Bruadarach

Scottish Gaelic: Dreamer, Visionary

Tag: Caramel

Cookbook Challenge 9 – Macarons

In Paris, I got a lot of very specialised cookbooks. I got the Crème Brûlée one, which I already had as a challenge and also one for Macarons. I have eaten macarons in France a few times but never cooked them before. For this challenge, I even got a special macaron baking mat for 10 Euro. The extra challenge was that whatever I made had to go well with coffee, that was going to be easy I figured.

 

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Caramel Macarons & Vanilla Macarons

190 g almond powder
310 g icing sugar
150 g egg white
95 g caster sugar

Caramel Sauce or
Vanilla crème patissier (see next recipe for eclairs)

 

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Preheat the oven to 150C. Sieve the almond powder and icing sugar into a bowl and mix them together thoroughly. In another bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff whilst slowly adding the caster sugar. When the egg whites are stiff, add the sugar-nut mix and stir it through properly until it’s a shiny mass. No need to worry about breaking the egg whites. Unlike many classical macarons, I stayed away from food colouring which would’ve been added into the egg whites.

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To make  sure the macarons fitted together, I got a dedicated mat to bake macarons for 10 EUR. If you have good aim and can make dots that are the same size, you probably won’t need it. For the first batch I used the wrong nozzle for the icing bag. They evened out nicely enough but would’ve been smoother with a plain round one.

Put them in the middle of the oven for about 10 minutes. When you take them out, let them cool off before taking them off of the tray so that the inside will be smoother. I didn’t wait long enough, but since you fill it in the middle, the look of the inside isn’t terribly important. It does make doing a second batch easier if the tray is cleaner.

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In the end, they were crispy on the outside, and still slightly soft in the middle – just fantastic! I’m not sure if that’s how macarons are supposed to be, but that’s surely the way I like them! If you want them crispy in the middle, it might need a few minutes more.

The first batch of macarons I made with store-bought caramel sauce. Even though it tasted fantastic, it didn’t have the same consistency that one is used to with macarons. In the next challenge, where I made eclairs, I had some vanilla crème patissier left over, so I ended up making another batch of macarons and filling them with the vanilla creme. Also fantastic taste and much more photogenic! Plus that already proves the point that I would make them again, given I did only a few weeks later.

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Cookbook Challenge 1 – Haggis, Whisky & Co

DSC_9645The first challenge was only for half a weekend, so it only included one cookbook, “Haggis, Whisky &  Co.” A Scottish cookbook (written in German and published in Austria) where each recipe goes along with a poem by Robert Burns.

I got the book for my birthday from Mick, so I figured that’s why he made me try it first. Maybe it was because he missed Haggis. Poor him, I wasn’t going to make that… 🙂 Since I had only one cookbook for this weekend, I decided to make a main course and a dessert, starting with the latter. To actually pick one was not that easy. First of all, there aren’t many recipes in this book to begin with – all of them being assembled in menus following a theme.

Venison and other autumn specialities are a bit hard to come by in the middle of the summer, and so are some of the fish specialities you can get in Scotland. Not as fresh at least. One of the first recipes had a caramelized apple cake in it – so that obviously caught my eye. On reading the recipe I realized it was much like the French Tarte Tartin, and I fell in love with that in Paris a few weeks ago. The only ingredient I was missing were eggs, so the choice was easy!

The cake was from the “Bill o’Fate, O my Luve’s like a red, red Rose” menu. A menu for lovers. 🙂

I didn’t follow the recipe by the letter, here’s what I actually ended up doing:

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Caramelised Apple Cake

4 Apples
Juice from half a lemon
3 Eggs
250g Sugar
175ml Oil (something which no to little taste)
175g Flour
1 Packet Baking Powder (approx. 8g)
A bit of Baking Soda
1 Packet Vanilla Sugar (approx. 8g)
50g Butter

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Preheat oven to 175C. Slice and de-seed apples and pour lemon juice over it, so they won’t turn brown. Whisk the eggs and 150g of the sugar until it’s foamy, then slowly add the oil. Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda and vanilla sugar and then add it to the egg-sugar mix. Stir thoroughly until it’s smooth.

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Heat butter and add the 100g of sugar. Mix thoroughly and caramelise it on low heat until it becomes a thick mass. If sugar doesn’t dissolve, add some of the lemon juice from the apple slices.

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Put baking paper in a spring form. Pour caramel in it and evenly cover the bottom. Put the apple slices on top of the caramel and then the dough over the top.

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Bake for 45 min at 175C. Let cool for 15 min, then overturn the cake. Goes well with vanilla ice cream and coffee 🙂

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I think I used a bit too much baking soda, so I changed the recipe accordingly. The dough was superbly light, fluffy and moist, whilst the apples started to get a bit of a crunch to it. Once the cake has cooled down properly, the caramel will get even crunchier. I think it tasted really super and I also like the slightly rustic taste to it.

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