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Filipino-inspired flavors: Sans rival macarons

My apologies for the late post.

Those of you who have read my recent post last week regarding my wrinkly macaron misadventure might be wondering what on Earth I was doing, grinding cashews and using peanut flour… Well, I was experimenting on transforming a favorite Filipino layered cake, Sans rival, into a macaron. Sans rival is basically made up of alternating layers of meringue, buttercream, and toasted nuts (usually cashew nuts, or peanuts); so converting it into macaron form is quite easy. The complications arise with the ingredients you use, particularly with the type of nutty meal/flour: while you can use virtually any finely ground nut or nutty seed, it should neither be too wet/moist nor too dry. Last week’s misadventure was the result of a minute quantity of moisture in the ground cashews, which could have been avoided had I checked the cashew meal’s consistency and oven-dried it a bit if it tended to clump together too much (I didn’t check and skipped oven-drying because I was to eager to get on with it).

IMG_5267.JPGEarlier this week, I also found out that using ground nuts that are too dry could also lead to even worse problems. Since I didn’t have dry-roasted cashews on hand, and I didn’t want to dry the cashew nuts that I have in the oven for an additional 5-10 minutes at lowest temperature, I decided to give the experiment another try using just the peanut flour that I already had. The problem was, the peanut flour was fat-reduced. I thought, no biggie; excess moisture is the only macaron Waterloo, right? Wrong! Just imagine how aghast I was when the batter turned into the consistency of shortcrust pastry dough during macaronage! I tried to salvage the situation by adding a bit more eggwhite, but that only made it worse. I ended up discarding the lot, and starting out again from scratch—this time, using 2:3 ratio of fat-reduced peanut flour to almond flour.

Lessons learned:

  1. There is no such thing as short cuts when making macarons. It really takes time. Do the test: pinch the ground nuts between your thumb and index finger—if it clumps together into a ball and does not break down back into a powdery consistency, it is too moist and you’ll have to dry it in the oven.
  2. DO NOT USE FAT-REDUCED NUT FLOURS (whether peanut flour, or almond flour). If you can’t find ready-made nut flours that are not fat-reduced, buy regular nuts then shell, roast, and grind them yourself.

 

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