We stayed home for most parts of last weekends as my boys had to do revisons for their upcoming exams. I baked these sakura macarons on last Sunday. I actually baked a batch on Saturday, but I dropped the whole tray of macaron shells as I was taking them out of the oven. :( I would be lying if I said I was not upset, felt like crying then. :(
Kawaii characters macarons have been on my to do list for a long time, but somehow, I just could not find the motivation to start. What got me started on baking macarons again were the pretty sakura flowers I bought. Once I saw the flowers, I knew I definitely have to bake some sakura macarons. Now that I am getting the hang of baking macarons again, I will definitely be trying out different characters macarons and sharing more different flavoured macarons recipes.
The most crucial part in making macarons is the beating of egg whites till stiff peaks and the folding in of the almond/icing sugar mixture. If you have made chiffon cakes before, it should not be a problem for you. If you are new to this, I suggest that you google for videos on how to make chiffon cakes and macarons, so that you have an idea on how to go about doing it.
The macaron shells are plain, I just added a bit of pink food colouring. The filling was whipped cream mixed with sakura jam, I added in some lemon zest and juice to balance out the sweetness. I could not get my hands on cherry blossom (sakura) essence, so I tried to substitute that with sakura jam instead.
SAKURA MACARON RECIPE
80g ground almond
160g icing sugar
60g egg white, separated for 24 hours in advance
Dried sakura flowers
pink food gel colouring
1 cup whipping cream
1 tsp icing sugar
1 tbsp sakura jam
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
- Soak sakura flowers for around 2 hours. Dry them on a paper towel and set aside.
- Sieve 80g icing sugar together with ground almond twice. Alternatively, you can also use a food processor to pulse them till fine before sieving them once. Set aside.
- Beat egg white on low/medium speed until foamy, sieve 80g icing sugar in 3 batches, change to high speed and beat till soft peak form. Add in some pink colouring by using a toothpick, beat on medium speed till colour is well-mixed. You can turn up the speed and continue to beat till stiff peak, if you prefer a thicker macaron.
- Add step 2 icing sugar/almond mixture into egg white in 2 batches, folding well to combine.
- Scoop batter into pipping bag with nozzle tip #1A attached. Pipe small circles on a non-stick baking sheet. Use a toothpick to prick the air bubbles. Dry the macarons shells for 30 minutes under room temperature.
- At the end of 30 minutes, gently place the sakura flower on the macaron. Do not press the flower onto the macaron, as this will cause the shell to crack and sink in after baking.
- Preheat oven to 150 degrees celcius. Bake macarons at middle rack for around 12-15 minutes. Once the feet appears (they should do so before 5 minutes) , place an oven rack above the tray of macarons and continue baking till 12-15 minutes is up. (this is to prevent the top of the macarons from browning) When baking is complete, do not remove the macarons from the tray, allow them to cool for a while before removing. p
- To make the cream filling, grate yellow part of lemon to get lemon zest.
- Whip cream with 1 tsp sugar till soft peaks. Add in lemon zest, lemon juice and sakura jam and continue beating till stiff. Do not overbeat as your cream will curdles.
- Scoop cream into pipping bag with nozzle tip #1A attached. Pipe cream onto macarons.
- The measurements for the ingredients is crucial. It is also important to whisk the egg whites and fold in the sugar/almond mixture correctly.
- The need to use aged egg whites is debatable, but you should at least use egg whites at room temperature. I usually separate them the night before, leave in a bowl covered with cling wrap at room temperature.
- Please ensure equipments are dry when beating egg whites, else you will have problem beating them till stiff peak.
- If the whipping cream you buy is already slightly sweetened, you can omit the 1 tsp of icing sugar.
- It is necessary to leave the batter to rest for at least half an hour before baking, this is for the macarons to form a shell on top.
- It's important to use a non-stick baking sheet, I usually bake mine on silpat mats.
- Macarons taste better the following day, so if you can wait, keep in fridge and eat them the next day.