Friday, September 24, 2010

Midweek Macarons: Strawberry + Red Wine + Mascarpone Cream



Sometimes, in the middle of a crazy week, you just need a little bit of a pick-me-up. Something small and sweet. So why not strawberry, red wine, and mascarpone cream macarons, a grown-up adaptation of strawberries'n'cream, with strawberry macaron shells spritzed with a bit of full-bodied, peppery wine, fluffy and tangy whipped mascarpone cream, and the optional wine gelee as the surprise candy center? Yes, I think that might do the trick.


What are your mid-week (or weekend) pick-me-ups?


[Edit: a Twitter friend (@zizikalandjai) named these "red tiny kisses." I like that. :-))


Read on for recipe...



Strawberry and Red Wine Macarons with Mascarpone Cream*
makes ~50 macarons

for macaron shells:
200 gr powdered sugar
120 gr blanched and slivered almonds
10 gr freeze-dried strawberries
30 gr granulated (superfine, opt) sugar
100 gr egg whites, aged 1-2 days at room temperature or a week in the refrigerator, at room temp
1/4 tspn cream of tartar
2-3 drops red gel food coloring
1-2 Tbspn red wine

1. Prepare two baking sheets lined with silpats or parchment paper and a pastry bag with a large round piping tip.
2. Combine the powdered sugar, almonds, and strawberries in a food processor and grind until a fine powder. Sift thoroughly through a fine mesh strainer and set aside.
3. In a small bowl, have ready the granulated sugar.
4. In a separate mixing bowl, combine the egg whites and the cream of tartar. Using a balloon whisk, quickly stir the mixture until the entire surface is covered with foam. Then, start whisking the egg whites, gradually adding in the granulated sugar. Whisk until you reach glossy, almost-stiff peaks.
5. Whisk the food coloring in to the egg whites.
6. Gently fold the sifted almond and powdered sugar mixture into the egg whites in three to four stages, just until the ingredients are incorporated and the batter slowly re-absorbs peaks.
7. Transfer the macaron mixture to the prepared piping bag and piping small rounds on to the lined baking sheets. Tap the baking sheets on the table a few times to release air pockets.
8. Rest the macarons for at least 30 minutes (and up to 60), until the outside shells are no longer tacky and sticky to a light touch.
9. Preheat oven to 290 degrees F, with the oven rack in the bottom third of the oven.
10. Bake the macarons in the oven, one sheet at a time, for 24-28 minutes total, rotating the sheet half-way through the baking time to insure even baking.
11. Remove from oven and let cool.
12. Once the macarons are cool, flip each over and lightly spritz the bottoms of the macarons with red wine using a mister. Fill with mascarpone cream filling (recipe below) and red wine gelees, if using.
13. Let the macarons "cure" in an airtight container in the refrigerator overnight before enjoying.

*Note: the resting and oven temperature and times are adjusted to what works in my kitchen and oven (which, to my knowledge and according to two oven thermometers, is quite accurate). Please note that you may have to adjust according to what works in your kitchen and oven. For tutorials or suggestions, notsohumblepie has a few great articles about avoiding maca-wrongs.

Tip: Sifting is key to achieving smooth macaron shells. Usually I'm quite lazy about sifting when it comes to most recipes, but I absolutely won't skip it when it comes to macarons.
Tip: I find that macaron shells form more quickly when resting in an area with decent airflow, so I've taken to turning on my dining room's ceiling fan when resting the macaron shells there prior to baking.
Tip: I bake my macarons with a pizza stone in the bottom-most rack of the oven, helping to insulate against direct heat and promoting even baking.

(Macaron shell recipe adapted from notsohumblepie's here.)


for red wine gelees (optional), I used one fourth of the recipe available here, substituting red wine for both the fruit concentrate and the water and not coating the gelees with sugar at the end.

for mascarpone cream filling:
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 lb. mascarpone cheese
2-3 Tbspn powdered sugar
1/2 tspn vanilla extract

1. In a mixer, combine the cream, cheese, and sugar. Whisk on high until stiff peaks form.
2. Stir in the vanilla extract.
3. Use immediately to fill macarons.

28 comments:

  1. this is the perfect pick-me-up any time of the week in my opinion! i have not experimented with wine and macarons yet (campari yes) but it's a great idea. feeling very inspired!

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  2. What an unusual and exciting flavour combination :) They look so adorable

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  3. Gorgeous red color to your macarons. Luv the idea of using wine!

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  4. No words to describe them, from the perfect shape and feet to the bright colour! Gorgeous!

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  5. These are so perfect!!!! I love the mascarpone cream!

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  6. I am blown by the gorgeous colors and the perfect shape!!! Lovely macarons!

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  7. They're so darn cute!!

    My mid-week pick-me-up is ice cream :D It makes me so happy to reach into the freezer after class and just dig in with a spoon.

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  8. Oh my, thank you all so much!

    @whisk-kid: I'm totally with you there on the ice cream. After a long day of classes, I'll unabashedly eat ice cream straight out of the carton. ;-P

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  9. your macarons look so so good. i would love to try one. great, the combination of flavors.

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  10. WOW! That RED just POPS out of the screen! Gorgeous! Your macarons turned out perfectly beautiful!

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  11. these are incredible! really my mouth is hanging open. i love the sheen and the deep, rich hue you pulled off. i always thought macarons were notoriously difficult to make, but props to you for having them as a "mid-week pick-me-up"!

    cheers,

    *heather*

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  12. Ah!! Love these littles so so much!!

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  13. These are gorgeous! I haven't gotten into making macarons yet myself, unfortunately. Maybe you can give me some tips on getting started!

    I email you the info about tonight's dinner party. I hope you are still able to make it. Let me know if you don't get the email thought. My email is gabi dot logan at yahoo.

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  14. These are so incredibly gorgeous.

    Mascarpone and cream is quite probably the most divine filling for a macarons too.

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  15. Wow! Breathtaking and original! I so love the flavors! Adult macs if I ever saw them. Beautiful color, perfect shells and amazing flavors! My pick-me-ups are much more homey and humble although I love whipping up a good batch of chocolate macarons with chocolate ganache!

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  16. Thank you so much, everyone!

    @squirrelbread (heather): macarons are actually pretty simple and quick, once you make them a few times and get the hang of it!

    @Jamie: mmm.... chocolate ganache with macarons... nom.

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  17. hopefully soon i'll muster the courage! thanks.

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  18. You already know I love these photos and the gloss of your little kisses 8) hehe. Fascinating flavors, too, Steph. You're an inspiration as usual!

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  19. These too my breath away...the pictures and the flavour combinatiuon. All so alive and ready to 'go'! Just gorgeous!

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  20. Oh my stars not only do they look good, but I love the name red tiny kisses. xo

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  21. Honestly, I'm just simply not motivated to make these, but the photos are so stunning I couldn't help myself from saying so. They're gorgeous!

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  22. Just awesome I would call it the red ruby!

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  23. Now this is a macaron I could love. I quickly tired of the incessant search for feet...but if I thought that search might result in a bit of wine it might be worth another trip!

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  24. Thank you so much, everyone!

    @Barbara: your comment totally made me laugh!

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  25. Thank you so much, everyone!

    @Barbara: your comment totally made me laugh!

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  26. Oh my stars not only do they look good, but I love the name red tiny kisses. xo

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  27. No words to describe them, from the perfect shape and feet to the bright colour! Gorgeous!

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  28. What an unusual and exciting flavour combination :) They look so adorable

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I love hearing from you and reading your comments! Thanks so much for stopping by the blog. Happy feasting!

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