I hate butter.
There I’ve said it.
It’s that fatty taste that puts me off. That strong buttery flavour that lingers in my homemade buttercream gives me the shivers.
But everything changed when I went to Europe. It tasted like whipped cream cheese and I fell in love. Hard. It got to the point that I would get disgusted looks from my Belgian friend as she watched me eat it by itself. When I set foot back onto Aussie soil I discovered that this thing was called cultured butter. It had a light tangy taste due to cultures being added (normal butter only consists of cream and water). It was like a whole new world had opened up and I could finally make this thing called buttercream.
This popcorn macaron recipe is adapted from Zumbo. This is the best flavour I have made so far and it has that quirkiness I love in food. Squished between two macaron shells is a silky smooth French meringue buttercream. The first time I made it I scrambled the eggs and the whole thing tasted like margarine (urgh). When I tried it a second time the buttercream was velvet smooth and shiny – what is this amazing thing that I have just created only from eggs, sugar, water and butter?
These were absolutely amazing and I ate 5 of them when I was shooting. After that I had to give them away to peeps and limit myself to 2 a day. You know what they say – a moment on the lips is forever on the hips.
Macarons recipe adapted from Not Quite Nigella’s site with the recipe from Jean-Michel Raynaud
Salted buttercream filling and concept adapted from Zumbarons by Adriano Zumbo
150g almond meal
150g pure icing sugar
2 egg white + 2 egg white (in separate bowls and ensure eggs are at room temperature)
150g caster sugar
50g caster sugar
38g lightly beaten egg (about 1 egg)
23g egg yolks (about 1 egg yolk)
100g unsalted butter, chopped and softened
1.5g sea salt flakes
1 bag microwave butter-flavoured popcorn
melted unsalted butter (for brushing)
- Sift the almond meal and pure icing sugar together twice into a bowl – throw away any parts that can’t fit through the sifter. Set this aside.
- Combine caster sugar and water in a saucepan on medium heat (ensure sugar is damp).
- Once sugar and water has reached 50°C on a candy thermometer, begin whisking one set of egg whites with an electric hand whisk until they reach soft peaks.
- When the sugar syrup reaches 118°C remove from heat and wait for the bubbles to stop (few seconds). Pour it in a thin stream slowly into the egg whites while still whisking the egg whites. Whisk until the meringue is warm and forms stiff, glossy peaks (around 8 minutes).
- In a separate bowl, mix almond meal and pure icing sugar with the other set of eggwhite until you get a smooth paste.
- Fold a third of the meringue to the almond meal mixture and then fold the rest of the meringue in.
- Lift some of the batter and slap it on the side of the bowl – this removes the air from the batter to get it the right consistency. To test if your batter is ready, lift the spatula out of the bowl and try draw a figure “8” / number 8 (check out this video to see the batter at the right stage). Stop once you get to this stage.
- Fill the batter into a piping bag with a 1cm round tip. I use a large cup to stand my piping bag when I fill it.
- Line baking tray with a stencil below it (I found mine online years ago but the one I use has a 4cm diameter circles with the circles 2cm apart).
- Pipe batter onto the baking paper – I usually have the piping bag vertical and about 1cm from the baking paper. Aim the piping tip to be at the center of one of the stencil circles. When you pipe the batter will spread and form a circle. If you have a little tip at the top after piping it should sink back into the batter after a while if you have made your batter correctly (you can wet a finger and gently push the tip down but the macarons may not turn out right when you cook them. Alternatively you could scrap all the batter and fold until you get the right consistency).
- Lightly rap the baking tray a few times on a kitchen towel that’s on the kitchen bench.
- Use a toothpick to poke out all the air bubbles left in the batter.
- Leave the trays at room temperature for 30 minutes AND until nothing sticks to your finger when you gently touch them (this forms a skin which helps develop feet on your macaron). They should also look less shiny and duller in colour.
- Preheat oven to 130°C fan forced and bake for 15-18 mins (heat source is from the bottom with a link to the reason why in the resources section). If you want to check if your shells are done, lift one off and if it’s sticking to the baking paper pop the tray back in for a few more minutes.
- Cool the macarons on the trays. Pair the shells up according to size.
To make salted buttercream filling and assemble:
- Place water and sugar in a saucepan over medium-low heat until sugar has dissolved.
- Turn heat to medium and wait until it reaches 121°C.
- While waiting, whisk egg and egg yolk with an electric mixer for 2 mins on medium.
- Once syrup reaches correct temperature, pour it into the egg with the mixer turned on (syrup will be mixing into the egg yolks). Whisk until it reaches 50°C.
- Add a cube of butter and mix well. Slowly add the rest of the butter.
- Fold the salt in.
- Fill piping bag with buttercream (I use the same circular nozzle as for the macaron) and pipe onto half of the macaron shells.
- Follow instructions to cook the popcorn. Put a quarter of it into a zip lock bag and use a rolling pin to crush them and make them smaller. If you have a food processor, you can just pop it in there.
- Brush a little of the melted butter onto the tops of the macarons and then sprinkle crushed popcorn on top (I only did one side of the macaron).
- Leave for 10 minutes so butter can set.
- Place macarons in fridge for 24 hours for flavours to develop. Remember to store them in an airtight container and to bring them to room temperature when you are about to eat them.
- Macarons Tips, Tricks and How To Macaronage by Bake It Off Blog
- I have my oven with the heat source at the bottom to help my macarons develop feet – great article explaining your oven and macarons by Syrup and Tang.
- Indulge with Mimi has an amazing macaron troubleshooting guide (wish I found her earlier). Who knew you could tell what’s wrong with macarons just by looking at their feet?