Saturday, 21 April 2012


Real Pineapply Macarons
How do you get real pineapples in macaron shells?
You know how you see macaron recipes all over the place that purport to be "Raspberry" or "Strawberry" or "Pineapple" when in fact there isn't any such fruit in the macaron shells?  Don't you just hate that?  

Often, people mimic the colour of the fruit with vivid food colouring, which is gorgeous but doesn't do much for the flavour.  They sometimes use extracts either in the shells or the filling.  More often than not, the fruit flavour is infused in the filling through either jams, jellies or actual pieces of fruit sandwiched between the shells.

dust finely ground freeze-dried pineapple on the shells immediately after you pipe them
When I want intense real fruit flavour, I go for the real thing.  I get me some freeze-dried fruit and buzz it up in my Bullet.  The finely ground powder then is incorporated into the almond/sugar mixture.  I even sprinkle the fruit powder onto the shells before they dry.   I am always happy with the honest flavour of the powdered fruit.  

Since discovering the freeze-dried pineapples, strawberries and mango from Mrs. May's, I've been experimenting with the ground fruit in my macaron shells.  I don't think I want to ever go back to the fake flavours of extracts and food colouring.  The muted pastel shades that the real fruit yield is fine with me because the flavour more than makes up for the lack of vividness.  Besides, macarons are beautiful anyway.

 intense pineapple flavour, with no artificial flavours
This recipe has been my hero.  It's easy, not wasteful at all and quick to pull together.  There's no aging of whites on the counter, no separating of yolks from whites and I haven't had a failed bunch yet [knock on wood].

I'm Costco-dependent.  Almost all the ingredients are from Costco.  I buy the huge bag of blanched sliced almonds there (and freeze the bag until I need it).  I also found the freeze-dried fruit and the confectioners' sugar there.  The egg-whites come in a pack of 3-cartons and even the unsalted butter for the SMB is from Costco.  I like how I don't have to worry about all those leftover yolks.   I just use the SMB recipe for the filling because it also requires egg whites.    

You can find Meringue Powder from Wilton (I get mind at Michaels).


an original recipe by Cakebrain
  • 145 grams egg whites at room temperature [I used pasteurized egg whites from a carton]
  • 2 tsp meringue powder 
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 15 grams finely ground freeze dried pineapples, plus extra for sprinkling on shells if desired
  • 115 grams ground almonds [I purchase sliced almonds from Costco and grind them down in the food processor]
  • 230 grams confectioners' sugar
  • 75 grams granulated vanilla sugar
  1. Prepare the baking pans by lining with parchment paper.
  2. Prepare your piping bag with a large round tip.
  3. Process the almonds, confectioners' sugar and freeze dried pineapples until thoroughly combined and finely ground.   Continue to pulse until all lumps are gone.  If there are small lumps, you may sift to ensure fineness of the mixture.
  4. In a stand mixer, whisk the egg whites until foamy, about 2 minutes.  Add the cream of tartar.  Continue whisking on medium speed for 2 more minutes.  Gradually add the granulated sugar while whisking on high for another 3-4 minutes, or until the egg whites are very stiff.
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the egg whites, and with a rubber spatula, deflate the whites while mixing.  Combine the ingredients thoroughly and watch carefully, lifting the mixture with the spatula to see if it leaves ribbons.  Stop mixing before the mixture becomes runny.    Test by seeing if the batter is lava-like.  It should not maintain its lines but sink slowly back into itself in about 10 seconds.
  6. Transfer half the batter to the piping bag and pipe the macaroons onto the parchment, allowing for spreading.
  7. Rap the tray a few times on your counter to ensure bubbles are eradicated  
  8. Continue filling bag and piping macaron shells until all the batter is used.
  9. Sprinkle extra ground pineapple on the macaron shells.
  10. Preheat the oven to 315 degrees F.  Allow the macaron shells to dry, about 20-30 minutes.  If you touch the surface, it should not be sticky.  Continue to dry if it is sticky.  
  11. Place one tray on the centre rack and bake for 10-12 minutes (depending on the size of the macarons).  Turn the tray from back to front halfway through.
  12. Allow macaroons to cool completely before filling.  Remove from parchment carefully.
  13. Pipe Swiss Meringue Buttercream on a macaron shell, find a similar sized shell and sandwich it.  Store the macarons in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to serve.  Best served at room temperature.  You can freeze the shells or the prepared macarons in an airtight container.
(from Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes; makes about 5 cups)

  • 5 large egg whites
  • 1 cup plus 2 T sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons, room temperature
  • 1 vanilla bean, insides scraped (and save the pod for vanilla sugar!) or 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  1. Combine egg whites, sugar and salt in the heatproof bowl of a standing mixer set over a pan of simmering water. Whisk constantly by hand until mixture is warm to the touch and sugar has dissolved (the mixture should feel completely smooth when rubbed between your fingertips).
  2. Attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Starting on low and gradually increasing to medium-high speed, whisk until stiff (but not dry) peaks form. Continue mixing until the mixture is fluffy and glossy, and completely cool (test by touching the bottom of the bowl), about 10 minutes.
  3. With mixer on medium-low speed, add the butter a few tablespoons at a time, mixing well after each addition. Once all butter has been added, whisk in vanilla. Switch to the paddle attachment, and continue beating on low speed until all air bubbles are eliminated, about 2 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl with a flexible spatula, and continue beating until the frosting is completely smooth. Keep buttercream at room temperature if using the same day, or transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate up to 3 days or freeze up to 1 month. Before using, bring to room temperature and beat with paddle attachment on low speed until smooth again, about 5 minutes.
  4. (optional) To tint buttercream, reserve some for toning down the color, if necessary. Add gel-paste food color, a drop at a time (or use the toothpick or skewer to add food color a dab at a time) to the remaining buttercream. You can use a single shade of food color or experiment by mixing two or more. Blend after each addition with the mixer (use the paddle attachment) or a flexible spatula, until desired shade is achieved. Avoid adding too much food color too son, as the hue with intensify with continued stirring; if necessary, you can tone down the shade by mixing in some reserved untinted buttercream.


thelittleloaf said...

You're so right - sometimes macarons purport to be a certain flavour and actually they're mostly just food colouring and a little flavoured filling! I love using freeze dried berries but have never bought pineapple before - think I need to try it soon!

AnnaBeL said...

Delicious looking macarons! I have used your macaron recipe in the past and it came out beautifully. The one step I have problems with is processing my almond meal. I buy blanched and slivered almonds at Trader Joe's and then process it myself in my food processor. The sliced almonds that you bought at Costco, was the skin removed? I have been trying to find a more economical way of purchasing shelled almonds but to no avail so far.

Cakebrain said...

Hi Little Loaf!
Yeah, macaron shells are notorious for having blah flavour and the party's in the filling! Hope you try it soon!
thanks! I'm so glad you're realizing success with my recipes. I always wonder about that...
I buy the sliced blanched almonds at Costco. I combine the almonds with the confectioners' sugar in the food processor and buzz that up until it is finely ground. The dry sugar helps you get a finer powder. Way more economical to grind your own almonds. You're halfway there with slivered almonds. As well, I store mine in the freezer and that gives the almonds a head start in the food processor (without getting heated up and turning into almond butter). So yes, get them with the skins removed.

Anne@FromMySweetHeart said...

These are absolutely beautiful! I have egg whites sitting in my fridge and I'm wanting to make another batch of macarons. And I'm looking for some new inspiration! I have most definitely found it here! I love that you added the pineapple flavor in the shells! I recently worked with ground dried mandarin oranges. But never thought to add them to the shells until now! Beautiful macarons (as are your strawberry and cream versions)! Glad to have found this site. I'm a new fan! : )

Cakebrain said...

Where did you get dried mandarin oranges? I've never ever seen those! Sounds yummy! Hope to see a post on those soon!

Anonymous said...

Hey, those macs are sure gorgeous !!

Just a question, though... about the meringue powder... What if you skip it ? What exactly is that anyway...

I am in Hong Kong now and all the baking supplies stores... well, let's say they don't necessary give me what I was used to (and took for granted) in Vancouver...

They sell a lot of mysterious packages of XYZ Powder which they purchased in bulk, and then subdivide into small packages... ingredient labeling is unreliable... So I try my best to avoid them... I've seen "Macaron Powder"... which you just add water... and I don't feel so comfortable with that...

So if I can get a close enough result without the MP, I would prefer to... Please shed some light !! Cheers, Anne

Cakebrain said...

I'm no expert with macaron powder. As I understand it, it's what the professional kitchens use. On the other hand, Meringue Powder I buy is just powdered egg whites with some stabilizer in it. I think if you're going to go the fresh egg white route, it'll be easier. Just use another recipe on my site that uses real eggs. Separate the yolks from the whites and you're good to go. The only reason I use meringue powder and cream of tartar is because I'm using pasteurized egg whites from a carton.

If you use real eggs, you avoid the problem of having to ensure that the egg whites have enough protein in them and are stable enough to maintain their structure.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the reply !! I googled to see if I can replace the MP with fresh whites...and the proportion seeems to be 2 teaspoon MP + 2Tbsp = 1 white...

I guess this recipe is kind of like having an extra white without the moisture ? like more "concentrated" protein ? It will be interesting to test it out with just an extra white...

On the other hand, I will first try out your recipe with real egg whites (You mean the black sesame one without the black sesame, is that right ?) Hopefully that will give me good results... since over here I haven't see pasteurized egg whites nor meringue powder... but I have eggs aplenty !!

Thanks for the tips... and I thoroughly enjoy your lovely blog !! Makes me miss Vancouver, too... Cheers, Anne

Connie the Cookie Monster said...

yenno what's shocking? i had my first real macarons at thierry just 2 days ago! i tried macarons the actual first time at society (the restaurant) but they were terrible! the ones at thierry were chewy and sooo delicious, just as a macaron should be

Unknown said...

Wow. It's amazing that you managed to actually incorporate the flavors into the macaron itself. I think people don't experiment much because of the 'difficult' rap its got. These look amazing!

Cakebrain said...

I am so glad you were able to eat a decent macaron! If you were my neighbour, you'd be getting quite a few!
thanks! I think that the macaron myth is deflated. If I can make them with pasteurized egg whites or regular eggwhites, then anyone can!

Becca said...

I'm so happy I found this recipe! I made my first batch of macarons the other day, and they actually turned out. But more importantly, I love knowing that there is potential to make flavored shells as opposed to just fillings, because I love to experiment with flavors.

Cakebrain said...

so glad you had macarons turn out! yay! cause for celebration and eating lots of macarons! yes, I've seen many different freeze-dried fruits that are making my mind churn with creativity...

B said...

oh I LOVE Freeze As! I tried them in my macarons for the first time late last year and yummO! I can definitely share your excitement of using a complete natural product. I'm a bit of a macaroniac myself =P



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