(This article appeared in the Spring 2020 issue of Pastry Arts Magazine)
Sponsored by: The Perfect Purée
Seattle baker Tanya Emerick specializes in macarons, and emphasizes the importance of making Red Jalapeño and Dark Chocolate Coconut Curry Macarons with The Perfect Puree Red Jalapeño Puree and pure chocolate. She uses Valrhona 70% Dark Chocolate, a French Chocolate manufactured in a small town near Lyon. Valrhona focuses mainly on high-grade luxury chocolate.
Tanya makes a pink macaron shell with delicate red flowers that she hand-paints using edible metallic red and a watercolor brush and vanilla extract instead of water (water will melt the shell). She finds it’s better to weigh her ingredients for accuracy instead of using a measuring cup. Ideally, use a Robot Coupe, food processor or Vitamix blender to mix the confectioners’ sugar and almond flour together to create fine and evenly mixed dry ingredients. Tanya says that superfine granulated sugar (also known as ‘bakers’ sugar’) is also key to achieving the delicate texture of the macaron, as it will melt more easily into the meringue without the need to heat the sugar. If you don’t have access to a food processor or a Vitamix, she suggests using a blender or a spice grinder.
Red Jalapeño and Valrhona Dark Chocolate Coconut Curry Ganache
- 170 g Valrhona 70% Dark Chocolate, finely chopped
- 28 g shredded unsweetened coconut
- 28 g curry powder
- 57 g cold unsalted butter
- 28 g vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
- 28 g The Perfect Purée Red Jalapeño Puree, at room temperature
- 170 g heavy cream
- 170 g superfine granulated sugar
- Place finely chopped chocolate, shredded unsweetened coconut, curry powder, butter, vanilla paste and The Perfect Purée Red Jalapeño Puree in a heat-proof glass or metal bowl. Heat the cream and sugar on the stovetop until just simmering, stirring to ensure the sugar melts. If the cream is boiling, the cream is too hot, and could separate or even burn the chocolate. Once you see little bubbles begin to form around the edges, turn off the heat and immediately pour the warm cream over the chocolate. Let sit for a few minutes before stirring. Stir until smooth.
- Taste and add more Red Jalapeño Puree if you would like the ganache to have more heat.
Red Jalapeño Jelly (optional for extra heat)
- 3 gelatin sheets
- 200 g The Perfect Puree Red Jalapeño Puree, thawed
- 50-100 g superfine granulated sugar
- To prepare the jelly, soak the gelatin leaves in cold water for 5 minutes to soften.
- Warm The Perfect Puree Red Jalapeño Puree in a saucepan over medium heat.
- Add 50 -100 g superfine sugar, to taste.
- Drain and dry the gelatin and add to the warm purée.
- Pour the purée into a 7” square dish that is lined with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least an hour, until set.
- Once the jelly is set and you are ready to assemble the macaron, turn the jelly square out onto a cutting board and cut small squares (1.5-cm) to fit in the center of your macaron. Alternatively, the jelly can be put into a pastry bag instead of cutting jelly squares. This gives more control over the amount of jelly you add to the center of your macaron.
Macaron Shell (makes 25-30)
- 142 g almond flour
- 1 tsp ground ginger powder
- 234 g confectioners’ sugar
- 125-135 g egg whites (about 4 whites), at room temperature (Note: save the yolks to make a flavorful curd)
- Pinch of cream of tartar
- 100 g superfine granulated sugar
- 1 drop red gel food color or IndiaTree natural colors (you can add more until desired color is achieved, but use no more than 8 drops of food color total, as this will increase the moisture in the macaron batter)
- Move the oven rack to the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 315°F (157˚C). This may vary depending on your oven and its hot spots. If you have a convection fan that blows low, the fan will create an even heat.
- Clean and dry your mixer and whisk attachment by wiping the mixing bowl and whisk with vinegar or lemon juice to alleviate traces of residual fats from prior use (liquids and fats can deflate the egg whites).
- In a food processor, combine the almond flour, ginger powder and confectioners’ sugar, then process for about a minute until the texture is as fine as possible, without over processing, as the almonds will begin to release oils and start to clump. Pass this mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl or onto a piece of parchment paper. Discard any large pieces. If there is more than a tablespoon of almond flour piece, process those pieces and sift again.
- In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the egg whites, cream of tartar, and superfine sugar. Beat slowly at first, then increase the speed to medium and mix for 2 minutes. Increase speed to medium-high and beat for 2 minutes. Then beat on high for 2 minutes more, or until the mixture holds stiff, glossy peaks when you lift the whisk from the bowl. Take care not to over-whip the egg whites as they will become grainy.
- Add your desired food coloring one drop at a time, and beat on medium speed for 30 seconds, again being careful not to overmix. Remove the bowl and wire whisk. Gently add the dry ingredients to the whipped egg mixture. Fold in the dry ingredients (the macaronage process), just until the batter flows like lava, approximately 35 to 45 strokes. Keep in mind that the number of times needed to fold the macaron batter and how long it takes can depend on a variety of factors like meringue stiffness, folding pressure, climate, ingredients and equipment used. To test if your macaron batter is the correct consistency, pull some of the batter away with your rubber spatula and form a figure 8, count to 30 seconds, the macaron “ribbon” of batter should fall back onto the batter and be smooth. If there are still peaks, fold the batter a few more times and keep doing the 30-second test. Macaron shells with peaks are still delicious, but you want to go for a nice smooth shell.
- Once your macaron batter is the correct consistency (“like lava”), rest a pastry bag fitted with a 3/8” round (Ateco #804) tip and top-folded over by a few inches, inside a glass or pitcher, tip-side down. Using a silicone spatula, transfer the batter to the pastry bag. Line two heavy baking sheet pans with Silpats or parchment paper. To keep the parchment paper from lifting when piping the macaron circles, dab a little bit of the batter remaining in the bowl onto the corners of the baking sheets, then line the sheet tray with the parchment paper.
- With the piping tip 1/2″ above one of the lined baking sheets, pipe some batter into a 1” round, then swirl tip off to one side. Repeat, spacing the rounds 1” apart. Tap the sheet trays firmly against the counter 1 or 2 times to release air bubbles in the batter. Bake one sheet of macarons at a time, rotating halfway through, until risen and just set, about 10-13 minutes. To test if the macaron shells need more baking time, gently press the top of the shell. If it gives, the shell needs one more minute of cooking time. Once baked transfer the baking sheet to a rack and let cool completely.
- Once the macaron shells are cool, pipe or spread approximately 1 Tbs of The Red Jalapeño Dark Chocolate Coconut Curry Ganache on the flat sides of half of the macaron shells. (Tanya uses an Ateco #806 French star tip to pipe the ganache, then adds a square of Red Jalapeño Jelly.)
- Top each filled macaron cookie shell with one of the remaining macaron shells. The best way to top the shell is with a twisting motion instead of just pressing down flat. The twisting motion with adhere the top shell to the bottom shell without cracking either shell.
- Place all the macarons on a sheet tray, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate. The macarons will be best the next day after maturing in the refrigerator. Macarons are best eating within two days. Alternatively, you can freeze the macarons for a later date, making sure to let them come to room temperature by gently bringing from frozen to room temperature.
Request a complimentary sample of The Perfect Purée Red Jalapeño Puree at perfectpuree.com/pastryarts
Photo credit: Scott Emerick