Boston Crème Pie in Macaron form! A vanilla macaron cookie, with a homemade vanilla pastry cream, and dipped in a rich chocolate ganache!
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One of the biggest challenges for any baker to master has got to be the macaron. The first time I ever made these they were a complete success. I thought I was like Mozart but with a whisk. Then I made them a second time, and they failed...miserably. Wait, what? How could that be?
After a few more attempts and taking a macaron class, I felt much more confident about these delicate little cookies. Confidence that I want to pass on to you. So I thought I would dream up a fun version of a macaron and that's when I dreamt up this Boston Creme Pie Macaron...
I am in love with this combination in a macaron. A vanilla macaron, filled with a vanilla pastry cream and topped with dark chocolate ganache. Oh yea, everything you love about Boston Creme Pie in macaron form.
You need to bake these up like yesterday.
With macarons it's best to remember- they take practice, practice, practice- it's the only way to become better and conquer that macaron fear once and for all. The base of a macaron shell actually is some simple ingredients- confectioners sugar, almond flour (meal), egg whites, a little bit of salt, and granulated sugar.
For the almond flour, you could make your own by buying unsalted, blanched, skinless, raw almonds and pulsing them in a food processor. But trust me, it's much easier to buy your own! I use Bob's Red Mill Almond Meal.
The first step in making these is to first start by combining your powdered sugar and almond flour in the food processor. This helps to not only combine them but also break up any possibly big lumpy pieces from the almond meal. You could also sift them together if you don't have a food processor. You may just want to sift a few times.
For whipping the egg whites you want to make sure they are at room temperature and aged. They will whip up much easier. Cold egg whites will not reach the same volume. Aging your egg whites means allowing them to sit on the counter for a few hours or even up to a couple of days. You want to whip these to stiff peaks.
When you add your the almond mixture to your egg whites, you want to mix so that it is thick, smooth and flowing like lava from your spatula. This is a super important step called the macaronage. You actually want to get the air OUT of the batter at this point, which might be different than any egg white mixture you've made before. Let the batter ribbon on itself and it should hold it's shape for about 8 to 10 seconds. Now you're ready to go...A few more tips to master macarons:
- Measure your ingredients with a scale. I can't stress that enough! Macarons are tricky, but take some of the guesswork out of it- and use a kitchen scale. I love my kitchen scale and use it all the time. And definitely for this recipe.
- Use a silicone baking mat. The silicone surface will ensure your macarons come off the mat easily as opposed to scraping those expensive little almond shells off a non stick surface and cursing up a storm as you watch all that effort go to waste.
- Use a piping bag with round pastry tip to make even macaron circles.
- Gently tap your cookie sheet after piping your macarons to get any excess air out.
- Let your macarons, dry out by letting them sit on your counter after piping before baking. Allow them to sit for about 45 minutes before baking. They should be dry to the touch.
- Make ahead: the pastry cream and chocolate ganache can be made ahead of time. This can be a labor intensive recipe but if you break up the recipe over a few days,even two you will thank yourself.
Why This Recipes Works: These delicate almond egg white sandwich cookies are everything you love about Boston Creme Pie on bite size form! Of course macarons, take a little bit more effort, but they are totally worth it and a fun baking challenge for you as well. Once you master this recipe, the sky's the limit with what you can do with this vanilla shell.
The Science Behind The Sweets: How does a meringue form?
To make macarons, you need to make a meringue which is made from whipping egg whites and sugar. When you beat the egg whites you denature the proteins and also introduce air. As you continue to beat the egg whites, the proteins form a network with each other around the bubbles to stabilize them and form soft peaks. By adding sugar, it helps to stabilize those air bubbles which then turns them to stiff peaks. (Source: Yale Scientific)
So in an ideal world, you would whip up a batch of these, I'll make some tea and we will get together and snack on these little guys. Instead I'm snacking on granola bars and drinking instant coffee. A girl can dream right?
But if you do happen do like this recipe I would love if you would let me know and leave me a comment and share on Pinterest!
To make this recipe you will need:
- •200g confectioners' sugar (close to 2 cups)
- •100g almond flour (close to 1 cup)
- •120g room temperature egg whites (around 3 large egg whites)1
- •1/8 teaspoon salt
- •40g sifted granulated sugar or caster sugar (3 Tablespoons)
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 8 ounces semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
- 8 ounces heavy cream
- 1.Place the confectioners' sugar and almond flour in a food processor or blender and pulse or blend for 30 seconds until thoroughly combined and fine in texture. Set aside.
- 2.In a completely dry and grease-free bowl, beat the egg whites and salt together on medium speed for 1 minute. Switch to high speed and beat *just* until stiff peaks form, about 3 minutes. Do NOT overbeat. Using a metal spoon or rubber spatula, gently fold in the sifted granulated sugar, 1 Tablespoon at a time.
- 3.On low speed, beat in any flavor or color2 at this point. Do not overmix.
- 4.Using a metal spoon or rubber spatula, fold in the confectioners' sugar/almond flour mixture until combined. Be very gentle and light-handed while doing so. Once completely combined, the mixture will be smooth, sticky, and glossy.
- 5.Let the batter sit uncovered at room temperature for 10-30 minutes. Meanwhile, fit your piping bag with the piping tip. Line 2-3 baking sheets with silicone baking mats (read explanation in this post about why these mats are preferred).
- 6.Fill the piping bag with the batter and pipe evenly sized rounds onto the baking sheets-- make sure you are holding the bag vertically and close to the baking sheet. While piping, the batter will slightly spread out, so keep that in mind. You want around 2-inch circles. Gently tap the bottom of the baking sheets on your counter to rid any large air bubbles.
- 7.Let the piped rounds sit for at least 45 minutes and up to 1 hour. This is crucial to making macarons! The air will will help the rounds set and form a dry shell. They should not be sticky going into the oven.
- 8.Preheat oven to 325°F (163°C). Bake the macarons for 10 minutes, one baking sheet at a time. Rotate the pan at the 5 minute mark. The tops should be crisp and the macarons should have formed their signature crinkly "feet." Allow to cool completely on the baking sheet before filling.
- 9.Fill and sandwich two shells together to form an iconic French macaron cookie! Leftover macarons keep well covered at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
- In a medium saucepan, combine milk, 1/4 cup sugar, vanilla bean and seeds, and salt. Cook over medium heat until mixture comes to a simmer.
- 2. In a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks, cornstarch, and remaining 1/4 cup sugar. Whisking constantly, slowly pour about 1/2 cup of the hot-milk mixture into the egg-yolk mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, until it has been incorporated. Pour mixture back into saucepan, and cook over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until it thickens and registers 160 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, about 2 minutes. Remove and discard vanilla bean.
- 3. Transfer to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the butter, and beat on medium speed until the butter melts and the mixture cools, about 5 minutes.
- 4. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto the surface of the pastry cream to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 hours or up to 2 days. Just before using, beat on low speed until smooth (you can also whisk by hand).
- 1. Place the chocolate into a medium bowl. Heat the heavy cream in a sauce pan until simmering. Pour over the chocolate chips. Allow the mixture to sit for 5 minutes. Stir until the chocolate and cream are combined, and the ganache is smooth.
- 1. Using a piping bag, pipe a dime sized amount on one macaron cookie. Top with a second cookie. Dip the top of the cookie into the ganache. Allow to sit. Continue with the rest of the cookies.
- 2. Store any unused pastry cream and ganache, covered in the refrigerator for up to one week.
- 1. Age your egg whites! Allow the egg whites to sit out for a few hours or up to overnight allowing them to come to room temperature.
- 2. Use a kitchen scale to measure your ingredients. Accuracy counts!
- 3. When using flavoring or coloring- less is more. More liquid can destroy the batter's consistency. So keep the flavoring to no more than 1/2 teaspoon (I kept it simple and used vanilla). If you want to use coloring- 1-3 drops should be enough.
- 4. You can make the ganache and pastry cream up to two days ahead. Simply store in the refrigerator covered. To bring the ganache back to a "dippable" consistency, microwave in 10-second intervals stirring in between (this took two intervals in my microwave)