After making cotognata I had some left over “quince water” in which I had cooked the quinces… that liquid makes some fantastic quince jelly! But I did not want to eat the jelly by itself… I wanted to make something unique to celebrate a special occasion, but more on that later. What’s more special than the most delicate, light, delicious and elegant of all cookies? Yes, you guessed it right… I made another batch of macarons and sandwiched them with the quince jelly. And let me tell you, they were delicious!!! So, what’s this great occasion that we are celebrating? This is my 100th post! I almost cannot believe it, but it is true! And to show my readers a little love, I have decided to have a giveaway… my first! But we’ll get to it in a bit. For now let’s have a look at my quince jelly macarons and if you read the post till the end, you will find out all you need to know about my giveaway! Enjoy!
For the shells:
63 gms ground almonds or almond meal, sifted
50 gms egg whites (aged) and brought back at room temperature
103 gms pure icing sugar, sifted
30 grams sugar
Pink and/or orange food coloring (powder or paste)
For the quince jelly:
Remaining liquid from cooking quinces to make cotognata
For the shells:
The first thing to do is to “age” your egg whites. You can either leave them in the fridge for 4 days or keep them out on your kitchen’s bench top for a couple of days. I covered mine with a sieve, to prevent small particles to get into it. Remember to take bring them back at room temperature BEFORE whisking them. You can use your egg yolks in many other recipes… you could make a yummy Carbonara or some Genovesi Ericine for example.
On the day you want to bake your macarons, make sure you have everything ready, BEFORE you start making your shells. Prepare the piping bag with the right nozzle (a normal circular nozzle of about 1 cm in diameter) and line your oven trays with baking paper or with a silicone cookie mat.
Now you are all set to start making your macarons. Sift the almond meal and the pure icing sugar and mix them together in a large bowl.
The next step is to make the meringue. Put the egg whites in a bowl and start whisking them with an electric mixer. Add the sugar and the food colouring little by little and keep whisking until you get very stiff peaks. The meringue has to look translucent and pear like.
Add the meringue to the almond meal and icing sugar mix and stir well using a spatula. When all the meringue has been incorporated, you need to do what is known as the “macaronnage”. Using a pastry scraper (or the same spatula that you were using to mix), scrape the batter back and forth against the bowl to remove air bubbles, until your batter ribbons off the scraper (or “flows like magma”).
Now you are ready to pipe it! Fill your piping bag and pipe out circles of batter on the lined baking tray/cookie sheet by squeezing the bag while keeping it in one spot.
Let the macarons rest between 30 to 60 minutes or until they harden a bit.
If you have read my post on Chocolate Macarons with White Chocolate and Mint Ganache, you already know that baking the shells is actually what gives me the most problems. I am still experimenting with my oven as I find that when I bake light coloured shells at 150°C (fan forced) instead of 160°C they still tend to slightly change colour! Anyhow… in this case I did not mind as they paired well with my quince jelly! So, depending on your oven, you can bake them either at 160°C for about 12 minutes, or at 150°C for 15-17 minutes… it is all about experimenting and getting to know your oven. I also suggest that you buy a small oven thermometer if you have problems, to check the actual themperature of your oven (mine for example heats up to 20°C more than what I set it to)!
When ready, take the shells out of the oven and let them cool down BEFORE attempting to detach them from the baking paper/silicone mat… if you try to detach them before, they may break and you will ruin those nice feet on the macaron! So be patient. If you still cannot detach them easily, you can also put them in the freezer for a couple of minutes… they will come off easily then.
Once cool, put them in an air tight container and keep them in the fridge till you are ready to assemble them.
For the quince jelly:
Weigh the left-over water from the cooked quinces and put it in a pot with the same amount of sugar by weight.
Put it on the fire and cook on a medium flame until it thickens. It should become thick and amber in colour, but still be quite transparent. To test it, put a drop on a piece of baking paper and let it cool down for 1 minute. If it solidifies like a jelly, it is ready. I slightly overcooked mine, so it became a bit too chewy when cold… beware!
When it cools down slightly, pipe it on half of the shells and put the remaining shells on the top, like a sandwich.
Do NOT put the assembled macarons in the fridge as the jelly may harden and become chewy. Keep them in an air tight container and enjoy them the day after.
On another note… Manu’s Menu is participating to Your Best Recipe Roundup over at Spicie Foodie! Each participant has to chose and share their best recipe of the month. For June I chose my Samosas. Come check out all the amazing posts listed in this month’s roundup!
Now to the GIVEAWAY.
I cannot believe this is my 100th post… that means that I have already shared 99 recipes/posts with you all! Yet it feels like yesterday that I started blogging. In the last 5 months I have met some wonderful people that have actually become friends! It’s a shame we live so far away that we cannot meet in person, otherwise I know we would have great dinner parties and chat till late! I have learnt so much from each one of you: you are my inspiration and the reason I push myself to try new recipes, new ingredients, new techniques. It has been a great journey, tiring at times but so rewarding! And to celebrate this special milestone and to thank all my readers I have thought of hosting a giveaway!
The first difficulty that I face when I read other people’s recipes is trying to understand their measuring systems. I was born and brought up in a country that only uses a metric system: grams, millilitres etc. Now I live in a country that mixes up grams and cups/tbsp/tsp. And I know that many of you use ounces, pounds, cups… Messy, isn’t it? As the majority of my recipes are in grams (and some cups), I thought… “How can I make my readers’ life easier?” Easy answer… I am giving away a digital scale that I bought specifically thinking of all of you as it measures both in grams and pounds (you can adjust this by pressing a button), so you can weigh your ingredients in whatever measuring system your recipe calls for without having to worry about using conversion tables! Isn’t that cool???
HOW TO ENTER:
Each entry in the giveaway is based on a comment. There is a minimum of 1 comment/entry (see REQUIRED ENTRY) and a maximum of 6 comments/entries per person (see EXTRA ENTRIES).
Write a comment on this post telling me what is your favourite autumn food/ingredient.
The required entry must be done otherwise any extra entries will not count.
EXTRA ENTRIES (for more chances to win):
You can do any or some or all of the 5 options below. Note that if you already follow me on Twitter and/or Facebook and/or already subscribe to Manu’s Menu you must comment for each one if you want the additional entries, as each one counts as an entry. PLEASE make sure you provide your Twitter user name and your Facebook user name on your comments for validation.
1. Become a fan of Manu’s Menu on Facebook.
2. Share the link for this giveaway on your Facebook profile and tag @Manu’s Menu on FB in your message.
3. Follow @manusmenucom on Twitter.
4. Tweet the following: I entered Manu’s Menu giveaway to win a digital scale via @manusmenucom http://bit.ly/mlacyG #giveaway
5. Subscribe to Manu’s Menu updates by email or to my RSS feed.
PLEASE REMEMBER: Leave a separate comment for EACH of your entries or only one entry will be counted.
The giveaway will end on July 10, 2011 at 11:59 pm GMT. One winner with a valid entry will be selected at random through random.org. I will announce the winner on the blog soon afterwards and email the winner. He/she will have to respond to my email within 3 days to claim the prize or another winner will be selected. You may NOT enter using multiple email addresses and there is a maximum of 6 entries per person. This giveaway is open to EVERYONE no matter where you live (I always feel a bit left out when I read “USA only”!). So… GOOD LUCK everyone! <3
THE ABOVE GIVEAWAY IS NOW OFFICIALLY CLOSED! THE WINNER WILL BE ANNOUNCED SHORTLY IN A NEW POST!