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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

New Favorite Flavor Combination: Passion Fruit & Milk Chocolate

I used to hate sour taste in my dessert, but my opinion was completely changed when I bit into a passion fruit milk chocolate macaron by Jean Paul Hevin
(the one with brown and yellow shell)
It was a perfect balance of the creaminess of milk chocolate and the fragrance of passion fruit. The sourness of passion fruit did not overshadow the delicate sweetness of milk chocolate at all. I was immediately hooked. 

I'd been wanting to try this flavor combination but couldn't find good quality passion fruit puree in my little town. Until one day, I went to a local international food market and the store owner said that they have 100% natural passion fruit puree. I was so excited that I immediately made a batch of macaron when I got back from the store. I used Pierre Herme's recipe for macaron shell and chocolate ganache, and Jacques Pepin's pate de fruit recipe to make passion fruit pate de fruit. The results....
The milk chocolate ganache was runny (more like thick chocolate sauce) so I had to freeze the macaron after filling them with the ganache. Might be caused by different cocoa butter content in Herme's recipe, hmm... not sure.. Anw, the flavor was still delicious, the sweetness was just right, and the sourness of passion fruit complemented the richness and creaminess of milk chocolate extremely well. The pate de fruit in the middle gave the macaron an additional layer of texture, so I think it was a good idea. 

Passion Fruit Milk Chocolate Macaron
Yield 72 macarons (depends on how big you pipe it)

400 g milk chocolate (I use Callebaut)
400 ml heavy cream
140 g unsalted butter

1. Chop the milk chocolate into small chunks and put them in a bowl.
2.Heat heavy cream in a pan and let boil for 1 minute.
3.Pour the heavy cream on the chocolate and let sit for about 3 minutes.
4. Stir the chocolate-cream mixture until smooth and add the butter little by little while continue stirring.
5. Let the ganache cool down to room temperature, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until use.

Passion fruit pate de fruit

1 (14 oz) package of 100% natural frozen passion fruit puree (I used Goya)
1/4 cup apricot preserve
1 cup sugar
1 (2 oz) packet gelatin, dissolved in 2 tablespoons water

1. Simmer passion fruit puree, apricot preserve, and sugar for 20 minutes over medium heat until slightly reduced.
2. Take 1 cup of the passion fruit mixture and add the dissolved gelatin. Keep the remaining passion fruit mixture in the refrigerator.
3. Stir the mixture thoroughly and pour it into a baking pan lined with plastic wrap. The thickness of the mixture in the pan should be about 1/4 inch.
4. Let the mixture cool down to room temperature and refrigerate until firm.
5. Cut the pate de fruit into small squares (size depends on the size of your macaron) before filling the macaron.

Macaron shell

300 g almond powder (blanched almonds ground into fine powder)
300 g powdered sugar
110 g egg whites

300 g granulated sugar
75 g water
110 g egg whites

1. Combine almond powder and powdered sugar in a bowl. Sift to remove lumps if necessary.
2. Put granulated sugar and water in a pan and heat over medium heat until the temperature reaches 215 F (use a candy thermometer).
3. When the sugar mixture reaches 200 F, starts beating 110 g egg whites (don't overbeat). Once the sugar mixture reaches 215 F, pour it into the beating egg whites (make sure the mixer is still running when you pour the sugar mixture, or you'll end up with scrambled egg whites). Keep beating the egg whites until it forms stiff peak.
4. Pour another 110 g egg whites on the almond-sugar mixture and scoop the beaten egg whites on top of it.
5. Fold the mixture together until uniform but don't overmix. It should take no more than 50 strokes.
6. Pipe the batter on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or silicon mat.
7. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to 1 hour or until the surface of the piped batter feels dry when touched. Preheat oven to 350 F while waiting.
8. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until done. Let cool and fill with the fillings.

Making macaron is challenging because it involves a lot of steps. The key is to not overmix the batter. Once you get the knack of knowing when to stop mixing, you're golden. Sometimes I still get cracked and weird-looking macaron, but when I get it right it is super rewarding.  If you need more tips on making macaron, Syrup & Tang has a very helpful website. Still worried? Don't be, just face your batter :)

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