Sunday, October 15, 2006

Treasured Gems???

I thought I'd give a try to one of Nigella's recipes from How to Be A Domestic Goddess. I'll give myself a B for effort. Nigella recieves an A for flavor and combined, I think we each get a B-ish, for combined results. The major structure of these treats is the macaroon--the results of beating egg whites to airy perfection. I might have gotten there, but then I dropped the ball on the folding. I could tell as soon as I went to pipe the mixture onto the baking sheets that I messed something up. It had gone from volumeous to almost runny. Sad. But I continued forward. I was not suprised to see the results that came out of the oven; nearly flat pallid greed discs that had fused together. I was able to pry about a few small pieces to make a macaroon sandwich--didn't look too bad, but not as good as Nigella's photos...but the taste! Really wonderful. And one small note...Pistachio Buttercream! Divine!!!

One of the final macaroons. The bottom piece was barely holding together.

Pistachio Macaroons
Makes 20 sandwiches.
These are the world's most elegant macaroons. The color alone, that waxy pale jade, perfectly matches the aromatic delicacy of their taste; and their nutty chewiness melts into the fragrant, soft paste with which they are paired.

These are perfect at the end of dinner alongside some confectioners'-sugar-dusted raspberries; or alone with coffee, gracefully piled on a plate or a cake stand.

For the Macaroons:
1/3 cup pistachios
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
2 large egg whites
1 TB sugar

For the Buttercream:
1/4 cup pistachios
1 2/3 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

2 baking sheets, lined with parchment

Preheat the oven to 350.

Grind the pistachios in a food processor along with the confectioners' sugar (this stops them turning into an oily mess), until as fine as dust. Whisk the egg whites until fairly stiff, but not dry, sprinkle the sugar over and whisk until very stiff. Fold the whites into the pistachio-sugar dust, and combine gently. Pipe small rounds onto your lined baking sheet. Let them sit for 10 minutes to form a skin. Then put in the oven and cook for 10-12 minutes: they should be set, but not dried out.
The pistachio and confectioners' sugar dust.

Remove from the oven and let cool, still on their sheets, while you get on with the filling. This is simple work: grind the nutes and confectioners' sugar in the processor as before; then cream the butter and continue creaming as you add the nut dust. Make sure you have a well-combined soft buttercream. Then simply sandwich the macaroons together.

Flat and welded together.



Brilynn said...

I failed at making Nigella's chocolate macaroons, the taste was great, but they were ugly and flat.

Jon said...

At least you go the homemade route! I pick up the pre-made Tollhouse dough that comes from the refrigerator section of the grocery store. How small squares turn into medium rounds remains a baking mystery to me.

Chilefire said...

I have to say, I just don't get the whole folding business with egg whites. I have had the same exact experience you did here with every recipe that calls for folding any ingredient into whipped egg whites. I might add that I do follow directions, and that I don't overmix and I just can't get it to work! Any clue or hint on this front would be great.

What's the secret!?

ScottE. said...

I've done meringue before and it's turked out great...I just have no idea what happened this time.