March 31, 2014

Boston Cream Pie Macaron

The English language can be so confusing. Fat chance, slim chance -- same difference. Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo. 

And we strangely call some cakes "pie", but only when we're talking about the famous Boston cream pie. Or whoopie pies, but that's a horse of a difference color.

Boston Cream Pie French Macarons | Tried and Twisted

Just to confuse things even more, today we'll be talking about the pie, that's really a cake, that's actually recreated as a macaron. 

Boston cream pie is usually a vanilla flavored cake with vanilla custard or pudding in the center and chocolate ganache poured on top.

One of the most classic French macaron flavors is vanilla bean, so twisting the recipe into a vanilla-flavored cake is a natural leap.

Yum Yum! Boston Cream Pie Macaron

I decided to share this recipe for my March of Macaron celebration because it is a recipe I tried once before a year ago. And my oh my, what a difference a year can make.

As you can see, there's nothing "wrong" with my old macarons. They certainly tasted delicious. But their tops are domed and poofy, which tends to be a sign of overwhipping or not enough macaronage. The feet are also a little underdeveloped.

 Now, look at what two years of practice will do! 

Perfect flat tops, consistent ruffled feet, no hollow shells! Practice is so important for learning how long to mix your batter and what it should look like at each stage.

Now, I'm certainly not baking macarons everyday (as much as I would love to!), but just baking macarons more than once teaches me so much.

Boston Cream Pie Macarons

(Makes about 30 sandwiches)

240 g powdered sugar
180 g almond flour
80 g granulated sugar
140 g egg whites
2 tsp vanilla
yellow gel food coloring (3 drops)

2 cups of milk
1/2 cup sugar
4 egg yolk
2 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
2 1/2 tbsp cornstarch

*Source recipe for the custard filling Martha Stewart

 1 oz chocolate bar, unsweetened
1 tbsp butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup boiling water (2 Tbsp at a time)

1. Combine almond flour and powdered sugar in a food processor to break down any large pieces and mix ingredients.
2. Beat egg white in a mixer at medium speed for 2 minutes until the beaters leave a trail. You can add a pinch of cream of tartar to help thicken the meringue if you wish.
3. Add granulated sugar to egg whites and beat for 6 - 8 minutes on medium speed until the meringue forms with stiff peaks.
4. Add half of the flour mixture to the meringue and fold it with a spatula to combine. Add vanilla and food coloring, if you'd like to imitate the look of yellow cake. Once that's incorporated, add the rest of the flour mixture. Folding the batter will flatten the meringue a bit, but don't worry. That's all part of the process.
5. Fill your piping bag (round large tip) with the batter and pipe small 1-inch cookies onto a parchment paper or silicone mat. Space the rows of cookies out so they can spread and flatten. Tap the baking sheet against the table to help work any air bubbles to the surface. If your meringues have peaks, you can wet your finger and tap them down gently to make the top smooth and flat.
6. Wait 20 - 30 minutes for the outside surface of the cookie to dry and get a bit tacky to touch.
7. Throw your macarons in the oven and bake at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for about 15 minutes.
TIP: The macaron is baked solid all the way through when you can easily pick the whole cookie off of the sheet without the top separating from the bottom or cracking.
8. Let the macaron shells cool and then fill with the custard.

9. Custard: Combine milk with 1/4 cup of sugar in a medium saucepan on low medium heat until simmering.
10.  In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and the remaining sugar. Whisk in the vanilla, salt, and cornstarch (just a little at a time).
11. Add a cup of the heated milk mixture to the mixing bowl and whisk together to temper the mix. Then add the yolk mixture to the saucepan and continue to simmer for 5 minutes.
12. Strain mixture to remove any lumps from the custard and store in a bowl covered with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for about 3 hours.

13. Ganache: Heat chocolate bars and butter in a saucepan until just melted.
14. Pour powdered sugar and vanilla over chopped chocolate. Mix by hand with a spatula until combined. The mix will get thick.
15. Add hot water 2 Tbsp at a time until the ganache reaches just the right consistency.
16. Dip the top shell in the ganache for a smooth chocolate top. Pipe the custard onto the bottom shell and sandwich the two together to make a mini version of the Boston Cream Pie.  Let mature for a few hours before serving.

The ganache on the macaron in the front is too thick and holds its shape rather than running smooth and flat on top. You may have to dip a shell or two to test the chocolate until you reach the right consistency. 

Some macarons can be served a few days later, but with the chocolate on top and the custard inside, the shells tend to get moist much quicker, so I recommend serving the same day or no later than the next day.

Bon appetite!

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