Happy Chinese New Year! I wish everyone good health and prosperity :D
I’m absolutely clueless when it comes to making Chinese desserts and snacks, since I tend to lean toward French-style pastries. Howeverrr, I was watching the dessert show “Sweet Corner” which is aired on TVB (I watched it online) and Chef Koo of Black n White made candied lotus macarons! This was last year though, because this year they came up with red date macarons, holy crap. But anyway, for the candied lotus one, it was very fancy – shaved candied lotus on top of one macaron shell, caramelized apples, fresh jam, half sphere lacey chocolate decoration and air-brushed. It was very hotel-style worthy and not exactly something to be made at home.
Candied lotus is one of the candies that I enjoy during Chinese New Year. It’s sweet although the taste is somewhat subtle. I came up with my own version of the candied lotus macaron idea and displayed it in two ways. To make it as candied lotus-y as possible, I shaved some and sprinkled it on top of the macaron shells, added it to the buttercream filling and also small chunks of the candied lotus. To enhance the flavour, I added a drop of both vanilla and almond extract. It really can’t get any more candied lotus-y than this – it’s practically an overkill.
Because white isn’t an appropriate colour (despite it not actually being a colour) for Chinese New Year, I added a bit of creamy peach food gel to the macaron shells. They look perfect and I’m really lovin’ it!
Inspired by Pierre Herme’s Ispahan, I used candied lotus in place of the fresh raspberries, hahaha. This macaron just screams cute!
Recipe below! Comment if you have any questions. If not, have yourself a very Happy Chinese New Year!
Makes about 2 dozen macarons
2/3 cup (3 oz/85 g) ground almonds
1-1/2 cups (5 1/4 oz/150 g) powdered sugar
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
5 tbsp (65 g) granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract, or seeds from 1/2 a vanilla bean
peach food colouring (if using)
2 pieces of candied lotus (shaved)
1 Cut a sheet of parchment paper to fit your baking sheet. Draw 1-inch (2.5 cm) circles on the paper, spacing them at least 1/2 inch (1.5 cm) apart. This pattern will be your guide for squeezing out the batter.
2 In a food processor, grind almonds and powdered sugar to a fine powder. Sift the mixture through a medium-mesh sieve twice. Set aside.
3 In a stainless steel mixing bowl, beat egg whites on high speed until they are foamy. Gradually add the granulated sugar to the egg whites and beat on high until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 1 minute. Add food colouring if using and mix until incorporated. When the meringue is stiff, firm and has a glossy texture, it is done.
4 Add half of the sifted flour mixture from step 2. Stir it with a spatula, scooping it up from the bottom of the bowl.
5 Add the rest of the flour and mix it lightly while forming a circle.
6 Macaronnage (the term for mixing flour and meringue to make macarons): When you run out of flour, press and spread out the batter against the bowl’s sides. Scoop the batter from the bottom and turn it upside down. Repeat this process about 15 times. Pointer: If the macaronnage step is repeated less than 10 times, the baked macarons will lack luster. However, when it is repeated more than 20 times, oil stains may remain on the pastry’s surface after baking.
7 Macaronner (term for mixing the batter until it is firm and drips slowly when it is scooped out): When the batter becomes firm and drips slowly as you scoop it with a spatula, the mixture is done.
8 Attach a 1/4-inch (1 cm) tip to a pastry bag. Twist the bag to hold the tip tightly. This prevents the batter from leaking out.
9 Place the pastry bag, tip first, inside a deep measuring cup and pour in the batter. Clip the bag top to prevent the paste from coming out. You could also use a string or rubber band.
10 Place the sheet used in step 1 on the baking sheet and squeeze the batter onto the center of the circles. Make small circles since the batter tends to spread.
11 Rap the baking sheet firmly against the counter or other flat surface. This helps the macarons hold their rounded shape and helps the pied, or little “foot,” to form. Pointer: As macarons bake, small pleatlike frills form at the bottom of each. This pleat is called a pied, or foot. Without it, the pastry cannot be called a macaron. Some bakers attribute the pied to the macaronnage, some to the oven temperature, and some to a good rap of the baking sheet on the counter before baking.
12 Let dry at room temperature, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Sprinkle the candied lotus shavings on top of each. A slight crust should form on top. If the batter circles do not stick to your finger when you touch them, the drying process is complete. On a dry and sunny day, the drying process takes approximately 30 minutes. On rainy days, it helps to dehumidify the room.
Baking the macarons
1 Place oven racks in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 250°F.
2 Stack the baking sheet holding the batter circles onto an empty baking sheet and slide both into the oven. Pointer: Using two trays, one inside the other, prevents the bottom of the macarons from overbaking, and from puffing up too much or cracking.
3 Bake for 24 minutes, rotating the trays once and switching them from top to bottom racks and vice versa, until slightly crisp and crackled on top.
4 Place baking sheets on wire racks to cool. When the macarons are completely cooled, remove them from the baking sheet.
*Recipe adapted from I Love Macarons by Hisako Ogita with modifications
Candied Lotus Buttercream
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 cup water
2.5 egg whites
1/8 cup sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into tablespoons
one drop each of vanilla & almond extract
8 pieces candied lotus
1. Boil 1/2 cup sugar and 1/8 cup water over medium heat until it reaches 245F. As it cooks, begin meringue so it’s ready when syrup is done.
2. Whip egg whites with a wire whisk in a stand up mixer on high until soft peaks form. About 1-2 minutes. Sprinkle in 1/8 cup sugar. Beat.
3. Slowly pour the hot syrup into the meringue steadily with the mixer still on high.
4. Beat the frosting for 7-10 minutes until the outside of the bowl is room temperature.
5. Beat in butter by the tablespoon. The butter will deflate the frosting a bit.
6. Add in one drop of vanilla extract and one drop of almond extract. Mix in the 8 shaved candied lotus (use lemon zester).
7. When assembling, place chunks of candied lotus directly in the buttercream after piped onto shells.
*Reciped adapted from Mr.Brown with modifications