Orange Meringue Macarons

The past week has been very busy and quite horrible, hence the lack of post. But macarons always make horrible weeks slightly better. I made these delish orange meringue macarons a few days ago, and they were awesome, if I say so myself. At first I wasn’t sure whether to fold the meringue in with the curd for the filling, or do a swirl of merinuge on top of the shell and toast it. I decided with the latter. I really like how the meringue gives the macaron a bit of height and makes it look kind of majestic. And extra yum.

Macarons:

This recipe is Adriano Zumbo’s, and was published a couple of years ago in the Herald Sun. You will definitely need kitchen scales to make macarons.

  • 135g almond meal
  • 135g icing sugar
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 45g egg whites
  • 50g egg whites
  • 40g water
  • 1/4 tsp Wilton’s food colouring gel in orange

Preheat oven to 170c (160c fan forced). Spray four oven trays with cooking oil spray baround the edges, and line with baking paper and set aside. Place almond meal and icing sugar in a large bowl, and sift together 3 times. Set aside, along with the 45g egg whites. Put 50g egg whites in a separate bowl. Heat caster sugar and water in a small saucepan, over a low-medium heat, until the sugar completely dissolves (if it slightly burns my tongue, it’s done!). If you do not want to burn your tongue, Zumbo suggests investing in a candy thermometer and heating the syrup until it reaches 118 degrees C (244 degrees F). If the syrup becomes thick and powdery in appearance, you will need to start again. This is because the sugar has been heated too much, too quickly, and instead of dissolving, it has cooked.

Begin beating the 50g egg whites with one hand, and with the other, stream the hot sugar syrup down the side of the bowl to create an italian meringue. Beat until stiff peaks form, the meringue should be thick and very glossy. If you want to add flavouring/colouring, now’s your moment. So add the colouring gel now. Just lightly beat them into the meringue. Pour meringue into the almond meal, icing sugar and 45g egg whites mixture and mix roughly to combine. When combined, fold mixture together (one single stroke) until there are no air bubbles left. Make a spread across the top of the mixture, and it should disappear in about 20 seconds. Spoon mixture into a piping bag fitted with a round nozzle. (If you don’t have a piping bag set, most supermarkets sell plastic ones, they are Multix brand, in an orange box and contain 5 piping bags with a few different nozzles, plus they’re only about $3. You should be able to find them in the baking aisle). Lock the bag by spinning the top around 4 times. Pipe 3-4cm rounds on the oven trays prepared earlier. Tap the bottom of the trays on the kitchen bench and let them sit for about half an hour, or until mixture is dry to the touch.

Place in oven and bake for 8 minutes. Turn tray around in the oven and bake for another 7 minutes. To test, pull a macaron off the baking paper. If it is stuck, keep cooking and checking regularly. Cool on trays for 5 minutes, then peel off and place on a wire rack. The mixture should make about 12 -15 large macarons, and about 25 smaller macarons. If you are not making the macarons with the meringue on top, they will keep really well (about 5 days in the fridge) and some say that the longer they are refrigerated, the more the flavour is likely to develop. However, if you do have the swirl of meringue on top of the shell, expect them to last about 2-3 days. This is because there is a lot of moisture in the meringue, and if left too long, will make the shell soggy and it will crumble to pieces when you go to pick it up. Macarons taste best when they are stored in the fridge, then brought down to room temperature to eat.

 

Orange Curd:

  • 2 whole eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup (165g) caster sugar
  • 1/3 cup (80g) chilled, unsalted butter
  • Zest and juice of 2 oranges
  • 2 tsp lemon juice

Whisk the whole eggs, yolks and sugar in a saucepan until smooth, then place saucepan over a low heat. Add the butter, juice and zest and whisk continuously until thickened. You really need to be careful here, especially with the heat because it is so easy for the eggs to cook – then the curd will be lumpy. Don’t freak out if you have a little bit of cooked egg, just strain it through a fine sieve when it has thickened. Stir in the lemon juice – this is just to give it the acidity that curd needs and orange can’t always provide. Pour into a clean, airtight container (preferably do a quick sterilise with some boiling water first) and leave at room temperature until completely cooled. Place in the fridge until it is firm enough to pipe. Curd will keep for 2 weeks in the fridge.

Italian Meringue:

  • 1 egg white
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 2 tsp water

Place egg white in a clean, dry bowl. Place sugar and water in a saucepan, and over medium heat, stir with a metal spoon until sugar is completely dissolved and the mixture has formed a syrup. Begin beating the egg white, whilst slowly pouring the sugar syrup into the bowl. The mixture will become thick and very glossy. Beat until stiff peaks form.

Assembly:

Once you have matched up your macaron shells, you can start piping the orange curd. Fill a piping bag fitted with a round nozzle and pipe 1/4-1/2 tsp of curd onto each shell, and sandwich with another. Piping curd can be a bit more difficult than ganache or buttercream simply because it is runnier. If you find your curd needs to thicken, stir in a teaspoon or two of cornflour. The trick with piping curd is to only use a small amount, and to refrigerate them for as long as possible before serving.

To pipe the meringue, spoon the egg white mixture into a piping bag fitted with a small star nozzle (the Multix brand bags come with this if you don’t have your own). Pipe a small swirl on top of the macaron shell. If you have a blowtorch, lightly toast the meringue. It’s fine if you don’t, you can either place them under the grill really quickly (a bit risky considering the curd), but they still look great without the toasted-ness. Pop macarons in an airtight container and refrigerate straight away if you’re not serving them straight away.

 

Enjoy! X.

Orange and Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

These cute little cupcakes were requested from my boyfriend for his birthday, as he loves lemon curd and this awesome orange cake – so why not combine the two and add some delish toasted meringue? Yum!

I made this orange cake in a large ring pan with some toffee syrup for Easter last month, and it was a really lovely dessert. Plus, it is so easy to make – just throw everything in the food processor and off you go! Definitely one to keep in the repertoire.

I used this great recipe from Taste.com for the orange cake. Obviously I did not make the toffee syrup this time around (however, it is great if you’re making one big cake!), and as these were cupcakes I simply spooned 1 1/2 tsp of mixture into each cupcake case, and baked for 15 minutes on 160c, fan forced. After they have been cooked, let cakes cool in the tins for 5 minutes, then place on wire rack to cool completely. This mixture made 26 medium sized cupcakes, but if you wanted more or less, it’s fairly easy to double or half. To toast the meringue tops, you will need a chef’s blowtorch. You can buy them for about AU$25-30 at most homeware stores.

Lemon Curd: (also from Taste.com)

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup (165g) caster sugar
  • 1/3 cup (80g) chilled, chopped butter

In a small saucepan, whisk eggs, yolks and sugar until smooth. Place the saucepan over a low heat. Add the butter, juice and zest and whisk until thickened. Strain through a sieve, let curd cool, then refrigerate.

Italian Meringue:

  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 cup caster cugar
  • 50g water

Have egg whites ready in the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a bowl with the hand mixer ready to go. Over a low-medium heat, combine sugar and water in a saucepan to make a sugar syrup. Stir until sugar is dissolved and mixture is very hot. If thick, white bubbles begin to form, start again. Begin beating egg whites, and slowly pour the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl to create an italian meringue. Beat until stiff peaks form, and the mernigue is thick and glossy. Fill a piping bag fitted with a round or star nozzle – I used a star nozzle but the meringue was not thick enough to take the shape, but they still looked nice enough 🙂 (TIP – don’t make the meringue until you are ready to pipe it. If it is sitting for over 5 minutes, it will begin to deflate and will lose its glossiness).

Assembly:

When the cupcakes have cooled, gently hollow out a small circle at the top, about 3-4 cm deep. Fill the holes with lemon curd. Gently pipe a swirl of meringue on the top of each cupcake. Once you have completed the topping, gently wave the blowtorch over the meringue – leave about 10cm, otherwise it will burn. You only want to lightly toast the meringue 🙂 Store cupcakes in airtight containers, but do not refrigerate, otherwise they will lose their fluffiness. They will keep for 4-5 days. You can definitely freeze the cupcakes with the lemon curd inside, although only top with the meringue when you are ready to serve.

Citrus and meringue is a classic combination that always works beautifully. You could mix up this version with a lemon cake and lime or orange curd, or even a blood orange cake and curd. The possibilities are endless!

Enjoy! X

Our Date with Adriano Zumbo at Fenix Restaurant

I was lucky enough to receive a ticket to ‘High Tea with Adriano Zumbo’ for my birthday from a close friend, and what a great day it was! This event was held as part of the 2012 Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, at Fenix Restaurant and Events, which is owned by Masterchef Australia’s Gary Mehigan.

The highlight of the afternoon was of course the delectable treats we got to sample from Adriano Zumbo, and meeting the King of the Macaron himself. There were many options on offer, including ‘Zumbarons’, Decorated Chocolate Fondant, Citrus Tarts, Chocolate Marshmallow Tart and an array of savoury pies and sausage rolls. I think I tried all of these things :O

My favourite Zumbaron was definitely the Cola one! It was really buttery but still tasted of Cola – so weird, yet so good. The Salted Butter Caramel was also amazing, but who doesn’t love Salted Caramel?!

Zumbo also did a demonstration making vanilla custard macarons, then he deep fried them! So weird. He is a very shy person, but he was really happy to answer anyone’s questions, and talked us all through the processes of creating the humble Macaron. One thing I learnt was that whilst the Italian meringue method is best used for making sweet macaron flavours, when attempting to make a less sweet version or even a savoury flavour, the Swiss meringue method is the best to use. His reason for this is that there is simply less sugar in Swiss meringue. I have never tried making Swiss meringue before, and it sounds a bit tricky. You apparently need to heat the egg whites in a waterbath until they reach a certain temp, then beat them back down to room temperature to create the meringue. Sounds complicated…

We had a great day at Fenix, and tasted some amazing sweets! It was awesome to meet Zumbo, he was happy to have a conversation with everyone there and to pose for photos…AND…contain your excitement fellow Melbournians…!!! We should expect an Adriano Zumbo store, possibly in Fitzroy or South Yarra, by the end of the year!!! Yessssssssssssssss 😀