Monday, July 23, 2012

A Pistachio MacArt

A piece of Pistachio Art
I just had to make Pistachios macarons. The recipe is again from Jill's book which I had mentioned in my previous blog.

Macarons left aside to 'set'
What you see here are the macarons from the third batch. The first batch, was to me, not perfect. When I piped them, they were a little too liquid. Into the bin they went. But the next two batches were successful. Noticed I sprinkled some coarsely crushed pistachio on a couple of macarons only? I was not sure if they would turn out right.

To attain the pistachio-green, I mixed yellow paste with dark green. I would recommend the above food colors which I had purchased online from the UK - Squire's Kitchen. I personally found them to be slightly thicker and richer in color than Wilton's. 

Pistachio macarons with dark chocolate ganache
I have included below the packet of baked pistachios which I bought from the local store. The nuts were great. I had some crushed into the ganache as well. I guess I should have been more adventurous to mix more in the ganache.

These are the plain ones and their pistachio-ness are found in the ganache only. They look and tasted great. If only my wife and boys would pop them into their mouths...

Monday, July 16, 2012

Chocolate Macarons au cafe-creme

Perfect shot of my two perfect macarons
It has been a while. I decided over the weekend to try my luck on making Macarons again. By now, we all know how 'difficult' it is to make them. Sometimes you succeed, sometimes you fail.

Given the many macaron recipes I have, I zoomed into Jill Colonna's recipe in Mad About Macarons. I am still fascinated by the macarons one can make from her recipes. So far, they have worked for me.

Drizzled with Valhorna White Chocolate
I referred to the Dark Chocolate Macarons recipe to make the shells but used the recipe from Coffee Macarons to make the cafe-creme. In fact, I adapted the cafe-creme by leaving out the butter. It still tasted heavenly. However, I learned that the next time I do a cafe-creme, I should follow her recipe and stick to two tablespoons of coffee powder. I had added close to three tablespoons with the intent of creating a more flavorful and stronger coffee taste. It was bitter. But I want to believe that the sweetness in the shells balanced the taste.

To make the macarons less boring, I drizzled melted Valhorna white chocolate over the smooth brown tops.

I must admit that I am pretty pleased with my macarons. They looked and tasted good. And yes, I will attempt to make macarons in the next couple of weeks.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Martha Stewart's Orange Chiffon Cake

I had decided to bake another Orange Chiffon cake but this time, without the cranberries (see my post on Orange Chiffon). I was basically inspired to try out the recipes from my new book - Martha's American Food. It is Stewart's latest book and my very thoughtful wife bought it and presented it to me as a birthday gift. Imagine how thrilled I was and by the way, this is not the first cook/baking book she had bought for me. 

The photos of the chiffon cake was another push factor that made me want to try out the recipe. But as usual, I adapt recipes for reasons like availability of ingredients or to use up the remaining flour or oil in this case. So I conveniently replaced the plain flour with cake flour and the safflower oil with vegetable oil. 

I do not intend to post the recipe here for copyright issues but if you would like to have it, do drop me a comment. But at this juncture, I should say I was a little apprehensive when the recipe calls for cold water to be added. The result was:

Orange Chiffon Cake with powdered sugar

The cake was fabulous as seen above. Height wise, it was perfect. I dusted powdered sugar to add a little sweetness to the cake. To replicate the cakes shown in book, I served my slices with the recommended whipped cream and candied orange zest. 

With whipped cream, candied zest and mini choco chips
decided to add color too by placing some Hersey's mini chocolate chips at the sides. Honestly (I mentioned about adapting recipes above), I had forgotten to throw in the mini chips into the batter before baking. I would then be able to call it my Orange Choco Chip Chiffon Cake. But viola, I had the perfect Orange Chiffon cake!