Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Elderflower / Orange Blossom Swiss Meringue Buttercream French Macarons

It was a relaxing Sunday afternoon. I was watching TV with my family until I received a SOS text from my friend...

"My macarons baking was a disaster! I might need a macaron baking lesson from you." said the distressed text. I called my friend immediately and agreed to go to her place a couple weeks later to show her how to bake chocolate French macarons.

It has been a while since the last time that I have baked French macarons. I was afraid that my macarons baking skill has gone a little rusty and decided to practise baking some macarons first before going to my friend's house.

Today, I have baked these French Macaron with elderflower or orange blossom Swiss meringue buttercream.

"Got standard!" said my always-critical husband after his first bite of these exotic flavoured macarons. With his approval, I feel relaxed now that I can impart my friend the right macaron baking skill :)

French macarons elderflower Swiss meringue buttercream
French Macarons with Elderflower Swiss Meringue Buttercream
French macarons orange blossom Swiss meringue buttercream
French macarons with Orange Blossom Swiss Meringue Buttercream

The recipe that I'm using is the always Always-Successful-Italian-Meringue macaron recipe that I always like to use from here.

This is what I always do this first.
Then I coloured one batch of the above almond paste with yellow colour and another with both yellow and red to form orange colour.
Next I made the Italian meringue.
Combine the almond paste and meringue and pipe the batter onto my silpat mats.
Allow batter to rest for 5 mins before baking.
After baking... They look great!
While the macarons are cooled to room temperature, I made the Swiss meringue buttercream.
First, I cooked the egg whites and water until it reaches 68°C.
Then the electric mixer goes whisk whisk whisk and beat beat beat :)
This buttercream is so smooth and velvety!
Next I stirred in finely grated lemon zest...
... plus elderflower cordial or orange blossom water.
For the adults, you might wish to add in some elderflower liqueur into your elderflower buttercream :)
Pipe a dollop of cream on each macaron shell and sandwich the filling with another.
French macarons orange blossom Swiss meringue buttercream
Got standard! - This is a Singaporean way of saying something that is good :)

Here are the recipes that I have used to make these Swiss Meringue Buttercream French Macarons

The Always-Successful-Italian-Meringue macaron recipe that is mostly adapted from here

Makes about 18 macaron or 36 shells
(number can vary depending on the sizes that you made)

100g almond meal (ground almond)
100g icing sugar
75g egg whites, divided into 2 portions
100g caster sugar
25ml water
colouring gel to either colour the batter

Preheat the oven to 150°C NO fan forced with top and bottom heat.

Combine almond meal and icing sugar and sift them three times or more and set aside. Using an electric mixer, beat one portion of egg whites at medium low speed at first for about 10 mins. While beating, combine water and caster sugar in a small saucepan. Place the saucepan over medium high heat and cook the sugar water syrup to 118°C but not over 125°C.

Increase the mixer speed and continue to beat the egg whites while pouring syrup into the egg whites slowly in a steady and fine stream. Continue beating until the meringue is glossy and near-stiff peaks. Allow the meringue to cool to about 40°C.

Place almond meal-icing sugar mixture in a mixing bowl and mix in the remaining portion of egg white to form a thick paste. At this stage, you can add a drop or two of any flavouring or colouring that you desired in the almond mixture or you can do this later.

Fold in half of the cooled meringue first into the almond paste, scooping it up from the bottom of the bowl until the mixture is well-combined. Then, fold in the rest of the meringue into the almond mixture until the mixture is well-combined again.

Continue to mix in order to "deflate" some fluffiness of the meringue in the mixture and this step is usually referred as "Macaronner". In the book, I love Macarons by Hisako Ogita, it suggests scooping the batter from the bottom and turn it upside down for nothing more or less than 15 times but I like to gauge this stage by the look of the batter. I reckon it is ok when it looks firm and dripping slowly from a spoon. At this stage, you can add a drop or two of any flavouring or colouring that you desired but you have to stir in the colouring and flavouring very carefully and gradually to avoid over-mixing the batter.

Attach a 1 cm tip (I used Wilton tip 1A) to the pastry bag. Place the pastry bag, tip down, inside a cup or container and pour the macaron batter into it.

Pipe out the batter onto baking tray lined with silicon mat in circles and any shapes that you like. Gently tap the baking sheet firmly against flat surfaces to allow the batter to settle and rest at room temperature, uncovered for about 15-20 mins.

Bake for 13-15 mins or until dried and slightly crisp. Allow macarons to cool on baking mat as they peel off easily only when they are completely cooled.

A well tested and thoroughly described Swiss Meringue Buttercream that is mostly adapted from Sweetapolita

50g fresh egg white, from about 1 1/2 egg* - please use exact weight
70g caster sugar
100g unsalted butter, taken out of the fridge and cut into cubes (cool, but not cold)

To flavour the buttercream, you can either add:
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla paste to make vanilla buttercream
  • or 2 tbsp (30ml) rose water to make rose water buttercream
  • or 2 tbsp (30ml) elderflower cordial, finely grated zest from 1 lemon and 1 tsp elderflower liqueur (optional) to make elderflower buttercream - It has a light tangy flowery taste.
  • or 2 tbsp orange blossom water and finely grated zest from 1 lemon to make orange blossom buttercream - It has a beautiful fruity flowery fragrance.
  • plus any colouring gel or powder to colour the buttercream if desired (not the water based kind)
* It is ok to use fresh egg white to make this buttercream as the egg will be cooked to a certain degree.

Place egg white and sugar in a clean and heat proof electric mixing bowl and place the bowl over a double boiler or over a saucepan of simmering water - do not let the mixer bowl touch the simmering water!

Whisk the egg whites and sugar briefly (by hand) and constantly until it reaches 155-160°F/ 68°-71°C.

Transfer the bowl back to the mixer. Attach a whisk attachment onto the electric mixer and whisk at medium high speed until near-stiff peaks form and the meringue looks thick and glossy. Reduce whisking speed to medium low and keep whisking until the egg mixture cools down to room temperature or at least until the bowl is no longer warm to the touch, about 15 mins.

Remove the whisk attachment and switch to the paddle attachment. Start beating again with low speed. While beating, start adding the butter, a cube at a time, incorporating each cube before adding the next. The icing may look curdled while beating in the butter. Just keep adding the butter and keep mixing the buttercream and it will come together to form a silky soft buttercream.

Decrease mixing speed to low. Beat in vanilla or any additions and colouring and mix until mixture is well combined.

Use immediately or store buttercream in an air tight container in a fridge. If the buttercream is too soft to use, chill for about 10-15 mins in a fridge or until slightly firm. To use after storing, bring buttercream to room temperature and beat it again before using.

To assemble:
Transfer buttercream into a piping bag. Pipe dollops of cream onto the macaron shells.

Sandwich with another macaron shell. Press it slightly to secure. As these macarons are made with the firm kind of buttercream, they taste even better after resting in the fridge on the next day.

Happy Baking
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  1. I first heard of elderflower from one of Food Network's cooking show - Barefoot Contessa, Ms. Ina.. She cooks good food, and very professional in her shows, no nonsense, no play-play.. Quite serious, but I like all her cooking.. Elderflower cordial? Something new, first time I hear.. Makes me wana drink now..

  2. Zoe please come and teach me too. Mine kept puffing up like meringues than macaroon shells

  3. Hi Zoe, thank you for your kind comment on my blog, you have been so sweet in supporting my blog, and I also have been as well with yours, but it's been such a tough few months last end of the two or three months, it's been very difficult for me to even check in to my own blog, yet alone visiting others'. Your macarons are so professional, beautiful, and super delicious. You are amazingly talented and do keep up the great work you have done with your cooking and baking. You have so much potential to carry your talent further!

  4. Hi Zoe, I find macarons intimidating. If I lived nearby, I would probably contact you for help too!

  5. Hi Zoe, yr macaron look so pretty! Haha.. i like the way yr hubby rated yr macaron ~ Got Standard! :D

  6. If there is something that I have not had courage to try, then it is macaroons... somehow I can't muster it up... Yours looks so good, feel like grabbing a few right now...

  7. This is a lovely post - dainty, demure, romantic. I'm so swooned!

  8. These macarons look so perfect!
    Do you have to let the surface of the batter dry before putting into the oven? I found that if I don't let the batter dry to the touch, the macarons will crack during baking.

    1. Hi Luyi,

      This Italian meringue French macaron doesn't require the macaron batter to dry enough to form a skin. Just 5 mins of resting and you can bake the macaron straightaway.



  9. Zoe, you definitely never lose your 'macaron touch'. I wish I were your friend whom you are teaching macarons. I've learnt how to make macarons but just never found the mood to make them because I feel they can be finicky sometimes plus the weather here doesn't help much.

    Your macarons look so lovely and delectable!! I now know why your hb said 'got standard'! :)

  10. Zoe, they turned out wonderful, may I have one, please?

  11. I've had elderflower liqueur iln cocktails, but don't think I've had it in a baked good. Love the idea! Terrific recipe -- thanks.

  12. Hi Zoe, your hubby is right! Your macarons 'got standard'! Looks so lovely!

  13. Zoe, your macarons are gorgeous! Far more beautiful than the ones I have seen at bakeries. Ya lah, you got standard! hee..hee...