I was itching to start baking more macarons but it turned out to be a rather ‘manja’-ron episode as I’ve affectionately learned from Wie from Journey with Heather whom I’ve discovered while trying to search for a pineapple macaron recipe to make for the upcoming Chinese New Year.
Arh, family and friends back home are busy prepping for one of the most important traditional festivals in the Chinese calendar – the Lunar New Year. In every Chinese household, ‘mayhem’ ensues before the actual day of the New Year. We spring clean our homes to rid of the previous year’s bad luck in order to welcome good luck for the New Year. Then there is massive cooking and buying of traditional Chinese goodies to welcome family and friends into our homes. There’s a whole lot of feasting and gambling in the 15 days of the celebration.
Back home, our home would be filled with tons of goodies purchased or gifted from friends. Oh how I would miss the Bak Kwa, the thin and crispy Kueh Bangkit that thoughtful S has been gifting me for the past couple of years, those yummy pineapple tarts that I would order from my colleague’s secret baker and the awesome Rose & Lychee cookies from Home’s Delight. The list could go on but for fear that I would feel terribly home-sick, I better stop now.
Friends told me that it wasn’t too difficult to attempt making my own pineapple tarts. So I tried making some pineapple jam the other night and instead of filling them with the traditional buttered cookie base, I decided to fill them with macarons instead giving our Asian cookie a French-flair twist. Hehe.
The steps are a little more complicated than usual for I had to make the Pineapple Jam first and then infusing it together with the Mascarpone Cheese the next day.
Pineapple & Mascarpone Cheese Macarons
Makes about 10 filled bite-sized macarons
For Macaron Batter
- 1 egg white (preferably aged for 3 days) brought to room temperature
- A pinch of Cream of Tartar
- 38g icing sugar
- 36g powdered almonds
- 30g granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon of gel-based yellow colouring
- Line baking tray with 2 pieces of parchment paper.
- Sift powdered sugar with the powdered almonds 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 pinch of cream of tartar and the granulated sugar gradually. 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. Continue to beat the egg whites on high for another 1-2 minutes. Add colouring to batter.
- 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 just about 48 strokes to incorporate the dry mixture into the egg whites. Slowly 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.
- Leave the macarons out in the open for at least 30 minutes to an hour. This step is important to allow the top of the macaron shell to dry up so that 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.
To make the Pineapple Jam [Recipe adapted from Lily Wai Sek Hong's pineapple tart filling]
- 100g of canned pineapple (approximately 4 pineapple rings) [I used canned pineapple for it's already been sweetened]
- 2 – 3 tablespoons of sugar (add more or less according to taste)
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 star anise
- Place pineapple into food processor to get the puree. Drain juice.
- Place pineapple in a saucepan under medium heat and add a stick of cinnamon and star anise.
- Continue to stir the mix until the pineapple is almost dry.
- Add sugar according to taste.
- You will know when the pineapple filling is ready when the mixture is sticky. Allow the cooled pineapple filling to be cooled before removing the star anise and cinnamon stick.
- When cooled, store in air-tight container. (Note: Filling can be prepared ahead and frozen until needed.
To make the Pineapple Mascarpone Cheese Filling [Recipe adapted from wie]
- 2 tbsp heavy cream
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 2 tbsp mascarpone cheese
- 2 tbsp pineapple jam
- Whisk heavy cream and sugar till soft peaks form.
- Add mascarpone cheese and pineapple jam. Mix thoroughly. Set aside in the fridge until ready to assemble.
- Spread pineapple mascarpone cheese on the macaron shell.
- Sandwich and you are done!
It’s recommended that you let the flavours sit inside the macaron for 1 day before having them. Also recommended that you take the macarons out from the refrigerator 2 hours before eating them.
Lessons learned: I think I’m still not mixing the batter enough for they still have little peaks on them and they don’t seem to flatten out. Well, but I can’t complain since they have feet. That’s why the nickname of ‘manja’-rons will serve them well for now. Live and learn I guess, I’ll soldier on to the next batch of macarons then. My cousin has another pineapple jam recipe that looks good to be filled with more macs. Think I’ll try that out for as a treat for our little road-trip next weekend.
If you are looking for some home-baked goodies this Lunar New Year, why not give this recipe a try? Happy Baking!
I’ve been busy in the kitchen… Click here to check out my baking adventures in Geneva.