Peaches and Cream French Macarons

It’s summer, and summer means a bounty of fresh, in season fruit.  There is no time better for luscious, perfect produce than these “hazy, lazy, crazy days of summer.”  Peaches and Cream French Macarons take the beauty of a perfectly ripe, vibrant peach and combine it with the silky loveliness of a delicate French Macaron.  It’s a match made in heaven.

What are we waiting for?  Let’s do this.

Peaches and Cream French Macarons

Macaron Ingredients:

100 g. egg whites

1/4 tsp. cream of tartar

50 g. white sugar

200 g. powdered sugar

110 g. almond flour

Peach food coloring gel (I used orange with a drop or two of white)

White Chocolate Ganache Filling:

1/4 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup white chocolate

Peach Preserves (homemade or purchased)

Directions:

Whip room temperature egg whites, cream of tartar, and white sugar with the whisk attachment of your stand mixer until the whites reach stiff peak stage.  Meanwhile, pulse your almond flour and powdered sugar in a food processor until the mixture is well combined.  Sift your almond flour/powdered sugar mixture through a sieve and throw away the pieces that are too large to pass through the sieve.  When the whites have whipped into stiff peaks, fold the almond/sugar mixture into the whites gradually and carefully until they reach proper “macaronage.”  Place 2-3 drops of gel food coloring into the batter and swirl gently before carefully pouring into a piping bag.  Pipe meringue circles onto a silpat using a template, if desired, and slam the cookie sheets several times on the counter to dislodge air bubbles.  Allow circles to dry for 20 minutes before baking at 300 degrees for 20 minutes, one sheet at a time, in the center of the oven (move oven racks, if necessary).  Do not open the oven until the 20 minutes are up, and use an oven thermometer for best results.  When your macarons are done they should feel “firm on their feet.”  If the macaron shells are soft or crack when gently touched, bake for 2 more minutes and test again until they are firm on their feet.  After baking, remove entire silpat to cooling rack and allow shells to cool, completely, before removing them from the silpat.

To make ganache filling, mix cream and white chocolate together in a microwave safe bowl.  Heat in 20 second increments just until the chocolate melts (do not let mixture get too hot– 2 “heats” should be close to enough).  Allow warm ganache to chill in the refrigerator until it reaches the consistency of cake icing.  Whip chilled ganache with the whisk attachment of your mixer until the ganache is fluffy and a consistency that can be piped easily.  Fill cooled shells with circles of whipped ganache and top with a small dollop of peach preserves. Cover finished macarons with plastic wrap and allow them to to chill in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours until you are ready to serve them.

Now, in pictures! 🙂

I make a lot of macarons, and I write about macarons often.  I’ve debated in the past whether I should explain every step of the process, possibly boring you, oh patient reader, with reading the same steps over and over?  How can this travesty be forgiven, when you are a macaron master and don’t need to read EVERY SINGLE STEP EVERY SINGLE TIME!  But then I think, WHAT IF.  What if I should write it again, just in case this is someone’s first time.  What if someone out there is paralyzed with fear because I dropped the ball on explaining how to make these devilishly difficult little beauties????  How could I live with myself if someone out there was eating bad cookies, and it was ALL MY FAULT?????

No, fair readers.  Fear not.  No bad cookies on our watch.  I’ve decided that I will direct you to my post where you can get further info if you are new to macaron making, and I will assume that most of you are experts by now.  That way there’s extra help for newbies, and no boredom for (oldies?) experts!

The magic always starts with perfectly stiff-peaked egg whites.  When you lift the whisk out of the mixer the peaks will stand straight up without falling limply to the side.  But when you swirl the whisk around and turn it upside down, the egg whites will form what is called “the bird’s beak.”  It looks more like a DQ cone twist to me, but anyway, it should look like the picture– nice and shiny and glossy.  Mmm. Perfect.  Egg White Glamor Shot.

I always triple sift my dry ingredients before adding them to my egg whites– this helps me avoid “macaron acne”– when the shells have weird bumps and cracks in them from the almond shards that were not small enough.  Almond shards tear the shells. Throw them out when they don’t go through the sifter.

No more tears.  Sift your almond flour three times.

Now as far as colors go, I find that generally Americolor gels work best– they hold their color the best in the oven.  Wilton gels work best for icing or edible decorations that aren’t going to be heated.  Wilton gels lose some of their vibrance in the oven.

If I remember when my shells come out, I gently press a finger into the bottom of each one while they are still warm.  You can’t press this extra hollow into the shells after they cool– only while they are warm.  If you forget don’t worry about it– the shells will work perfectly fine without the dimple.  I just find that my “innards” sit a little bit better and prettier in the shells when they have some hidden expansion room.  The pocket is kind of like loosening your belt at Thanksgiving.  A little extra space makes everyone happier.  😉

You can see the little dimples I made in the shells, here.  They are small and don’t look like a lot, but you can pack more jelly in there without it oozing out the sides if you remember to do this.  Again, if you forget, don’t worry about it.  But if you remember while the shells are still warm, gently just press your finger into the bottoms.  Your macarons will be prettier for it.

Match your shells (“Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match!”) and pipe a circle of whipped ganache around the bottom shell.  Fill the “nest” with your peach jam and gently squeeze (don’t squish) the shells together. Because you so intelligently made a little dimple on your shells while they were still warm, you now have plenty of room for that jelly without it oozing out the sides.  You’re so smart. I love working with you.

Peaches and Cream French Macarons

Cover the macarons with plastic wrap and put them in the fridge overnight.  Finished macarons should not be crunchy.  Crunchy macarons haven’t had a chance to rest.  Just like us, they do better with a little . . . siesta.

Peaches and Cream French Macarons

Ideally, macarons should rest for a minimum of 24 hours before you eat them.  During that time the shells absorb the flavors of the filling, as well as some of the moisture of the filling.  The perfect macaron should be kind of the consistency of the nougat inside a Three Musketeers bar– a nice bite, but chewy and kind of soft.  That is a perfectly rested macaron.  You’re so good at this.  See?  I knew you were a baking expert.  I love working with you.

Peaches and Cream French Macarons

Since it is summer, as we remarked WAYYYYY up there, I have an embarrassment of riches in the fresh herbs department in my garden.  So I went out and picked some fresh mint to liven these beauties up.  I put a little mint leaf in each macaron to make them look like real peaches.  I thought they were just so adorable that I wanted to pinch their chubby little macaron cheeks.

Oooooobie gooobie goooobiiiiiiiiieeee . . .

Ahem.  I’m sorry.  What?

*awkward silence*

Well they were cute.  *snatches macaron pacifier off the counter and smiles awkwardly*

Peaches and Cream French Macarons

Serve some of these little beauties with tea.  Bring out the beautiful china that you always “save.”  It’s yours.  Use it. Enjoy it.  Treat your friends and family to a beautiful tea party.  Serve fresh peach iced tea and some pretty little tea sandwiches.  Put these macarons on the top tray, with some fresh springs of mint in mismatched vintage glasses around the table.

Perfect. And so are you. 🙂

You did it. And I’m just so proud of you.

 

 


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