Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Holiday Catering

After spending copious amounts of time this holiday season on a catering order of french macarons, which turned out to be a nightmare, I decided it might be a good time to do my part and blog about it. We (bakers that love specialties and rareties) can use all the help we can get.

So, here are some of the recipes I used and what happened, along with the troubleshooting conclusions I've made for next time.

1) Typical Pistachio Shell Recipe (listed previously)

2) For the Chocolate Nutella ganache:

Heat 1/2 cup of heavy cream to boiling point. Remove from heat and stir in 3/4 cup dark chocolate and 2 Tb. Nutella. Let stand 2 minutes. Stir until well incorporated.
Refrigerate until of spreadable consistency.
Fill the macarons shells ... and eat!

3) Typical French Macaron Shell, plus some hazelnut flour (about 1/4 cup) in place of some almond flour (just for some color)

4) Typical Vanilla Buttercream

5) Satsuma Pistachio Buttercream (thanks to tartelette)

3 egg whites
1/2 cup (100gr) sugar
2 tablespoons water
1 1/2 sticks (170 gr) butter at room temperature
2 tablespoons satsuma orange juice (or regular orange)
1 teaspoon satsuma orange zest
1/4 cup finely ground pistachios
1/2 tsp powdered green food coloring

In the bowl of stand mixer, whip the egg whites until they have soft peaks. In the meantime, combine the water with the sugar and bring them to a boil in a heavy saucepan. Bring the syrup to 250F. Slowly add the sugar syrup to the egg whites. If you use hand beaters, this is even easier and there is less hot syrup splatter on the side of your bowl and in the whisk attachment of the stand mixer. Continue to whip until the meringue is completely cooled. Slowly add the butter, one tablespoon at a time. The mass might curdle but no panic, continue to whip until it all comes together. Add the juice and zest from the orange, the pistachios and food coloring.


I didn't let the macarons sit and develop a film for an hour before baking (tried it again this week, it worked).
The humidity was a definite factor. We raised the temperature to 315 F to see if that would expedite the process to counteract the humidity. It helped a little.

After making close to 150 macs, I was toast. You can probably tell in this picture.

Here we are at Crystal's first visit to Laduree in Paris (a must if you're ever there), a year ago (Christmas 2007). I think Laduree was the first tea salon/cafe in Western Europe... a place where people from more than one level of society could come and share ideas (of the Enlightenment...) and have something scrumptious.

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