March 18, 2013

Strawberry Jam & Buttercream French Macarons

Strawberry Jam & Buttercream Macaron | Tried & Twisted

The other day, I shared an in-depth tutorial on the process of making the finicky, but rewarding dessert: the French macaron. Several of the photos in that tutorial featured a gorgeous ruby red macaron. Who was that lady in red? That was the strawberry jam & vanilla buttercream macaron, and today I'll introduce you to her recipe.

This recipe reminds me of days long ago with my Grandma, eating all varieties of fruit jams and jellies preserved in jars in her farmhouse cellar. The super sweet strawberry flavor always made me feel like I was getting away with eating dessert for dinner, like eating a strawberry ring pop in a sandwich.

While I do often challenge myself to make the jam from scratch, for this batch of strawberry jam macarons, I cheated and bought my jelly at the grocery store. Will you ever forgive me? Will you still respect me as a food blogger if I admit this? I promise I'll make it up to you with a jam recipe from scratch...eventually.
As I mentioned in the full tutorial, flavoring your macaron shells with liquid flavor extract is one of the easiest methods to add extra pizazz and a good way to ease into such a tricky baking project. 

Now what you pair the macaron with inside is just as important and adds just as much complexity to the flavor. A macaron filled with jam or jelly has a completely different taste and texture than a macaron filled with fresh fruit. I chose to pair the strawberry-flavored macaron with filling that enhances the strawberry flavor and adds an extra layer of buttery sweet flavor.

Piping Strawberry Jam & Buttercream Macaron

Macaron Recipe
240 g confectioner's sugar
180 g almond flour
80 g granulated sugar
140 g egg whites (room temperature)
pinch of cream of tartar
1/8 tsp strawberry extract
5 drops of red gel food coloring

Buttercream Recipe
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large egg whites
1/2 cup unsalted butter (room temperature)
pinch of salt

+ Plus 2 cups of strawberry jam

1. Preheat oven to 325°FSift almond flour and confectioner's sugar together in bowl or mix in food processor to combine ingredients.
2. Whip egg whites at medium speed in stand mixer with whip attachment until foamy and wires of beater leave trails (1 - 2 minutes).
3. Add a pinch of tartar (optional). Continue to whip and add 1 Tbsp of granulated sugar every 30 - 45 seconds until all 80 grams have been added. Continue whipping until meringue turns glossy and stiff in about 4 - 8 minutes. If you remove the whisk and turn it upside down, your meringue should form a stiff peak.
4. Combine half of the almond flour/sugar mixture with the meringue and mix it gently with a rubber spatula. Add the second half of the almond flour/sugar mixture, food coloring, if desired, and strawberry extract, and gently mix to combine batter.
5. Pipe batter into small circles onto cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or silco mats. Tap cookie sheets against the table to release air bubbles.
6. Let the batter rest for 30 minutes until shell is dried and no longer tacky.
7. Bake at 300°F for 15 - 20 minutes until macaron is baked solid. Let cool on racks.
8. Whisk sugar and egg whites together until combined in a glass bowl over a sauce pan of boiling water at medium high heat. Whisk occasionally while simmering until mixture is hot to touch (4 - 6 minutes).
9. Remove from heat and transfer to a stand mixer fitted with a whisk.
10. Whip at medium speed until mix becomes light white and cool to touch (4 - 6 minutes).
11. Reduce speed to low and add butter in small slices. Mix at medium speed until smooth. Add a pinch of salt.
12. Pipe buttercream filling and jam onto each macaron cookie and combine with another macaron of equal size to form a sandwich.

Strawberry Jam & Buttercream Macaron | Tried & Twisted

Vavoom! Just look at that dramatic color and the flavor is just filled with fruity goodness in every bite.

Best of luck making these in your very own home. Feel free to comment with any questions you may have.

What's your favorite strawberry dish?

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