Saturday, July 24, 2010

Finally - A Use For Avocado!

I know, I know, lots of people - probably most people in fact - love avocado.

I am not one of those people.

I don't like the smell, I don't like the taste, and I don't like the texture. Even getting it on my hands makes me shudder.

But these - oh wow. These I am in love with.

Avocado and pineapple macarons.

Who would have thought? Frankly I had never heard of avocado-and-pineapple flavoured anything until I tasted such a macaron from a box given to me by way of a belated birthday present (thank you, thank you - you know who you are - they were delicious). A quick Google search has, as usual, been enough to give me some idea of just how much I don't know. Apparently there are salads and everything.

Anyway, I'm not going to presume to give anyone a lesson on making macarons. They are fickle little beasties, and I've only been making them for a relatively short time. Really I'm still experimenting, but I've been lucky so far - most have worked, and none have been complete and utter disasters. I'm sure that will happen one day though! For those seeking help in this area, I would recommend you go and have a read of the Macaronicite articles at Syrup & Tang. I have found it extremely helpful, and I use his formula for my batter. Also, you really need an oven thermometer, and decent trays. Also a candy thermometer, for making the sugar syrup:
Which is then beaten with the (carefully measured) egg whites to form a meringue:

Which is then mixed quickly (but for the love of heaven not overmixed) into the almond meal, icing sugar, and (again carefully measured) extra egg whites:
It can then be coloured, flavoured (if desired, but not with anything too wet), transferred lovingly into a piping bag, and piped onto a paper-lined tray:

Then there's the resting, then the baking at whatever exact temperature your particular oven prefers to cook macarons, and finally the moment of truth: Have They Stuck??

In this case, the answer was just a tiny bit, which is okay. Phew!

The next day, out came the piping bag again - this time for the filling. I made this by blitzing tinned pineapple in my blender until completely smooth. I then removed the pineapple and blitzed the flesh of a whole avocado, gradually adding just enough pureed pineapple to make it fluid enough for the blender to deal with. Next, I creamed 125g of butter and 100g icing sugar in my trusty mixer until extremely pale and fluffy (I was going for a really silky smooth texture, and I also didn't want it to be overly sweet). Then I began adding the avocado-pineapple mixture, continuing to beat, and tasting after each addition. In the end, most of the avocado went in - probably only a tablespoon or so was left out.

The result? A light, delicate, not overly sweet filling that was perfect for my lovely little green macarons. I may or may not have eaten some of it with a spoon as well.

I also made chocolate-banana macarons. I wasn't quite as happy with the texture of my chocolate shells - the cocoa made them just a little... I don't know... cakey? They were still good, and still definitely macarons, but a bit softer, or something. I don't know. Maybe I used too much cocoa... (is 2 Tablespoons cocoa in a batch using 50g egg white too much? Anyone know?)

The chocolate shells had two fillings: a little dark chocolate ganache piped in teardrops around the edges (so it would show), and a banana buttercream (125g butter, 150g icing sugar, 1 pureed banana plus a little more than enough cream to allow the blender to puree the banana).

Then, when all my lovely little macarons had matured in the fridge overnight (sniff - don't they grow up fast?), I proceeded to impale them on toothpicks stuck into a polystyrene cone. Which sounds like madness, and it kind of is, but it's also kind of cool...

And no, Masterchef, is not the first place I've ever seen a macaron tower, but it was the first time I'd ever seen the actual process - and realised there were toothpicks involved, and that it just might not be too insanely difficult. And it wasn't - hurrah! I actually found that the macarons slid quite happily onto the toothpicks (granted I was careful about it). It helped that they were cold - I think it would have been a lot harder if they were freshly filled (as the poor Masterchef contestants had to do).

Anyway, here is my finished product (and my husband's birthday "cake"):

I'm aware that it is very definitely no Adriano Zumbo creation, but you know what? I am feeling pretty pleased with myself about this - not bad for a first effort, I think!


Annapet said...

I cannot believe I am the first one here! We have to get the word out about your blog!

Macaron love to you!

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