In an effort to make sure I am fully prepared for my trip to Melbourne for a cooking class this weekend, I decided to make my own pâte sablée, mousse and macarons. The other things I was planning to make, like Italian meringue and glazes, were left behind due to time restrictions, so I hope I have enough experience to help and not hinder the others attending the class. I only mention this, as it is a level 2 class – and I haven’t done level 1. I look forward to telling everyone about the course when I get back and have some lovely photos.
I was ecstatic with the results for my macarons. They had cute little “feet” (the little raised area on the bottom), they had a nice smooth top of the shell, there was no hole under the shell, and they came off the baking paper easily. (Well this is after I made the stupid mistake of trying to cook them in the oven with something else – I won’t tell you what it was [as it caused a very humid oven], but I would suggest cooking a tray at a time, with nothing else in the oven).
The vanilla mousse tart was lovely and paired very well with the fresh strawberries and mixed berry sauce.
Vanilla Mousse Tart with Strawberries and Macaron
Recipe by Anita @ Leave Room for Dessert
1/4 cup plain flour
1/4 cup icing sugar
1/8 cup almond meal
62g butter, chilled and chopped
1 tablespoon milk (less or more may be required) (an egg is often used to bind the pastry, although with such a small amount, I thought it might be too sticky)
1 egg yolk
1 1/2 tablespoons caster sugar
1/4 cup milk
1/3 teaspoon vanilla essence
1/2 teaspoon gelatin
2 tablespoons water
2/3 cup cream
1 egg white (30g) (I normally “age” my egg whites, covered at room temperature or in the fridge overnight)
2 tablespoons (22g) caster sugar
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon (55g) pure icing sugar
1/4 cup + 1 teaspoon (40g) almond meal
a few tablespoons vanilla mousse mixed with a few teaspoons of mixed berry jus
Mixed Berry Sauce:
60g mixed berries (fresh or frozen, thawed)
1/3 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup water
Strawberries to serve
Process the flour, icing sugar, almonds and salt in a food processor. Place the butter in with the flour and process until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add enough milk for the mixture to just come together into a dough that just holds together. Form the dough into a disc and place in the fridge for 30 minutes. Remove from fridge and roll out to a few millimetres thickness (enough to fit two small round tart tins – around 12cm diameter). Place the dough in the tart tins, pressing lightly to fill the tin. Cut off excess dough. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 180C. Cook pâte sablée for 10 minutes or until golden. Allow to cool before filling.
Add gelatine to water. Bring the milk almost to the boil in a small saucepan. Whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and vanilla essence until lighter in colour. Pour the milk into the egg yolk mixture, whisking continuously. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and cook on low/medium heat until the mixture coats the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and stir in gelatine. Allow to cool.
Whip the cream until light peaks form. Fold half of the cream into the cooled custard mixture. Fold lightly into the remaining cream. Spoon the mousse into the cooled tart shells and allow to set in the fridge for a few hours. (Leave some of the mousse for the macaron filling).
Whisk the egg whites in a clean bowl with electric beaters on medium. Once the egg whites become frothy, slowly add the caster sugar, while continuously beating. Continue beating the egg whites until the mixture becomes a thick, glossy meringue, which holds it’s shape. Sift in the icing sugar combined with the almond meal on top of the meringue. Fold and beat the almond meal mixture into the meringue, just until any peaks you create in the mixture sink back. Don’t overbeat the mixture once it is flowing nicely (underbeating can also cause the biscuits to be too meringue like or have a peak on them).
Spoon mixture into a piping bag and pipe circles (3-4 cm diameter) onto a baking paper lined baking tray (make sure this is flat or the mixture will run). Let the macarons sit at room temperature for 30 min or more to allow the top to form a skin (this will help the macaron to rise from the bottom and not split the lovely shell).
Preheat oven to 150C (my oven is fan-forced, although you’ll need to check what temperature works for your oven). Place baking trays in the oven (one at a time, depending on your oven – if mine has two trays in there, the macarons do not colour evenly). Cook for approximately 10 minutes, or until lightly coloured, with a lightly crisp shell and soft on the inside.
Once cooled, you can fill them with the berry mousse filling.
Mixed Berry Sauce:
Puree the berries with some of the water. Strain through a sieve and add to a small saucepan with sugar and remaining water. Cook on medium or high heat until the mixture has become thicker and reduced to 1/2 or 1/3 cup. This may take 10 minutes (more or less depending on the size of your saucepan).
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