Tag Archives: dessert

The road to Macaron

Necessity is the mother of invention.

True. Contrary to most people believe, majority of things was invented accidentally. No it wasn’t.

It was discovered, not invented.

In the case of meringue, who the hell thought about whisking egg whites until it foams up? I just don’t know how our ancestors comes up with this shit. Maybe he’s the same guy who first saw crab and instantly knew it was delish.

Hmmm. Extended eyeballs, very hard and spiky exterior, claws that can cut my finger... YUMMY!!

What was he trying to do or prove? Whatever that was, I wont dig it up anymore. What’s important is he made one of the most elegant and versatile (and tiring) confections in the kitchen.

Meringue is basically whipped egg whites with sugar. It tastes like… Well… If clouds have a taste, it would be this. Soft, airy and dense at the same time. I can’t explain it.

I first made meringue when I made my Baked Alaska. It was pretty easy, just very tiring.

Thinking of a new thing to bake, I searched the internet. I found my self looking at Parisian Macarons.

FUCKING CUTE

I’ve always wanted to make them but found them very intimidating. Well, maybe this is the right time to do it. I did some more research on these cute little bastards before making them.

If you’re hear or read Macarons and immediately thought about coconuts, that’s not it. Those are Pinoy Macaroons (notice the spelling). These are more, you know, up scale a little bit.

I have to admit, I have never really tried real Macaron before so I really have no reference taste wise, but as long as it looks good, it’ll taste good! You can’t really go wrong with sweets right?

There are literally thousands of Macaron recipes. Most of the things I read states that Macaron is a pretty hard dish to make. Most people wont get it the first time the make it and if they do, they probably wont be able to make it the second time around.

Surprisingly enough, I found may uh, how can I say this… Intricate or odd (for the lack of better term) steps on this. Like the one that I read said that the egg whites to be used needs to be ‘aged’ in the ref for a few days before using. The kind of powdered sugar to be used, the process used in the nuts, ‘resting/drying’ before baking and environmental temperature.

Personally, I tend to skip ‘unecessary’ steps. It’s basically meringue with nuts and sugar. How hard can it be?

I browsed a bit more and stumbled to this site, Bravetart which specifically tackles about ‘Macaron Myths.’ I read the whole thing and she’s basically saying that IT’S JUST A FUCKING PASTRY. IT’S NOT ROCKET SCIENCE. So yeah, Thank you Bravetart for that confirmation.

Sooner or later... (thanks Nano for the image!)

So… lets start cooking? Ok!

Basically, Macaron is made up of stiff meringue, almond flour and powdered sugar sifted together, flavorings and colors, and that’s it! But as you know, I’m a cheap and lazy guy so I had to tweak somewhere there.

Almond powder. Yeah. Never heard of it. Like the word Lupozaituim, I’m sure you’ve never heard of that before. Many sites say that they grind their own almonds. So I’ll just have to do it myself. But yeah, almonds are not easily accessible in this side of the crater so I’ll have to improvise!

PEANUTS!

Yes, peanuts! Very cheap and very accessible. I’ll just ground them up into a fine powder right?

I was actually VERY hesitant. Mainly because, well, I know I can’t ground peanuts into a fine powder necause they’ll become peanut butter. But what the hell.

I roasted then and ground them using my a simple household blender.

Then mixed it with my SIFTED powdered sugar.

And I didn’t bother sifting them together because the nuts are just too fucking big to go through, get it? Nuts are too big… ehehe…

After which, I started to whip my meringue. And instead of showing you pics, I decided to film it. You know I love you guys!

Then I folded them together. And according to some sites, this is called… the Macaronage…

Macaronage. 90's dance craze.

A quote from bravetart: “Instead of coming to recognize the qualities of a good meringue and the consistency of proper macaronage, you fret over how many days the egg whites aged. This prevents learning from mistakes and subsequently improving technique, causing you to begin each macaron venture from square one.”

So from what I understand here, having a good macaromage means you have a high chance of getting a good result. What is a good macaronage you ask? Well, the internet says that the consistency is like of a molten lava. Here is a video of my macaronage…

and here is a Molten Lava video.

Ehh… Not exactly lava-like… That’s because i’m scared of over beating the mixture…

fuck off

I separated the batter into two and made one chocolate by adding cocoa powder and the other one strawbrry by adding flavorings and colors.

Polka dots

Lined my pan with wax paper (I’m out of parchment) and piped them in. Does not look too uniform as it should but that can be easily corrected… in the next batch.

Baked them and watched every moment of it.

18 minutes in front of the hot oven gave me…

FAIL

Yes. I failed. It cracked. The Macaron Feet did not show. What feet?

Macaron feet

Those curly, crunchy looking stuff under the shiny dome is called the feet.

So yeah, my first try failed. Mainly because I fucked with the recipe. What did I expect? Nevertheless the result was still delicious!

Crunchy on the outside and perfectly chewy on the inside!

And yes, this is actually my yummiest failure to date. First attempt down, many more to go. The focus of my next attempt will be getting the peanut to be sifted with the powdered sugar and having a good sense of macaronage.

And fuck almonds for being too expensive!

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It all started with a Blow.

It all started with a blow torch.

I just love it on how some chefs incorporate power tools into cooking. Like how Ming Tsai used an air compressor to make Peking Duck in an hour, or how a Band Saw looks like a modern torture equipment, or how these guys whip cream.

I know, a Blow Torch is a far cry from a real powertool but it kinda resembles a mini flame thrower in my own perspective.

Minus the epicness!

I have seen versions of baked Alaska ages ago but only through pictures. It wasn’t until I trained in a hotel that I saw one of them in the flesh. They were really pretty. Imagine my eyes glistening like a heavily oiled pan. I immediately searched the net when I got home. I got the recipe and it was only made up of three parts: a cake base, a big chunk of ice cream and some meringue. The process was straightforward enough and was very easy to follow, until I got to the last part where I realized that I needed a fucking blow torch to create the signature caramelized meringue look.

Somewhat close to my reaction

At that point, I said to my self that a blowtorch is a kitchen luxury. It just blows fire like a cigarette lighter, it can do the same fucking job.

I searched more, looking for a recipe that doesn’t require a blow torch. Some recipes require the whole dish to be baked (hence the name?) but I was not too keen on baking ice cream and expect it to hold it’s shape. Until I saw a video that made me realize how stupid I am (not the first time though).

Do you ever had those moments when you just want to slap yourself? Like when you failed to see the big fucking elephant in the room until it farted?

Whaaaaaaaaaaaat??

Blow torch is an alien technology given to us by some numeric planet residents for us to learn how to make Baked Alaska because it’s their fucking Global Dish. Kids, before speculating or bashing something, try to even just visualize it first (like what you do in your alone time). I was so stupid back then to realize in how I can actually heat up the meringue with a lighter when (obviously) fire naturally rises. A blow torch, well… blows fire to a direction of your choice making it the weapon of choice for this job. Silly silly boy.

Lay off those fucking brulees. You got the job!

Ok! So now that little torchie here got the job, shall we start?

Pretty please~~!

As I said earlier, baked alaska has three parts. A bread base, ice cream and a meringue coating. I made the base just because I can (like hating). It’s the ever so boring chocolate banana bread. It has become a household favorite.

Choco Banana Bread batter. The only reason why I'm still in this house.

While baking, I made the meringue MANUALLY and… I just ran out of words to say on how tiring it is.

BEATING GOT ME HATING

I eventually got it but I feel that it can stiffen up a little more. With more elbow grease perhaps. But hey, a peak stands so it’s kinda in that stage too. A little stiffness won’t hurt. PUN PUN PUN.

Stiff peak is stiff.

I immediately cooled the cake after it cooked. Shaped it to match the size of the ice cream I molded earlier. I used Very Rocky Road for my ice cream. Why? Cause the old road was not rocky enough. Get it, get it? …eheheh.

When the road is not fucking rocky enough.

Stacked them together and watched how the ice cream melt like… like… let’s just say that it melted pretty fast. So I placed it in the freezer for a couple of hours, and pray that my meringue won’t fuck up.

Tropical weather blows sometime.

After a year in the freezer (it certainly felt like a year), I got started on dressing it up. My meringue’s giving me the stinkeye and is getting very pissed. Luckily, she was able to hold through. I got started with this…

Looks kinda like like a church?

And I ended up with…

STOP.

You didn’t see the double word on the image caption? Gotcha!

Anyway, I ended up with this PYT (that’s Pretty Young Thing for those who know MJ only as a man who liked little boys).

PYT!

GIRLY PEAKS! Be a man! Stiffen up!

I didn’t wait any longer. Still with meringue with my hands, I grabbed the weapon and torched it like a pro!

OMAYA KABOOM- Terry Crews

See that weapon in all it’s glory? You can even see the first victim behind. It didn’t stand a fucking chance.

A few seconds, a look what I got!

Aint it purdy?

Purdier up close!

And the inside?

SPREAD THEM OPEN. I WANNA TASTE IT.

Ever heard the term “I wanna be inside you.”? This is what they really meant. Don’t you just wanna be inside this PYT?

The taste? Explosive. Warm meringue with cold ice cream and a little crunch from the crust of the bread. I’m thinking of more ways to flavor this. I just made the three main ingredients of this dessert without really taking into consideration how well they harmonize with each other. But yeah, you can’t really go wrong with sweets.

This post is a few days late. In between that time frame, my family already asked me to make this again and again. Looks like a keeper eh? 😀

Here’s a bonus video that I made. This is when I was torching the meringue. Enjoy!

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Redeemed Apple Pie

Brought by the sadness of my previous failure (I had to throw the pie 😦 ), I was hyped to get started on the new apple pie.

I sliced the apples and mixed it with brown sugar and just let it sit in the pan. After 10 mins, look at what happened.

Just 10 minutes! Look how much liquid it gave off

I let it sit in the pan for another 10 mins and cooked it with some more brown sugar and a little cornstarch.

Ooey and gooey, just the way we like it! 🙂

I purposely cooked the apples a little longer since they don’t want crunchy apples in their pie. Preference, preference.

Very very thick and sticky...

By just looking at that pic, you can tell how gooey that is.

I cooled it off and placed it in my crust. Baked it and just when I was about to take it out of the oven, a friend called to tell me that they’re coming over. I was happy since there will be someone who can judge the pie for me.

We ate the pie and forgot everything… I even forgot to take pictures since I was very excited to cut in the pie. The pectin, the sugar and the starch didn’t have enough time to set the pie. I didn’t care. It was another of my ‘I DON’T CARE, SLICE THE PIE/CAKE/BREAD/CHICKEN/PORK/<insertfooditemhere> moments.

The house was filled with apply-cinnamony scent. This is the only picture I took of the pie.

I meant the pie plate...

So what’s the verdict? Am I never gonna make apple pie any other way? Well, just for Fuji apples. If I get my hands on some granny smiths, then I’ll definitely try the other method.

PS:

This is like turning into a pie blog of some sort… And tomorrow, I’m gonna do another pie. A friend and I talked a while ago about the onion pie and he said that I should do something like ‘Onion Family’ pie made of white onion, red onion, garlic, leeks and chives. I thought it was a great idea! Though for a change I would like to try to bake them into a mini pie version since there are new muffin pans in the house. Gah, I should  have kept that as a surprise!

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A long post about a simple Apple Pie

I got some left over pie crust dough from last night’s Onion Pie experiment. I could say that I had some ready made buerre manie but it would be considered injustice to the dough. He was made to hold heavy and thick fillings, and heavy and thick fillings he shall hold!

left over pate brisee

Still hung over about that Onion Pie last night, I decided to do something similar… And that would be Apple Pie.

Yes, apple pie. Probably the most baked pie in the US and the most popular pie here in the Philippines (blame it on Jolibee and Mcdo). Apples are quite cheap too. They sell for the minimum of php10 each. I got mine at 12 each.

A little history. The first time I baked Apple pie for my friends and family, they did not really went gaga over it. I heard comments like “It’s not very… creamy.” Or “Needs more of that sticky stuff.” Then it hit me. I must imitate the pie served at those fast food joints to satisfy my target market. After all, food is all about preference.

I googled Jolibee apple pie and Mcdonalds came up.

That’s the Mc Donald’s apple pie looks like.

A little side note though, it’s rumored that there are very little actual apples in that apple pie. The general public believes that Chayote is used as an extender.

No, they're not ugly granny smith apples.

Chayote is a very common vegetable here. It has a very neutral flavor so it is often eaten with shrimp and pork (this was actually our lunch this afternoon). It tends to absorb any liquid it’s simmered and take it’s taste too. That’s why they’re perfect as an ‘apple pie extender’ and when I think about it… it does have the same texture of a cooked apple… I have not tried cooking apple pies with this veggie yet (maybe I’ll try soon) and I have nothing against it. I think it’s a sneaky way to make your child eat veggies!

With that said, people still buy the fast food pies mainly because they taste good. It wouldn’t bee a good apple pie it it didn’t have sticky and gooey stuff in it. It kinda brainwashed a whole nation thinking that that’s the ‘real’ apple pie.

Or is it?

Fail lattice is fail. Not to mention the color...

I did the ‘sweet and gooey’ apple pie before and they were epic. Until now, my friend keeps telling me that he loved that pie more than any other pie I baked.

I did not have a chance to take a pic just after slicing it simply because it got devoured as soon as the filling oozed out. The pie plate was licked clean so I guess this recipe’s a keeper.  You’d think I’ll never make apple pie any other way again. I guess so but the thing is… I get too cocky sometimes and try to do too much. I wanted to do those apple pies you see when you search ‘apple pie’ on google images. That’s actually what I did on the first time but I wanted to do a version that my friends and family would love.

Now back to the present!

I made extra pate brisee cause my left over was not enough.

After cutting the fat in the dough. I used Pork Lard by way.

If you didn't know by now, adding vodka works great on pie crusts.

Vodka is used in Pie Crust as 50% of the total liquid. Since vodka is alcohol and alcohol evaporates in high temp it will result to a more flaky crust.

The less the water, the better.

Add ice cold water, little by little just to get the dough to hold together. It’s still gonna be pretty loose so you have to knead it in a lightly floured surface. Not too much though, just until the dough binds together.

The apples I used are Fuji apples. They are less tart than granny smith and less sweeter than Washington. They’re somewhere in the middle of the two. The flesh however is spongier compared to the two and obviously has more moisture content.

HARVESTED FROM THE PEAK OF MOUNT FUJI. loljk

As I said I wanted to make the granny smith method of the apple pie so I just mixed them with brown sugar and cinnamon and placed it on the crust.

Too much?

I’m aware that adding sugar will macerate the apples. I didn’t care since I proceeded on baking them immediately.

Baked the pie until the apples were fork tender.

Feels like warm apple pie...

Venting holes

This slice looks like it was made from pure win!

Not really 😦

I thought I got was I was looking for but as soon as I tasted it, I did not dare take another bite. The apples were like flavorless and very dry… Yeah, it macerated in the pan while cooking and here’s the proof.

Take note of the leaking juices and the hollow dome.

You can see how much moisture the apples lost. All the juices that leaked out resulted to the great shrinkage of the apples. Look how much space was left on the top 😦

And the apples…

As dry as a dandruff...

The apple pie is still half untouched. No one wants to eat it. I feel pity for the apples and to me also.

Granny smith apples are hard to come by here so I guess I’ll stick to these.

The sugar, water and cornstarch mixture kinda seals in the moisture of these darned apples. Well after this long and sad blog, I still have a few apples here and I’m gonna make them tomorrow. I’ll turn them into locally appreciated apple pies… gooey and sweet 🙂

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