These vanilla macs are a classic flavour from Laduree in Paris or Pierre Herme’s macaron shop. The dulce de leche one is what I concocted because I have some dulce de leche leftover. After trying the Swiss meringue method and Italian meringue method that worked for me (but still tricky coz sometimes its really a hot day) I decided to give the French method a go one more time! This was the method I used first time I tried to make macarons and failed miserably, until I learnt the know-how in baking school. Even after that one can still fail, for so many reasons, cracked, flat, no feet, it goes on.
When I tell my dear husband I am making macarons, he will tell me to please make them when he is away on a business trip or, when he is at work. If I fail, I will sit on the kitchen floor sprawled, staring at the tray of a failed batch and wonder what went wrong. If dear husband’s home he will close that kitchen door, I’ll bet if he can put an iron bolt he will! He will also hear the cries or a wailing sound coming from the kitchen, “Wwwhhhhhhhhyyyyyyyyyyyy??!!!!!! Arrrrgggghh!!!” For sure he will sit far away from me for the time being. It is just so disheartening when you think you did all the correct method and followed instructions to a tip top, then it falls flat. I realise I cannot make them on a freaking hot day, or wake up with a bad vibe, all the makings of a macaron will go down the drain. I don’t know about others, but weather plays a part, if it is cool and I am calm, breathe…..it will be fine. Drastic measures mean, we have to move away to a cooler climate or fit air conditioning in my whole kitchen!
This recipe is adapted from Jill Colonna’s book “Mad about Macarons” The method is the French way, and I am hoping this works for me so that I do not have to heat up the sugar to a roll ball texture before adding it to the whipped meringue! Voila! It works! So happy the feet, turned out pretty more frilly and looks like a tutu. I do have to experiment again.
Recipe for Vanilla Custard and Dulce de leche Macarons adapted from Jill Colonna’s book.
Ingredients for shells:
- 150g egg whites : approx 5eggs
- 100g fine caster sugar
- 180g ground almonds
- 270g icing sugar
- ½ tsp vanilla powder or vanilla beans from the pod
- yellow or caramel colouring
For the filling:
- 100g organic butter (used unsalted)
- 160ml full milk
- 1 vanilla pod split lengthways
- 1 egg
- 20g caster sugar
- 20g custard powder
- Few drops vanilla extract (optional)
- 100g dulce de leche
Method for shells:
Line 3 baking sheets with perfectly flat greaseproof paper and set aside.
Sift the ground almonds with the icing sugar using a medium sieve.
Mix well to incorporate icing sugar and almonds set aside.
Whisk egg whites (at room temperature) to glossy firm peaks adding the caster sugar gradually.
If adding colour add a dash of colouring ( I use powdered or gel based) towards end of mixing.
Incorporate the beaten egg whites into the dry ingredients using a large spatula and mix well. (note there is no need to “fold” the mixture.
To achieve macaronnage, use a plastic scraper going back and forth to press out the oxygen from the whites.
The result should be soft and brilliant and ribbon like stage, if the mixture is too liquid then the macarons will be flat. If the mixture is too stodgy then it will crack.
Transfer mixture to a piping bag with plain nozzle.
Pipe to desired rounds about 3cm for medium sized.
Leave for about 30 minutes to set (if u touch at 30 minutes it should not stick)
Preheat oven at 175C while waiting for the macarons to set. Turn down lower to 160C when baking macarons. (Note every oven differs, so while it maybe 160C for one another could be 150C, etc)
Bake in centre rack of oven about 10-12mins test about into 8 minutes once those “feet” have developed, test with finger if there is a “wobble” if there is bake 3-4 minutes more.
When ready leave them on a tray until cool and scrape off with a palette knife.
For the filling:
Cream the butter (French refer is as en pommade) and set aside.
In a saucepan, boil the milk with vanilla pod that has been sliced in two.
Take off the heat and let it infuse for about 15 minutes.
In a bowl, beat together the egg, sugar and custard powder.
Remove vanilla pod from milk and add the milk to the egg mix. Return to pan and the heat whisking constantly until it thickens. Then take off the heat and cool. Place a cling film directly on the cream so that it does not form a “skin”
When cool whisk in the creamed butter adding afew drops of vanilla extract to taste. Transfer to a piping bag arrange the macaron shells in pairs and pipe to assemble.
For dulce de leche filling.
Divide the vanilla custard filling in half (its enough for all the macs) and in one half add the dulce the leche(caramelized condensed milk) mix well and you will get a nice thick texture. Filling is ready to use.
Foodnote: Macarons are nicer to eat when u leave in the fridge 24hrs before eating. Then again who can resist??
For the vanilla custard filling or pastry cream, if u have a recipe that suits you well you may use it.