09 February 2009

Raspberry Macarons

Macaron Framboise
Raspberry Macarons (with title)
This is my entry to the 29th Edition of The Blog Rounds, hosted by Dr. Em Dy of Pulse. The theme is LOOOOVE! Ack.
When I was standing in line at 4 in the morning on New Year's Day at the check-in counter of the airport, there were two American women behind me who made Paris Hilton and Nicole Ritchie seem like the kindest, most intelligent creatures ever. In whiny voices, they'd think (using the term loosely) out loud, "Why are we the only ones in New Year wear?" (uh because only people who absolutely HAVE to leave for their jobs leave on New Year's Day instead of spending it happily with their families?) "What airport doesn't have a McDonald's? I'm not going to be eating in no fucking Jollibee," and other such gems. I thought to myself, Lord, if ever I get married, let it not be for this.

I keep chuckling every time I remember the travesty that was Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson's marriage. Each time Nick would finally get a brief respite from inane questions about what's inside a can of tuna and gets to party with his male friends, Jessica calls him up to ask him whether bratwurst is made of beef or pork. How unfortunate that his severe loneliness was documented, but at least now he's out of it. Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt of The Hills seem to be heading for the same trainwreck, and I'm beginning to wonder if Heidi deserves Spencer (he who would name his adopted African baby "Dunk" (skip to 6:27 in the clip)) if she doesn't get out now, blinded by the promise of multimillion-dollar deals if they tie the knot. That's two less idiots to infect the pool of single people.
Raspberry Macarons (bitten)
You'd think that I'd be more cynical given the unjust ability of these people to hook up. There are times when my insecurity would creep in and I think about how many more millions of guys out there are more attractive, intelligent, stimulating, taller (shallow I know), and athletic, and how many dozens are funnier (oh, do shut up). But if love involved any of these things then I might as well just give up-- but I don't. We don't love people because they're beautiful, they're beautiful because we love them. I read that when I was a kid! The feeling that you can't wait till the next time you see each other, the warmth and comfort, the care and concern that knots your stomach-- you can't manufacture these things. And there's no equation from the qualities above that would guarantee any of these wonderful, scary feelings. Even if the term is chemistry. I wonder if Heidi and Spencer feel that for each other?

THE HORROR! I captured these from an episode of Masterchef: The Professionals.
And now here's how I loosely associate that with my sub-par macarons. Because Duncan is my kinda guy with the obsessive details and experiments (okay, it's not quite so toxic as I make it out to be), and because I really really needed to finally try my hand at Italian meringue, I used his recipe. Only my fear of overmixing the batter resulted in slight undermixing, and my complacency with my oven temperature (never measured it before, really) made the baking time uncertain. It's nearly Valentine's day and for some reason blogosphere macarons have been popping out of the woodwork-- evolved from confections I guess-- and mine are really simple and imperfect. But they are delicious. And they brought a smile to everyone who ate them ("made with love" as the cliche goes-- but so true). So yes, it's not always about flash and fantasy, with food and with love :) I'll do better next time, and I swear there will be a next time. These were just so much fun to make! (Hopefully it won't be nearly 90% humidity back at home the next time!)

For the recipe, just follow Duncan's here. I added raspberry flavor compound that was generously gifted to me by my friend Rob of The Curious Kumquat. I had 98 grams of almond meal, icing sugar, and sugar, 72 grams of egg whites, and 24 grams of water, all with a total theoretical weight (not counting evaporation of course) of 390 grams. Therefore I added 3% of flavor compound by weight, or 12 grams (rounded up). I also added a booger-sized lump of red gel coloring from Wilton. I'm not sure if the best place to add those ingredients in is whisking it with the unbeaten egg whites, but that's what I did.

My filling was just a 70% chocolate ganache made with 100 grams chocolate and 100 grams cream, left to sit at room temperature to thicken after complete mixing. It complemented the sweet, tart raspberry flavor really well.

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