Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Mango-Passion Fruit Macarons for Rachel and the Livestrong Taste of Yellow Event


Mango-Passion Fruit Macarons
I don't think I know anyone that hasn't been touched by the C word in some way, whether it be through a family member, a friend, a lover, an acquaintance even. In my family, my maternal grandmother passed away of breast cancer when I was 6 and my paternal grandfather, one of my most favorite people in the world ever, lived with colon and prostate cancer for 17 years before his body finally gave up on him, even though his mind was still sharp. Parents of dear friends have succumbed to it, others have fought through and are still with us now to my great relief, but most recently my friend Rachel has been touched by it for the second time in her life. I suppose it wouldn't be so incredible if you didn't know that a) she's a little younger than me (I'm 34) and b) she was 15 the first time she had cancer. As if having cancer only once wasn't enough, let alone when you're a teenager trying to become an adult, this time she has an entirely different kind of cancer than the first.

So when I realized that it was time for the annual Livestrong with a taste of yellow event organized by Barbara of Winos and Foodies, herself a cancer survivor, I knew I had to make something for Rachel, and a happy coincidence resulted in my making these macarons for her.
See, when I'm taking care of Baby Saffron I often can't do much with both hands in spite of my awesome baby carrier, so I spend a lot of quality time with my iPhone sometimes, and the easiest way to spend time on the iPhone happens to be on Twitter. There I get to chat with some of my favorite blogging friends and when Jamie of Life's a Feast made macarons for the first time not too long ago, the twitter posse that she, Meeta, Deeba and I form on a regular basis started tweeting like mad about them. Before you knew it, Jamie had organized a mac-athon to get other bloggers who hadn't tried those tricky little devils to attempt making them.

I happen to be the one in the group who has made macarons before and, as luck would have it, the first time I made successful macarons two years ago, Rachel was one of the few to partake and she loved them. Rachel was my first "blog" friend back when I was blogging elsewhere and that blog wasn't a food blog at all. Her friendship made life easier for me through rough times and when she asked me to make her wedding cake she gave me an incredible boost of faith in my baking abilities. She is warm, intelligent, and thoughtful; she sings beautifully even though right now the treatment has made that difficult for her. Throughout it all she has kept her chin up and never whined.

I wasn't able to make macarons for her as wedding favors and right now we're not even in the same city, but I know she will appreciate these when she sees them, and I will be more than delighted to make them *for you again my wonderful friend.*

Mango Passion-Fruit Macarons
I made these macarons using Helen of Tartelette's powdered-strawberry macarons recipe by drying out a honey mango and grinding it to flavor the shells. I also added turmeric for color. The flavor of the shells was very delicate and, on A.'s recommendation, I might try using mango pulp instead next time I make them. Instead of the traditional buttercream I made a filling with swiss meringue, whipped cream, fromage frais, pureed mango and fresh passion fruit. The ratio of white to yellow-orange ingredients being very high, the filling is white which I prefer. You will be able to see the results of the mac-athon on Jamie's blog after the 15th of September.

Powdered Mango Macarons with Mango-Passion Fruit Filling
adapted from Helene Dujardin at Tartelette
Makes about 48 shells so ~2 dozen 3.5cm(1.5") macarons 

For the macarons shells:
- 1 Honey Mango (not too ripe)
- 90gr egg whites (between 2 and 3 Large eggs)
- 30gr granulated sugar
- 200gr confectioner's or icing sugar
- 110gr powdered almonds (I ground & sieved whole almonds)
- Turmeric or powdered yellow food coloring

For the mango powder:
- Peel and cut the mango in half. Slice one half thinly. Set aside the other half.
- Heat oven to 120C (250F). Place the mango slices in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and let dry in the oven. This could take anywhere from an hour to two hours to complete. Let cool. Grind until you can no longer make it finer (mangoes can get a bit chewy instead of dry so you may not be able to grind to a powder). Set aside.

For the macarons shells:
- I have a stand mixer but preferred to use a hand mixer instead. For stand mixer instructions go to Helen's website. Using your mixer, whip the egg whites until just foamy, then gradually add the granulated sugar until glossy and just stiff but take care not to overbeat or the macarons will fail.
- Put the confectioner's sugar, powdered almonds, powdered mango and food coloring in a food processor and pulse until well blended. You can sieve this mixture afterward to obtain an even finer texture.
- Add the meringue to the dry mixture in halve or thirds. Then fold (macaronner) the mass carefully until you obtain a batter that makes a thick flowing ribbon. The process of macaronner is defined as folding the batter from back to front with one hand while rotating the bowl in a counter-motion with the other hand. Be careful not to overfold your batter or it will be too liquid and spread and you won't get feet. Test your batter if you are unsure of its readiness. If there are small peaks you need to fold it a bit more, if it flattens out on its own it's ready, and if it spreads out you've overfolded.
- Using a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip (8mm for me) pipe the batter in small rounds (~3.5cm or 1.5") onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper. I don't draw circles on the parchment because I'm lazy so my macs tend to need to be paired manually when done because they're not all the same size, but if you are not lazy like me, you should draw circles out for perfectly and evenly sized macs. Take care to leave a little space in between them so the air can circulate to help them develop feet.
- Heat the oven to 140C (280F). To make them even more stable in the oven, let the macarons sit out for at least 30 minutes to harden their shells.
- Bake for 15 to 20 minutes (I usually sneak a peek under the corner one to see if they're done). Let cool a bit before removing them from the parchment.
- Store them in an airtight container until ready to use, but do not leave them more than a couple of days. They freeze well but I'm not familiar with how long they can stay frozen.

For the mango-passion fruit filling (I made this up as I was going so feel free to try your own version):
- 1/2 Honey Mango
- 2 egg whites
- 50g granulated sugar
- ~50g double cream
- ~100g fromage frais
- ~40g fresh passion fruit
- Puree the honey mango but you do not need all of it for the filling as it is very watery.
- Put the egg whites with the sugar in a bowl over simmering water (double-boiler) and heat to 100C whipping constantly. Take off the heat and continue whipping until cool (I use my stand mixer bowl for this). You should have a stiff glossy meringue (Swiss).
 - In a separate bowl, whip the cream to soft peaks. Add the fromage frais and whip until smooth. Fold in the Swiss meringue. Fold in the passion fruit and some of the mango puree so that the mixture is not too thin and will stiffen in the fridge.

When ready, assemble the macarons by piping about a tablespoon worth of filling onto one shell and pressing another shell on top. They are best eaten the day after they are assembled to allow the flavors to develop but if you're like me you may not be able to wait that long...

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39 comments:

Fuji Mama said...

Wow, these are gorgeous!!!!

Aparna said...

They look beautiful and I'm sure your friend will love them. What a lovely way to reiterate your friendship.
Mango's my favourite fruit. Have to wait till next summer now.

Colloquial Cook said...

You're making me feel French meringued macaron antsy. I'm running low on almond powder dammit! Why now! I might make a trip to the store...

MeetaK said...

A lovely gesture for your friend and these as you know are the most lovely looking very yellow macarons ever. well done my friend!

Jamie said...

Stunning, Hilda, and so full of love. This is a truly touching story and a wonderful way to express your friendship. Your macarons are simply gorgeous, just like you! I know that I am thankful for our friendship and you guys, my twitter gang, have come to mean so much to me and help me along everyday. Rachel is lucky to have you for a friend (and vice versa).

Happy cook said...

Rachel is so lucky to have a friend like you.
Love the macrons. Beautiful yellow color.
Mine i tried twica and it ddn'tcoeone. GOing to give a naother go tommorow.

Barbara Bakes said...

What a beautiful tribute to your friend! Beautiful macarons for a beautiful friend!

Deborah said...

They are stunning, and what a wonderful tribute to your friend!

Srivalli said...

Thats beautiful!...and a great tribute to your friendship

SnacksGiving said...

Wonderful! What a way to show your friendship. And the macarons looks amazing!

Daydreamer Desserts said...

Wow, great job! Amazing pictures too, I guess it helps when the subjects are beautiful to begin with...

Jennifer said...

What a lovely way to honour and show love for your friendship! These are perfect and beautiful!!

Amrita said...

Oh, what an eye-popping yellow! Beautiful!

Lisa said...

Just an amazing dish. What an entry. I had a little baby girl 4 months ago and was so close to naming her Saffron. Great Blog, Great Baby.

The Purple Foodie said...

Your macs have turned out perfectly. Gorgeous photos.

Arwen from Hoglet K said...

Beautiful macaroons for a beautiful reason. Best wishes to Rachel.

lisaiscooking said...

Beautiful color, and the flavors sound incredible!

anna said...

Those are so sunny and bright! Any friend would be glad to have such a yummy tribute.

Peggy Bourjaily said...

Wow, how beautiful they are and what a lovely gesture for your friend. I lost my father to cancer last year and he would've loved to sample a homemade macaroon, especially one made with so much hope!

Bethany (dirtyKitchenSecrets) said...

I heard aobut your blog after discovering Mowielicious.com and seeing his beautiful tribute. Your macarons are stunning and am loving your blog!

thecookieshopinenglish said...

Hilda, the macarons look beautiful - I hope they bring extra energy to your friend Rachel!
It's also very nice too finally see the results of all the macaron tweeting...

Hilda said...

Thank you everyone. Rachel hasn't seen them yet but I hope she'll like them.

Jamie - Totally feel the same. xoxo.

Peggy - I'm very sorry about your father. I wish he could have had a macaron made by you.

Bethany - Thank you. Isn't Mowie so talented, love him.

Paula - My aim is to have everything I make look like things you'd make. =)

Rachel Rhodes said...

I cannot wait to taste these! Thank you for your very kind words.

And the eye candy. They look like perfection.

Karine said...

Mango and macarons? It looks to be a delicious deal!

RJ Flamingo said...

These are just gorgeous! Mangos are my very favorite fruit, so we planted several trees. Now we one more use. :-) Love these!

Barbara said...

Hilda thank you for this gorgeous entry. I love mangoes and can imagine how delicious these would be.

Y said...

Dammit Hilda, I want some!!

ejm said...

Okay, this is just not fair! These look amazing!

-Elizabeth

Heather said...

Mmmm; I think if I could eat my computer and taste those, I would. What a great way to bring attention to cancer.

Leah W said...

now those i am seriously tempted to make!

Wanna B Thin 2 said...

Did you take the photos of the flowers? They're beautiful!

Stacy said...

I just lost my aunt to cancer (she was 52) and have lost too many other relatives to cancer as well over the past decade. What a wonderful way to honor a friend!

Mrs. D said...

These are beautiful - absolutely delicious looking. And made even lovelier by the sentiment behind them.

Dbe said...

Pretty yellow, looks too nice to eat.

Kat said...

Great idea for a yellow food

Jeanne said...

Fabulous *vibrant* yellow macarons for a fabulous, inspirational event.

Sari said...

I love the colour of the macarons!

Ted said...

Leaving a comment for Haiti.

honey said...

Nice Reading Your Blog by www.indiakashmirsaffron.com

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