I love baking for other people. I love knowing that something that I have made with my own two hands has brought a smile to someones face and a happy moment to their day.
But I also like these moments of giving baked goods to be spontaneous, because up to this point in my life I only bake when I am in the mood or I randomly change the path of what the end result will be mid way through the baking process. So while I would love to bake on commission and take orders for cakes and things, I am always hesitant to do so. I have yet to have an actual bad experience with baking on commission, but since I bake to make myself and the people around me happy, I live in fear of the promise of cake that never works out.
A couple weeks ago a friend of mine told me how much her coworker loved the pictures of all my cakes and how she was really hoping that she could order some macarons for when her family came to town. I was hesitant to say yes (why are all of my commission baking experiences always so close to when I move to another country?!) but I did, and after some texting back and forth we decided on the flavors and prices.
I hate bartering for things. I should probably never go to a street market alone because I always trust people to tell me the price they are looking for–and for that to be a fair price. I also don’t bake on commission a lot or have set prices worked out for my baked goods, so its fair to say that I stewed over this for a day or two.
Anyway. I must say, I was slightly disappointed when the customer said she wanted raspberry macarons and milk chocolate macarons. I mean, I’ve tackled those flavors before–and I was offering so many other exciting flavors (which I wanted to try out). But what the client wants, the client gets. So I tried to find a way to make simple flavors while still adding in the element of creativity for my own sake.
And let me tell you. It was worth it. Hands down these Raspberry Macarons are my favorite of all the macarons I have made so far. There is something about them that is delicate and bursting with flavor even while remaining relatively simple and streamlined. So in the end I guess it is good to have other people to push you to do things you might not originally do, because it allows you to add your own personality while still staying within the guidelines.
I think that may have just defined my personality–outside of the box while still following the rules. 😛
What you can see from the picture above is that these Raspberry Macarons are actually a triple threat of raspberry–starting with raspberry macaron shells then filled with a ring of raspberry buttercream and a dollop of raspberry lemon curd. Partially just for decoration and partially to cover up and mask any imperfections in the macaron shells, I drizzled on white chocolate and sprinkled crushed freeze dried raspberries on the tops. If your macaron shells are flawless or if you are going for a homemade/rustic look, by all means, leave off any decoration. But especially if these are being given as a gift or if you want to wow friends or family members, it takes only a small amount of time and barely any extra ingredients in order to make this magical look come to life.
One last thing I wanted to mention before I get to the recipe is that I was initially worried about the ration of curd to buttercream to shell. I initially thought about having some shells filled with curd and others filled with buttercream. But in actuality, the combination is perfect flavor wise and also because the curd is rather thin, and the buttercream is the perfect barrier. It is also good to refrigerate these macarons for several hours before serving them, so that all the elements sort of join together–because even though they are delicious right away, the curd was way too excited and squished past the buttercream border when I took a bite–something that didn’t happen once it was refrigerated.
Raspberry Macaron Recipe
makes about 3-4 dozen macarons, depending on how big you pipe the shells
Raspberry Shell Ingredients:
**This is based off of the ratio for the chocolate macaron shells in the Laduree Cookbook, and I independently decided to swap the cocoa powder for raspberry powder and omit the melted chocolate. It turned out great.
Almond flour 260g
Powdered sugar 250g
20g freeze dried raspberries, powdered and sifted to remove seeds
6 egg whites, room temperature (save the yolks for the curd!!!)
1. Pulse the almond flour, powdered sugar and raspberry powder in a food processor until it is combined and finely ground.
2. In a clean stand mixer, whip the egg whites until foam begins to form. Add 1/3 of the sugar and beat for 1 minute until the sugar is combined, then continue adding additions of sugar and beating to combine. You are looking for stiff peaks to form and for the mixture to become glossy.
3. Add in the almond mixture and carefully fold it in with a spatula.
4. Put the batter into a pastry bag/piping bag and pipe 3-4cm circles onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Let the macarons rest for 30 minutes uncovered at room temperature before baking at 150C/300F for 14-15 minutes.
5. Let the macarons rest on the sheet until completely cooled then carefully remove them from the tray. (The Korean text is much longer because the actual recipe tells you to do this trick with putting water under the parchment paper, but I didn’t do that and they turned out just fine).
Raspberry Buttercream Ingredients:
1 cup butter, room temperature
~4 cups powdered sugar
~1/4 cup freeze dried raspberries, powdered in a food processor
1. Beat the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer for about 5 minutes, or until completely smooth and fluffier.
2. Add in one cup of powdered sugar and beat for about 2 minutes, until it is completely combined. Add in the dried raspberries and beat again.
3. Continue adding in the powdered sugar about one cup at a time until you have reached the desired consistency. You are looking for something on the stiffer side as it is going to act as a barrier for the curd in the macarons, but you still want it to be easily pipe-able.
Raspberry Lemon Curd Ingredients:
Martha Stewart’s recipe
***Can be made up to two weeks ahead of time if it is stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator!
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1/4 cup lemon juice
8 egg yolks (use the yolks from the eggs used in the macaron shells!!)
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter
1 cup raspberries
1. In a small saucepan, off heat, whisk the sugar, zest, and yolks together, then whisk in the lemon juice and salt.
2. Add the butter to the pan and place it over medium high heat, whisking constantly until the butter has melted and the mixture coats the back of a spoon. This will take about 5-10 minutes–just make sure not to let the mixture boil!
3. Remove the pan from heat while continuing to whisk it, and pour the curd through a fine mesh sieve and into a separate bowl. Press plastic wrap against the surface of the curd and place it in the refrigerator to cool. (At least one hour).
4. In a blender, puree the raspberries. Strain through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl, discarding the seeds.
5. Take the cooled curd and mix in the raspberry puree. ***I mixed the raspberries with only half of the curd, for a stronger flavor and because I did not need that much curd. This way I had left over curd in both lemon and raspberry flavors to use in other things.
Match up pairs of like-sized macaron shells, then flip one over and pipe a ring of buttercream around the edge. Pipe or spoon a dollop of curd inside the ring, then sandwich the remaining shell on the top. You can also drizzle white chocolate and raspberry powder on top of one or both shells, before or after they are filled, though I would recommend before.