Trial #5 of my foray into Italian meringue-based macarons: blueberry macarons filled with blueberry cream cheese buttercream. I finally got the macaron consistency that I am quite happy with. They’re not perfect yet—some still have air pockets between the feet and the cap, but that’s because I have been too cautious about over-folding during macaronage that I actually under-folded and didn’t knock enough air out of the batter. Hopefully I’ll finally nail it in my next try 😊
Blueberry cheesecake macarons
Blueberry macaron shells
Makes about 48 shells (24 filled macarons)
100 g finely ground almonds (almond meal/flour)
100 g confectioner’s sugar
5 g freeze-dried blueberries, ground to a powder
37 g egg whites (from approximately 1 egg)
100 g granulated sugar
37 g egg whites (from approximately 1 egg)
25 g water
- Line baking trays with baking paper, silicone macaron mats or silpat (I used silpats).
- Tant pour tant: Grind the ground almonds, confectioner’s sugar, and powdered freeze-dried blueberries in the food processor. Sift the mix into large bowl. Place the pieces that won’t go through the sieve back in the food processor and process until everything goes through the sieve. Make a well in the center of the tant pour tant.
- Pour the egg white mixture in the middle of the tant pour tant but do not mix. Set aside.
- Italian meringue: Place the water and sugar in an appropriately sized saucepan. Place a digital kitchen thermometer (I used a digital meat thermometer with an alarm function) in the center of the pan with the sugar mixture, and heat over medium heat until the sugar syrup boils and reaches a temperature of 118°C. DO NOT STIR, but you can swirl gently.
- Place the second batch of egg whites in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. When the sugar syrup temperature reaches past 110°C, begin whipping the egg whites at high speed until soft peaks form.
- As soon as the sugar syrup reaches 118°C, remove from heat and pour in a thin stream into the egg whites while continuing to beat at high speed. Beat one more minute, then lower the speed to medium and beat for about 2 more minutes. Cool to 50°C (or lower) before adding into the tant pour tant.
- Macaronage: You can add the meringue in 2 batches (although Pierre Hermé in his book does it in one go). Using a spatula, fold the meringue into the tant pour tant by pressing the batter from the center of the bowl towards the sides, then scraping the batter from the sides and bringing it towards the center. Repeat this pressing and scraping action while rotating the bowl until the batter becomes homogenous in color. Add the second batch of meringue (if using 2 batches), then repeat the pressing, scraping and rotating procedure until the batter becomes shiny and homogenous in color.
- Once the batter is shiny and homogenous, check for the consistency. Using the spatula, lift a small amount of batter and let it drop from the spatula. If the batter drops in clumps, fold a couple more times then check again. The batter is ready for piping when it drops from the spatula in ribbons that smooth themselves back into the rest of the batter within 15-20 seconds. Alternatively, check how the batter flows: tip the bowl slightly to one side and watch how the batter moves. If the batter moves like slowly flowing lava, it is ready.
- Spoon or pour the batter into a piping bag fitted with an 8-10 mm diameter round nozzle (Wilton 1A or 2A), taking care not to add air bubbles into the batter as you are doing so.
- Pipe out 35 mm circles, each about 20 mm apart, onto the prepared baking sheets. Rap the sheets on the counter top to smoothen the tops of the macarons (in case there are stubborn peaks that formed while piping) and to dislodge/remove excess air from the batter.
- Croûtage: Let the macarons rest for 15-30 minutes, or until they have formed a thin crust, their surfaces are dull in color and are no longer sticky when touched.
- Preheat the oven to 150°C-160°C (this depends on your oven; mine is hotter than what it says on the dial, so I use 150°C).
- Once the oven is done preheating and the macarons are dry and ready, place one of the baking sheets on the lower third of the oven—you can only bake one sheet at time. Bake for 10-12 minutes (again, this depends on your oven; in my case, I check for doneness after 10 minutes), briefly opening the oven at least once after 8 minutes to let out steam/moisture. The macarons are ready when the tops are firm to the touch and they do not wobble.
- Remove from the oven and slide the baking paper/silicone/silpat with the macarons still on it from the baking sheet onto a wire rack. Let the macarons cool on the baking paper/silicone/silpat. Once cooled, they can be removed easily from the baking surface (peel the baking surface from the macarons, and not vice-versa); any macaron with the bottom still stubbornly sticking to the baking surface is undercooked—pop them back into the oven and bake a couple more minutes.
- Pair the finished macarons and allow to rest on wire racks with half of them lying foot side up. Cool completely before piping the filling.
Blueberry cream cheese buttercream
Adapted from Wicked Good Kitchen
Makes about 1 cup
63 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
63 g cream cheese, straight from the refrigerator
110-130 g powdered (confectioner’s) sugar
1/2 tbsp vanilla sugar
10 g freeze-dried blueberries, pulverized
pinch of salt (optional)
- In the bowl of a standing mixer, beat the butter at medium speed until smooth and creamy. (This might take time, so patience is required)
- Add the cream cheese. Beat until well-blended, then gradually increase the speed to «high», and continue beating until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula when necessary.
- Turn the speed to «low», then gradually add 110 g of the powdered sugar and the vanilla sugar. Beat until thoroughly combined.
- Add the freeze-dried blueberries, and continue beating at low speed until just blended.
- Set the mixer speed back to «high», and beat until thoroughly combined and smooth. Gradually add the remaining powdered sugar, if necessary, and continue beating until the desired consistency is achieved.
- Taste the mixture, if it has become too sweet, add the salt and beat until completely combined.
- Spoon the finished frosting into piping bags (if using immediately), or store in suitable containers for later use.
- Pipe the buttercream onto half of the macarons (those with the foot side facing upwards), leaving about 3 mm from the edges free.
- Top with the remaing macarons.
- Leave the macarons to «mature» with the fillings for 24 hours, or at least overnight.