2 of the cheese filling on top of the prepared crust. spoon plops 1/2 the jar of strawberry topping here and there. Drag a butter knife through the strawberries to marblize the cheese/straberries. Spoon in the other half of the batter and the repeat the strawberry process on top. Bake for 1 hour or until there is only a slight jiggle when shook gently.
crumb topping – In a small bowl or the food processor, add the Oreo cookies and pulse into large crumbs. Add the softened butter and mix gently with a fork or your hands to make pea-sized pieces stick together. Scoop out 2 tablespoons of the mixture into a small bowl and set aside. Pour strawberry jello powder over the remaining crumbs and continue pinching the pieces together. Add more softened butter if needed for mixture to stick to the cake.



Thursday, February 19, 2015

Key Lime Cheesecake


keylimecheesecake

This is a deliciously easy Key Lime cheesecake recipe. Tangy and rich, the lime is the perfect companion to the sweetness of the cheesecake. This recipe gets rave reviews from everyone that tries it, it is a sure winner!

Ingredients:

1/2 cup sugar
2 packages (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon grated lime peel
2 eggs

1 graham cracker pie crust
1 cup thawed Cool Whip topping

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Beat cream cheese, whipping cream, sugar, lime peel, lime juice and vanilla with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add eggs, one at a time; mix just until blended.

2. Pour mixture evenly into graham cracker crust.

3. Bake for 40 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool.

4. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight. Top with whipped topping before serving.



Friday, July 11, 2014

White Almond Cake

INGREDIENTS:


1 (18.25 ounce) package white cake mix
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cups water
1 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 egg whites

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease and flour an 11x13 inch cake pan.
2. Stir together the white cake mix, flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl until well mixed. Pour in the water, sour cream, vegetable oil, almond and vanilla extracts, and egg whites, and beat with an electric mix on low until all the ingredients are mixed and moistened but some lumps still remain, 4 minutes.
3. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan, and bake in the preheated oven until the top is a light golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Allow to cool before frosting.

Snow White Cake

Serves 2 9-inch layer cakes or 3 8-inch layer cakes

Ingredients

3 cups cake flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup milk, room temperature
2 cups sugar, divided
6 large egg whites, room temperature

Directions

Grease two 9-inch cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper.

Preheat the oven to 350-degrees.

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together in a spacious bowl.
Add the oil and mix by hand until combined.
Stir in the milk until integrated
Stir in 1-1/2 cups of sugar and beat until just combined.
Place the egg whites in the clean bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat on high speed until foamy. Continue to whip at high speed, adding the remaining ½-cup sugar a little at a time, until whites hold soft, glossy peaks.
Fold 1/3 of the whipped egg whites into the batter by hand. Repeat adding the next and the final third.
Fill each cake pan with half of the batter.
Give pans 4 to 5 good whacks on the counter and run a knife through horizontally and vertically several times to release air bubbles.
Place pans on the middle rack of the preheated oven and bake 30 minutes or until the cakes spring back when pressed gently in the center, and have just barely begun to shrink from the edges of the pan.
Sit the tins on a rack and cool for 10 minutes then invert to remove from the pans. Peel off the parchment paper and set the layers—right side up—on the racks until completely cooled.

Chocolate Strawberry Cake

Start this creative project by baking your favourite chocolate cake, making enough to produce 3-9″ rounds.

Ingredients


4 1/2 cups cream
1/2 cup icing sugar
2 cups strawberries, quartered
2 Tbsp strawberry preserves or strawberry jam
4 whole strawberries for garnish
20 oz semi-sweet chocolate

Method
1. In a large mixing bowl, use a hand mixer on high speed to beat cream and icing sugar together until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
2. In a separate mixing bowl, beat strawberries and preserves together on medium speed for about 1 min.
3. Using a spatula, gently fold berries into whipped cream mixture.
4. In a double boiler, melt chocolate over low heat.
5. Cut 2 sheets of parchment paper, making sure the sheets are long enough to easily wrap around the chocolate cake, while leaving a bit of overlap.
6. Lay parchment sheets on bottom of 2 cookie sheets and spread chocolate on both sheets. Tap sheets gently on counter to spread evenly.
7. Chill in fridge until chocolate hardens.
8. Preheat oven to 250˚F.
Assembly
1. Spread 1/3 of the strawberry mousse on bottom layer of chocolate cake round.
2. Place second chocolate layer on top. Spread with 1/3 of the mousse.
3. Top with final layer.
4. Remove 1 chocolate sheet from fridge and flash heat in the oven for 3 to 5 secs.
5. Carefully lift warm chocolate from cookie sheet and wrap around assembled cake and mousse layers.
6. Place cake in fridge until chocolate hardens and then remove parchment paper.
7. Repeat steps 4-6 with remaining chocolate sheet.
8. Top cake with remaining mousse and decorate with strawberries.
Yield 10-12 servings

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