Chinese New Year (Lunar New Year) is upon us. This year, it falls on 2nd February 2011 and it will be the year of Rabbit.
Chinese are fond of wealth, longetivity and happiness (in a superstitious way as well). We like to begin the new year with all the possibilities to good things and fortune. Foods served on the day or offered to God and Sprits would have some good meanings and/or names associated with lucks and wealths.
Chinese New Year is a very important event for Chinese. It's the day where family get toogether to celebrate and welcome the new year. Usually, there is a big feast full of symbolic foods. To name a few, noodles for longetivity, springroll which resembles gold bar.
The house would be thoroughly cleaned before the day to make sure the house is ready and welcome the good things into the new year. It's also the period where Chinese would take times off from work. To work on and during the Chinese New Year is considered a bad luck and that you would have to work hard for the rest of the year.
The celebrations also last for days. There would be the day you go out buying items for the celebration, the day you celebrate, pray to your ancestors, God and spirits for good lucks, and the day you would go out, have fun, take a rest and relax. I suppose traditionally, Chinese are hard-workers and the new year period is the only time of the year that they would take a rest and prepare for the new year. I suppose it similar to Christmas break for the West.
I remember when I was growing up, as a kid, I always looked forwards to the Chinese New Year. My mom would buy me new clothes to wear on the day. There would be a big gathering of the extended families at our Grandma's house and my aunties and uncles would hand out red packets with cash (Ang-Pao) to the kids. It was the hightlight of the year.
Now, I live in Australia and away from my family, I don't really celebrate Chinese New Year anymore. However, to create some Chinese New Year spirit in me, I thought about what could symbolize lucks and wealth. There were two things that came to my mind, orange and red colour. I also like to make macarons with Chinese New Year theme. So, here goes, the Orange Macarons with red colour shells.
Orange is a popular choice to offer to guests and God because its Chinese name sounds like luck and wealth. Red colour represents good luck for Chinese.
I used the orange cream filling to fill the red macarons. The orange flavour is sweet and delicate and work quite well with the macarons. I adapted the cream filling recipe from my new macaron cookbook, Secrets of Macarons.
|Auspicious Orange Macaron|
The cream filling is nice and light. However, I suggested that the filling be made a day in advance as it needs time to set properly. It won't be as solid and firm as chocolate ganache or buttercream, but it's firm enough to sandwich macaron shells together.
If you're interested...here is the recipe.
Orange Macarons with Orange Cream filling Recipe
Note: For more detailed instructions of making macarons, you can visit my I heart Macarons and Basic Macarons Recipe blogs.
make 24 3-cm macarons
Macaron shell ingredients
100 g egg white (about 3 extra large eggs, aged 24- 48 hrs in advance. Take egg white out of the fridge a couple of hours before making to bring it to room temperature)
110 g almond meal (almond powder, ground almond)
160 g pure icing sugar (powder sugar)
60 g caster sugar (fine sugar)
a pinch of red colouring powder or liquid
Orange Cream Ingredients (for macaron fillings) - make one day ahead
adapted from Secrets of Macarons by Jose Marachal
100 ml orange Juice (I used freshly squeezed orange juice)
1 tablespoon organe zest, finely grated
1 egg, extra large
4 egg yolks, extra large
35 g caster sugar
60 g butter, chopped into pieces
70 g white chocolate, chopped into pieces
yellow and red (or orange) food colouring powder/liquid
*Note that I halfed the recipe in the book and also increase butter, egg yolks and white chocolate in the recipe to help the cream setting.*
Making macaron shell
1. Sifting almond meal and icing sugar together by pushing them through a sieve. You can also grind almond meal and icing sugar together in a food processor to have finer almond meal mixture and it will be easier for sifting. However, this is not necessary.
2. If using colouring powder, mix it with caster sugar in a small bowl until you achieve the desired colour (note that the colour need to be much more intense than the desired end-result as the colour will fade once mixed with egg white and other dry ingredients)
3. Using electric mixer, beat egg white on a high speed until foamy, gradually add caster sugar, one tablespoon at a time. Continue beating the egg white until it reaches a glossy stiff peak. If using colouring liquid, put about 10 drops of red and yellow into the egg white mixture and mix on a low speed until well-combined.
4. Mix egg white into almond meal mixture. Stir quite vigourously to break the egg white into dry ingredients for the first ten stokes or so. Continue to mix the egg white with dry ingredients until well combined (try the motion of lift, fold and push the mixture to the side of mixing bowl). The mixture should be thick, glossy and well-blended. The batter will look like a very thick cake batter.
5. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a 1-cm plain nozzle (size #11).
6. Pipe mixture onto a tray lined with parchment paper or non-stick baking mat (Silpat) about one-inch in diameter and one inch apart.
7. Tap trays on a kitchen bench a few times to flatten the piped macarons and remove the air bubbles.
8. Leave the piped shell uncovered at room temperature for 30-60 mins until you can touch the shell without them sticking to your fingers.
9. Preheat the oven to 160c/180c (convection/conventional) about 15 mins before baking.
10. Reduce the temperature to 140c/160c (convection/conventional) and bake macarons for about 13-15 mins. Baking time will depend on the macaron size.
11. Remove baking trays from oven. Remove macarons from the tray and put them on cooling racks. You may need a serrated knife to help removing macarons. Spraying a little water onto the hot tray underneath the paper also help releasing macarons (the steam gives that magic releasing power).
|I have found palette knife does a perfect job for removing macarons|
12. Once they're completely cool, sandwich two shells together with chocolate ganache. Keep the macarons in a covered container in the fridge. They can be kept upto 5 days (but it will become chewy after 3 days). Macarons taste better after they have been chilled for at least 12 hours. Filled macarons can also be frozen.
Making Orange Cream
1. Heat the orange juice in a saucepan, over low heat.
|I used freshly squeezed orange juice|
2. Beat the eggs and egg yolks vigorously with the caster sugar in a mixing bowl until it's pale and creamy.
3. Pour the hot orange juice over the egg mixture and mix well. Return the mixture into the saucepan and cook over a low heat until it is thickened, stirring continuously for about 3-4 minutes.
4. Remove from the heat and incorporate the butter and the white chocolate. Mix well until the mixture is smooth.
5. Store the mixture in an airtight container and keep it chilled until ready to use.
Gong Xi Fa Cai! Happy Chinese New Year to all.
|Have few bites of good lucks and weatlhs for Chinese New Year|