Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Earl Grey Tea Macarons

I've been so ecstatic about having an over 50% success rate in the macaron shells from my last post that I had to try again to make sure it wasn't a fluke.  And two batches later my success rate is increasing - I think only the green tea ones had a few hollows, and they again all had feet and were smooth! ヾ(@^∇^@)ノ*happy dance*  I made the matcha sesame macarons again (though I forgot to add the black sesame seed decoration on top this time), and an Earl Grey tea flavored macaron, also from Shiawase Days (senpai noticed me! o((*^▽^*))o).  Seriously though, check out Amy Lu's blog - love her beautiful photos of all the super cute desserts she makes!  I always get so hungry looking at them.  Since I did a couple things differently, I'm posting the recipe here with my changes as a note to myself.

Adapted from Shiawase Days
makes 10-12 macarons


For the batter
- 2g (1 tsp) Earl Grey loose leaf tea or 1 tea bag*
- 43g almond flour
- 75g powdered sugar
- 45g egg whites (about the amount from one large egg - I have gotten away with 40g when my egg wasn't large enough)
- 40g (2.5 Tb) baker's sugar (aka superfine sugar)**
- gel food coloring (optional - I used a teal colored one from Wilton)

*Use a good tea with a strong flavor for it to come through in the batter as well as in the ganache.  I love the Earl Grey blend from Fortnum & Mason, as well as the one from Harrods!

**Baker's sugar is basically the same as granulated, but finer.  I find it incorporates and dissolves much easier in recipes that require whipping sugar with egg whites or creaming with butter.  If you do not have it on hand, regular granulated sugar will work too.

For the Earl Grey Ganache
- 50g milk chocolate
- 60ml heavy cream
- 4g (2 tsp) Earl Grey loose leaf tea or 2 tea bags

Prepare your baking sheet, parchment paper or silpat, and piping bag with a round tip (about 1/4") ahead of time so that everything is ready when the batter is done.  I used a half sheet pan with a silpat and a template with 24 circles of 1.5" diameter.

Optional step: For the batter, if your tea leaves are large and coarse, use a mortar and pestle or clean spice grinder to ground the leaves finer.  Alternatively, you can process the tea leaves with the sifted almond flour and powdered sugar in a food processor.

Sift almond flour and powdered sugar into a bowl.  I like to sift directly into a bowl on the scale so that any large bits of almond aren't adding to the weight only to be taken out later.  Whisk in the ground tea and sift everything again.

Whisk the egg white until foamy.  Gradually add the sugar and continue whisking until you get soft peaks.  If you are using food coloring, add 1-2 tiny drops at this stage.  Continue whisking until firm peaks.  This visual guide from The Kitchn is helpful for identifying the different stages.

Using a spatula, fold in half of the almond flour sugar mixture into the meringue until just incorporated.  Fold in the remaining flour and continue folding until you reach ribbon consistency (you can see what that looks like in this video from Byron Talbott at about 2:30min in).  The ribbon should fall down from the spatula and melt back in with the rest of the batter within 5-10 seconds.

Spoon batter into a piping bag and pipe the batter onto the parchment paper or silpat.  The silpat tends to form more even shells, but smaller feet compared to parchment paper for me).  

Lift and tap the sheet against the counter to release any air bubbles.

Preheat the oven to 250F.

Rest the macarons for about 10-15 minutes (or longer as needed) until the batter forms a skin and is dry on top - if you touch it with your finger, it should not feel sticky.  I like to turn on the air conditioner to help speed up the process and that usually gets it ready in less than 15 minutes.

Bake for about 23-25 minutes.  When done, let the macaron shells cool completely before trying to remove them from the sheet.

While the macarons are baking, heat the heavy cream in a small pot until simmering.  Remove from heat and add the 2 tsp of tea/2 tea bags, stir, and cover with a lid.  Let it steep for 5 minutes.

Melt the chocolate in the microwave 15 seconds at a time, stirring each time. 

After 5 minutes remove the tea bags (squeeze it a bit to get the extra concentrated liquid out) or use a sieve if using loose leaf to remove the tea leaves and pour over the melted chocolate.  Whisk until incorporated.

Place the ganache in the fridge to chill - stirring every few minutes or so, until it has reached a firm enough consistency to pipe.

Once the ganache is firm enough to pipe, transfer it to a pipping bag with a round tip and pipe onto half of the macaron shells.  To get that smooth round outer edge, pipe in a circle a few millimeters in from the edge and then fill in the circle.  Place the second shell on top and press down gently.  

Let filled macarons chill, lying flat in an airtight container overnight to mature before eating (ideally at least 12 hours so that the moisture from the filling softens the insides of the shells).  Remove from fridge and let it sit about 5-10 minutes at room temp before serving.

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