Saturday, May 01, 2010

Dark Chocolate Macaron with Venezuelan Chocolate and Esplette de Piment

This is one of my favourite chocolate macarons, the darkness of the Venezuelan Chocolate sets this flavour apart.

Chocolate, one of the most powerful flavours in this world, in Spain it is known to have been used in the mid 17th century as ‘dowry’. I wonder why I wasn’t given any chocolate when I got married! Venezuela being a leading exporter of cocoa beans, the chocolate is known to have a strong fruity note and the one I invested in contains only 75% of darkness in it, believe me it is heavenly!
So enough of me talking; I follow the Alain Ducasse recipe for making chocolate macarons which uses cocoa powder.

55 g Almond Powder
115 g icing sugar
65 g egg whites
25 g powdered or fine sugar
15 g cocoa powder (I recommend Van Houten)

1. On a baking tray, spread a sheet of parchment paper.
2. Mix the almond powder, icing sugar and cocoa powder for not more than 30 seconds in a mixer. Make sure you do not overbeat, or heat the mixture.
3. Spread the dry mixture on this piece of parchment paper and pop it into a pre-heated oven @ 160°C for 5 minutes. Once out of the oven, pass it through a sieve.
4. Beat the egg whites till strong peaks are formed; add the powdered or fine sugar while beating.
5. With the help of a spatula (I use a cool silicon one!) mix in the almond mixture with the egg whites very slowly but firmly. A good way to incorporate the dry ingredients into the egg whites is to keep turning the spatula in circles until you stop seeing the white of the eggs.
6. To know when to stop mixing is probably the trickiest and the toughest part, there’s no exact way of knowing, however, if you pay close attention and of course if you go through batches of failed attempts, you’d get to know eventually!
The trick is to mix until the mixture resembles magma, and as most of us haven’t a clue of what that is, the mixture should fall like a thick ribbon. When you started mixing, the mixture was like a blob, sluggish and dull. You should stop mixing when:
a. The mixture falls like a thick ribbon when lifted off the spatula.
b. The mixture should be shiny and glossy
c. Drop a bit of the mixture on your cooking platform or a cutting board, if it spreads easily, then its ready to go!
7. Scoop healthy portions of the mixture into piping bags that are fitted with open wide tip. Hint: To make this an easy and not messy process, take a tall glass, fit the piping bag in the glass so it sits well and fits snugly. Pour the mixture into the piping bag, close it and voilĂ  you don’t have messy fingers!
8. Pipe small circles on to the parchment paper. Always pipe on alternate levels so that air passes easily once in the oven.
9. Let the piped shells rest in ambient temperature for at least 30 minutes. This process is called ‘Crusting’ where a thin layer is formed over each shell. This helps in getting that crisp exterior.
10. Once the crusting session is done, pop them into a pre-heated oven @ 160°C for 10-11 minutes. If you notice cracks/fissures appearing during the baking process, this means the oven is too hot; get it down to 150°C.
11. A good way of testing whether the macaron is done is to nudge them with your finger, if they move without much resistance, then they are done. If they act stubborn, then let them bake for 2-3 minutes more.
12. Once out of the oven, place the parchment paper on a cool surface to stop the cooking process. Normally if they are baked properly, they should come off easily. If not, pop them back on the lowest rack in the oven for a minute or two.

Now, ready for the Chocolate Ganache with Esplette de Piment?
In case you are wondering what an Esplette de Piment means, it is a type of chilli cultivated in the southern part of France which borders with Spain, it is the Basque Region. They have a whole cuisine going, and they even have their own type of macarons, which I am hoping to try next week. Trying to make them that is! 
150 g dark dark chocolate (chopped into small pieces)
150 ml full cream
3 teaspoons of esplette de piment

1. Boil the cream in a non-stick pan.
2. Pour immediately into the bowl of dark chocolate. Stir continuously to incorporate the chocolate and cream to make a homogenous mixture. Add the chilli powder and mix well.
3. Once it is well mixed, cool and then refrigerate.
4. Note: This ganache can last in the refrigerator for a long while, just stick it into the microwave for a couple of seconds to make it supple and soft.

The final GO
* Pair the macarons by size, smear a little of the ganache on the interior of the macaron and stick another macaron to this ganache. In easy term, sandwich the macarons with the chocolate ganache. And you are ready to go..


  1. wow these look first class, love macarons and of course Paris


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  3. Your macarons are amazing, and the photos are so beautiful. I came across your blog from the foodie blog roll and If you wont mind I'd love to guide Foodista readers to this post.Just add the foodista widget to the end of this post and it's all set, Thanks!

  4. Fantastic pics and wish I was there to try these macarons......aah chocolate & chillies!!!!

  5. Thanks Chow and Chatter.. Alisa and Vincent I have added the gadgets... Soon Dhana. sooon :)