Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Hiatus of massive proportions

Hello Lovelies,
I have been busy making big changes in my life, one of which I am the most excited about.

As of February 2011 I will be studying to become a Patissier at a Technical College.

This is a dream I have had for a while, and I am so happy I was accepted, and I cannot wait to be measured for my Chef whites and collect my kit in a few weeks.

I have also moved into my own tiny studio apartment right near School and the only downside is that I have no oven ( investing in a small convection oven is a few months away yet).
So there has been a big shift in my dreams becoming reality and all that it entails and I am over the moon.

Until my oven is purchased, I can work with sugar, custards and chocolate, so there will be some things up in the coming weeks.
I just wanted to tell the people who have been looking, that I am very much alive, I had a wonderful Christmas/Holiday season and I hope you have had one too!

Happy New Year

Love, Hugs and Dulce De Leche

Miss E

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Macarons Gerbet or "what the heck have I gotten myself into?" Macarons

Macarons Gerbet
Estimated time to complete: 2 hours
Makes 25 sandwich cookies

Recipe from the book " The fundamental techniques of classic pastry arts"

115gm (4 ounces) almond flour, also known as almond meal
200gm (7 ounces) Confectioners sugar- or in Australia, pure icing sugar

For the meringue:
90gm (3 1/4 ounces) egg whites, at room temperature
8gm (2 tablespoons) confectioners sugar

For the finish:
Traditionally you would use raspberry jam
I made a chocolate ganache, and used leftover Dulce De Leche
(Dulce is way too sweet- better make a buttercream flavoured with Dulce, add some flakes of sea salt)


Baking sheet/tray
Baking parchment
Food processor fitted with metal blade
Standing electric mixer fitted with whip attachment
Rubber spatula
Pastry bag fitted with #2 tip- or in my case a cheap icing bag with no tip attached
Wire racks to cool
Metal spatula to help slide macarons up


Prepare your mise en place (a French phrase defined as "everything in place").

Preheat oven to 162 Celsius (325 Fahrenheit).

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside.

Combine the almond flour and sugar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade.
Process for about one minute until, or until very fine.

To make the Meringue, place the egg whites in the bowl of the standing electric mixer fitted with the whip attachment. Beat on low to aerate. Add the sugar, raise the speed to high and beat for about 3 minutes, or until soft peaks form. Take care not to overwhip or the meringue will be dry and it will be difficult to fold in the dry ingredients.

Remove the bowl from the mixer and using a rubber spatula, fold the almond mixture into the meringue until well blended.

Transfer the batter to a pastry bag fitted with the #2 tip.

Carefully pipe 50 2.5 cm (1 inch) rounds of the macaron batter onto the parchment-lined baking sheet.
Set them aside for about 1 hour, or until the macarons form a skin on their surface.
This is extremely important, as the skin helps the macarons hold their shape during baking

Bake the macarons for about 10 minutes, or until firm and just beginning to brown around the edges
(the macarons should not colour much during baking.) Watch carefully, as the high sugar content can cause the cookies to burn quickly.

Immediately transfer the macarons to wire racks to cool.

Once cool, sandwich the macarons with desired filling, serve immediately or store them, airtight in layers, at room temperature for a day or two.

Now for my notes on the method/process that would have helped me prior to the event.

Digital scales are preferable when it comes to baking, like the old adage for carpenters "measure twice, cut once"- you must be precise with baking, especially when working with meringue.

Once you process the almond meal and sugar, try and sift, loosen the mix- otherwise it is hard to fold.

Add flavourings and/or colours to the meringue in the last 30 secs of whipping the mix, before you fold in the almond mixture - you don't need to be too precious about it- otherwise it won't mix.

Make sure you tap the tray on the bench once you have piped on the macaron circles- this helps get rid of any air bubbles.

Once in the oven, keep a close eye- as these babies cook quickly- mine were more golden- but it didn't detract at all from the final result.

IF YOU HAVE MACARONS COOLING DO NOT LET THE CAT OUT- Mum let our cat Chai out of their room, and he decided in a split second to investigate cooling macarons (the best and first batch out of the oven) flipped the tray by standing on the edge and they ended up all over the floor. I was mad as a hatter, having cooked and prepped for over 2 hours already at that point.

Realise how easy it is, and know you can do it again and again without it being scary like the first time.

What follows are some pictures of my process, final result and the offending cat- he is adorable- but such a naughty ninja cat!


All weighed and measured

piped- not very pretty- I am worried at this point

Cooling, pre Chai attack

The gorgeous culprit- our cat Chai

Glossy, slightly domed, ruffled foot- all good points (=

Gorgeous glossy ganache, before putting it in the fridge to firm- oh so delish

Dulche De Leche- way too rich, and sweet- would be better to add flavours to a buttercream

Dark chocolate ganache filled- ultimate favorite in my household- so much so, I only got to try one.

While I thought that Macarons would be much more frightening, I was rather impressed with my abilities- honestly next time round it will take me half the time and I can experiment with more flavours- would love to try Strawberry and Mint, or Chocolate with Salt Caramel Buttercream (using dulce).

They were a massive hit, and rather rich, which is how a good dessert should be really sweet, satisfying and luxurious.

What did you think? What flavours would you recommend I try?

I do need to make them again soon, i have to make a batch for my gal J, and for my man who is living interstate <3 Miss u, don't worry there will be plenty of baking to come for you xo

Love, Hugs and Macaron Kisses


Thursday, October 14, 2010

About Me

I am a 28 year old woman who loves to bake and learn new things in the kitchen.
I am a bit of a geek, and love all things kawaii too.
My goal is to improve my skills and use this blog to document everything I accomplish.
Please feel free to comment- I love talking food

Miss E

STEP ONE (you can have lots of fun)

Ok glorious foodies, I myself, have joined the masses and created my very own food blog.
Now, to be clear, I am not professionally trained, I am massive food geek, and anything sweet is right up my alley.
My goal is to learn more about the finer skills involved in pastry arts, food styling and photography. I hope along the way, I can see a distinct improvement in my skills, and look back on that first baking disaster and titter to myself about how unrefined I was when I began.

To start with, it may seem like I am mental to begin with Macarons- everyone seems to freak out about baking these glorious little beauties, and although I have not found a brilliant one yet in Melbourne, time will tell. 

This weekend, I will be making Macarons Gerbet (The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Pastry Arts  by the French Culinary Institute, New York) and will be posting the success/failure as it happens- no pomp and circumstance here- just honest to goodness baking.

I will endevour to become "Melbourne's Macaron Madame" as my friend J has phrased it - giving it a go never hurt anyone.

Hugs and Dulce de leche

Miss E