I’ve been cooking loads here in Geneva and posting the pictures to my family using ‘What’s App’. My mom is suitably impressed as with my sisters and they’ve been bugging me to cook for them when I go back to Singers. The only thing is that when I go back, I don’t really want to do the cooking. I rather head out, or let my mom-in-law whip up the meal. Hehe. I’m lazy that way. Singapore is a food paradise and there is too much that I want to eat back home rather than to make it myself.
So, ahead of our little family vacation – first to Paris then Pyrenees (Lourdes) and then finishing at Coventry (UK) for the little one’s graduation – I decided to make these macarons for my parents and the little one.
After the success of my chocolate macarons, I was raring to go for more. I had wanted to bake some for friends to try and so, I baked up batch 2 and 3 within the next couple of days, but those failed terribly. I was disappointed and wondered if batch 1 was just a fluke. But undeterred, I woke up bright and early Monday morning and tried my hand at batch 4. I wanted the family to try some of my hand-made macarons and I was determined to in the words of Tim Gunn ‘Make it work’!
My parents don’t exactly have the sweet tooth so I decided to try making some Vanilla macarons with an earl grey cream cheese filling. My original plan was to have these macaron shells be in a shade of robin blue. But after the failure of batch 2 and batch 3, I suspected that I had added too much colouring in the batter. So I went for simple vanilla shells and for a hint of earl grey scent encapsulated in the shells, I dusted some earl grey tea leaves onto the shells.
Vanilla Macarons with Earl Grey Cream Cheese
Makes about 6 filled macarons
For Macaron Batter
- 1/3 cup powdered sugar
- 1/3 cup powdered almonds
- 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla essence
- 1 egg white (preferably aged for 3 days) brought to room temperature
- 2 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- Earl grey tea leaves sifted (I used half a bag of Twinnings Earl Grey Tea)
For Earl Grey Cream Cheese Filling
- 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 50g of cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla essence
- 1/4 cup of powdered sugar and 1/2 bag of Earl Grey tea leaves (sifted together)
- Line baking tray with 2 pieces of parchment paper.
- Sift powdered sugar with the almond powder to ensure that there are no lumps.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat the egg white until they begin to foam. At this stage, add the granulated sugar and continue beating until very stiff and firm. When you invert the bowl, the egg white batter has to stay put. That’s the time you know when you should stop. I decided to play it safe and whisked the egg white batter for about 5 minutes before stiff peaks were formed. Add vanilla essence and beat the egg whites on high for another 1-2 minutes.
- Carefully fold the dry ingredients, in 3 batches, into the beaten egg whites with a flexible rubber spatula (ideally). Stop folding when the mixture is smooth and there are no streaks of egg white. I used about 30 strokes to incorporate the dry mixture into the egg whites. Scrape the batter into the pastry bag (standing the bag in a tall glass helps if you’re alone).
- Pipe the batter on the parchment-lined baking sheets in 1-inch circles, evenly spaced one-inch (3 cm) apart.
- Rap the baking sheet a few times firmly on the counter top to flatten the macarons and to remove the air-bubbles in the macarons.
- Dust the earl grey tea leaves on to the macarons (if desired) and leave the macarons out in the open for at least 30 minutes to an hour. This is so that the top dries up and you get a smooth surface for the macarons. You will know when to pop the macarons into the oven when you touch the macarons and the batter does not stick to your fingers. Be careful not to leave them out too much for it will give you crunchy macarons and you don’t want that. This step is important and if you skip it, your macarons might flatten . While waiting, preheat oven to 140 degrees C.
- Bake for 15 mins and let cool completely before removing from baking sheet.
- In a small bowl, beat together the butter, cream cheese and vanilla essence. Add the powdered sugar (depending on desired thickness) a little at a time and beating until smooth after each addition. a
- Spoon the earl grey frosting on the macaron shell with the earl grey dust and top with remaining macaron shell to form sandwiches.
Again, it’s recommended that you let the flavours sit inside the macaron for 1 day before having them. I guess by the time my family have these macarons, the flavours would all be infused into the macarons.
I stuck my finger into the Earl Grey Cream Cheese frosting after I finished making the macarons and the frosting tasted delicious. I didn’t make them too sweet so I’m kinda worried that the filling might melt when I’m transporting the macarons from Geneva to Paris. But fingers crossed! I’m hoping that the family would like these little pieces of sugared delights that I’ve put my heart into making them.