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Sunday, April 10, 2011

Blueberry Cheesecake Macarons - two of the things I love in one bite



I love cheesecake or the cream cheese in particular. It used to be my dessert of choice. If I had to name my own poison, it was always the cheesecake on the top of my mind.

That was before I met the new love of my life, macaron. Don’t get me wrong, I still love cheesecake or cream cheese and its unique creamy and sour flavour combinations. Wouldn’t it be nice if I can combine my two greatest beloved food items into one? Cheesecake macarons sound like a fabulous idea, for me

Personally, I think cream cheese by itself is a little lacking, so a flavoured cheesecake macaron was in the agenda. When it comes to cheesecake, one flavour that comes to my mind is blueberry cheesecake. Blueberry cheesecake is (or was, I’m not sure given that I have left Thailand for over a decade now) a popular dessert in Thailand for both home-made and shop-bought. I suppose it is easy to make at home with limited equipment. It’s the kind of cheesecake that doesn’t require baking and most homes in Thailand don’t have ovens. And of course, it is popular because it tastes good.  

I recently bought a book called Flavour Thesaurus. It’s about flavour pairings. It’s an interesting book and makes me look at some of the ingredients differently and more creatively. What the book said about blueberry was that blueberry on its own was bland, sort of flavourless. However, when it paired with lemon, it created spectacular flavour. It is something never occurred to me before and it is so true. It also got me thinking that maybe this is why blueberry is so well-matched with cream cheese. It seems that blueberry needs acidity to help it shines.


I made the blueberry cream cheese filling as I would do with cheesecake filling, a mixture of whipped cream, cream cheese and blueberry jam (in this case a reduced blueberry cooked with sugar and lemon juice). To match the colour of blueberry, the shell needs to be purple, a challenging colour to mix for macaron shells. When I made the lavender macarons and wished to get pale purple colour, I ended up with blue (purple = red + blue). A word of caution, be easy with blue colouring, a little of it goes a long long way. It is a good idea to start with red colour first and gradually add small amount of blue at a time until you achieve the purple colour.

This flavour doesn’t disappoint. Almond meringue shell makes a perfect base for cheesecake filling. The moisture and tang of cheesecake filling works really well with the sweet macaron shell. It is one of my favourite macaron flavour, it’s no surprise there...it’s the two most-loved food items for me, cheesecake and macaron. Nothing can’t go wrong!

Here is the recipe….

Blueberry Cheesecake Macaron Recipe

Makes 25 3-cm macarons

More details on Basic Mararons using Italian Meringue techniques can be found here.

You can also see more detailed intructions on making macarons in my
Basic Macaron Recipe and I heart Macarons blogs (however, they are recipes using French meringue method. Most of the processes are similar between Italian’s and French’s. The only difference is the handling of sugar and egg white).

Macarons shell ingredients
125 g pure icing sugar
125 g almond meal (almond flour or ground almond)
100 g egg whites (separated 24 -48 hours in advance and is at room temperature)
125 g caster sugar (super fine sugar)
30 ml water (2 tablespoons)
red and blue or purple colouring powder or liquid

Blueberry Cheesecake filling
100 g Blueberry, fresh or frozen is fine
100 g cream cheese
100 g thickened cream (minimum 35% fat content)
50 g caster sugar (super fine sugar)
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 small sheet gelatine or half of big gelatine sheet
 
Making macarons shells
 
Sift almond meal and icing sugar together through fine sieve and set aside.

Divide egg whites into two equal portions (50 g each portion).  Put one egg white portion (50 g) into a bowl and mix in red and blue (or purple) colouring powder or liquid until you achieve the desired colour. Start with red colour first and gradually (seriously gradually) add blue colour into the mixture until you get an intense violet colour. The colour will be substantially diluted once it is mixed into the macaron batch.


Top: colour of the egg white. Bottom: how blue can really stick and stuck!

Pour the coloured egg white into the almond meal/icing sugar mixture.  Don’t mix or stir them, just leave it as is.

Put the water and caster sugar in a heavy-base saucepan over medium-high heat. When the syrup starts to boil. Place the rest of egg white (50 g) into a mixing bowl, using the whip attachment, whip egg white to the soft peak. When the syrup reaches 118°C (on a thermometer), take if off the heat and let it cool down to 115°C (or until the bubbles slightly subside).

While the mixer is still running, slowly pour the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl. Be careful not to pour syrup onto the whip as it might spatter.

Continue mixing until the meringue cool down to slightly above body temperature (50°C) or when the side of the mixing bowl is just warm to touch. The whipped egg white will be (very) stiff and glossy.

Mix a third of whipped egg white into the almond meal mixture and combine them well. At this step, I work the mixture very vigorously to blend the egg white with almond meal mixture. Fold the rest of whipped egg white into the mixture and mix well, yet gently, until the batter is smooth. The batter will be thick. It resembles a very thick cake batter, or as many web sites describe it as a magma-like consistency (I believe it means the thick batter would flow slowly like a magma).

Put the mixture into a piping bag fitted with 1-cm plain tip (size #11). Pipe the staggering rows of 1-inch rounds onto baking trays lined with parchment papers or baking sheets. You will need two trays for this recipe.



Let the piped shells stand at room temperature for 30 – 60 minutes to let the crust forms. This depends on the room temperature and humidity. When the piped shells are dry to touch without it sticking to your finger, they are good to go into the oven.
Preheat the oven to 160°C (fan-forced or convection oven, increase the temperature by 20°C if you’re using conventional oven) for at least 15 minutes. Just before baking, turn the temperature down to 150°C and bake the macarons for 15 minutes.

Lift the baking papers/sheets off the baking tray to the cooling rack and let it completely cool down before removing macarons (it is easier to remove cool macarons off the sheet. They are also less likely to stick to the paper).



Sandwich cool macaron shell with chilled blueberry cheesecake filling.

Store macarons in airtight container in the fridge. Macarons will taste better after they are chilled overnight as the filling flavour will blend in and shells will be less dry.

Soak the gelatine sheet in cold water (make sure that all part of the sheet is hydrated).


Making  Blueberry Cheesecake Filling
Put blueberry, sugar and lemon juice in a small heavy-base saucepan over medium heat. Bring it the boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Squeeze the water out of the gelatine sheet and dissolve it in the blueberry mixture. Set aside.
Using electric mixer, whip the thickened cream to a whipped cream texture. Set aside in a bowl and chill until ready to use.

 

Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese until fluffy (using medium high speed for about few minutes). Pour cool blueberry mixture into the cream cheese and mix until thoroughly combined. Fold in whipped cream and mix until well-incorporated.

Chill the filling about 30 minutes before using.

Two of my greatest love in one bite!
Submitting this post to Weekend Herb Blogging hosted by Rachel from The Crispy Cook.

10 comments:

  1. What a glorious submission to Weekend Herb Blogging! These are stunning and I love that they are naturally gluten-free!

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  2. hi
    you are awsome, so yummy looking macarons indeed you are an inspiration to novice bakers who lack courage and recipe. you are providing both, thank you

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  3. Thank you, Rachel. One of the great things about macarons is gluten-free, even the icing sugar is pure icing sugar, no corn starch.

    It is a pleasure participating WHB too. Your blog is gorgeous:)

    Sue

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  4. Thank you for the lovely comment. Love to inspire as much as being inpired:)

    Sue

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  5. Hellooo Sue! Missed me? lol
    Blogspot got banned in Turkey a (big) while ago so..I've only managed to change my dns settings to be able to get back to blogspot :D (I was checking your blog via vtunnel but that thing didn't let me comment :/ )
    So you made all my favorite things into a macaron huh? hehe Blueberry is my favorite fruit, and I make cheesecakes ALL THE TİME..(I'm going to bake mom a oreo&fudge cheesecake topped with a giant version of Laduree's barquettes, and I'm also baking my own birthday cake(cheesecake!) a 'Pate de Speculoos' Cheesecake with a macaron tower atop(truffle underneath)..and you already know about my love of macarons!!
    Anyway I'm being so gaga! haha

    tty again soon
    Ceren

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  6. Hi Ceren....long time no hear....I've been missing you:)

    I'm sold with your oreo cheesecake and barquettes, sounds really yummy.

    Baking cake with macaron tower on top is on my to-try list....hopefully, will get to it some day:)

    Glad to see you're back, ...xx

    Sue

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  7. Thanks again for a lovely entry to WHB this week. The roundup post is now live.

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  8. Thank you Rachel.

    Thanks again for hosting WHB this week.

    Sue

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  9. What a wonderful macaron combination. I made them once, but a bit too sweet for my taste. Your cheesecake filling would probably overcome that however.

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  10. Thank you Claudia. I think slight tart and delicate filling works well with macarons. It helps to cut through the sweetness of the shells.

    Cheers, Sue

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