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Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Little Diva (not me, it's Macaron) went to Bangkok!

I had an impromptu short trip to Bangkok last month. My sister had a promotional ticket through Royal Orchid Plus at a half price. I only bought ticket a month before the trip and stayed in Bangkok for few weeks (I also went to Macau and Hong Kong for five days during that time, which I’m hoping to write a post about it).

My family and friends in Bangkok regularly asked me to bring back me-made macarons. These little beauties are so tempting that they so want to try. Macaron fever is slowing catching on in Thailand. They are more likely to be found in luxury hotels’ and/or high-end bakeries/cafes.  I had some macarons from Plaza Athenee Hotel while I was there. Umm, let me say they were far, far from good.

Macarons from The Plaza Athenee

I had few weeks to make macarons before the trip. I made one batch (with one or two flavours) every week and freeze them (minus my and S’ consumption). So, I ended up with six flavours to take back to Bangkok; chocolate peanut butter, cumquat, green tea, cherry, lemon and raspberry macarons.

Macarons freeze well. There are little, if any, degradations provided that they are defrosted properly. Some macaron flavours/fillings also freeze better than others (chocolate ganache and almond/nut butter in particular).

Yes, in general, they freeze well. However, in this case, I was taking them across two continents, travelled over 7,000 kilometres to get from Melbourne to Bangkok. They went across two climate zones with temperature fluctuations in between; from –18c in the freezer to 11c ambient temperature in Melbourne and to 32C (with high humidity) in Bangkok. Those poor macarons had been through a lot before they were presented to my family and friends. Anyhow, they still tasted great (though some of them were a bit soft and too moist as a result of condensation). They received lots of praises from the eaters. It was also wonderful to share these heavenly morsels with others.  

Note to self:
If I am to take macarons to travel long distance again, I would make ones with chocolate ganache or butter-based fillings. It would be less prone to condensation.

After the long trip, the little diva (mon macarons) needs a good rest in the freezer to firm up before consumption. The hot and humid weather in Bangkok did some damages to the little beauties.

All in all, it works quite well. Not that macarons enjoyed the long distance travel but they coped relatively well.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Pear Danish - fruits for breakfast, check!

Pear has been in full season for few months and I have been having them in many different forms; fresh, poached and baked, in many different dishes; pancake, salad, cakes…and today, with Danish. I love cooking with seasonal produces. Not only that they taste better, they are also more economical and take less food miles to get to my plate.

These danishes were made using the croissant dough with natural starter. It can also be made with any croissant/laminated dough of your choice. The pastry was filled with crème patiserrie (pastry crème) and top with poached pears. I roughly followed the recipe from Bourke Street Bakery cookbook. I changed the recipe slightly by using my own poached pear recipe and different croissant dough.

It was the first time I made Danish. At first, the shaping was a little challenge. They kept springing back and shrinking. I finally got the hang of it after few tries.

These Danishes were heavenly, seriously good. They were moist, buttery and flavoursome. Crème patisserie and poached pears added dimensions and flavours to the pastry. They were perfect for breakfast and/or afternoon tea.  It didn’t make us feel so bad to have buttery pastry for breakfast, given that there were some small pieces of fruits on them J. Well, at least, we had fruits for breakfast.