Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Macarons in Singapore: Adding an Asian Edge to a French Confection (Guest Post by Mac Woo of Obolo)

Macarons took the world by storm and it wasn't too long before you could find these delightful French macarons in Singapore. These colorful little confectioneries are a treat to both the eyes and the taste-buds and it's no wonder that they have become the favorites of many Singaporeans.
Not everyone has the patience required to consistently turn out perfectly formed well baked macaron. Many have tried, and given up because of the complexity involved. It is probably the biggest reason why people prefer to buy these confections as opposed to making it themselves. It's also a delicate art to adapt a French delicacy to suit Asian taste buds. The French like their macarons as sweet as they can get. Asians on the other hand prefer an experience that caters to all their taste-buds rather than just their sweet tooth.
It's interesting to see how the macaron has developed in Singapore. Local pastry chefs have realized that traditional macarons may be too sweet for the discerning Singaporean palate and have quickly begun to incorporate local flavors into the macaron to make them more palatable. If you would like to try your hand at making these French delicacies, below is a simple recipe you can try at home.

French Macaron
3 whites of medium sized eggs
1/4 cup granulated white sugar
1 2/3 cups castor or powdered sugar
1 cup almond meal (finely ground almonds)


1)  Line a silicone mat or a baking sheet with butter paper. For those first timers in baking macarons, draw circles of desired width (usually 1 1/2 inches diameter) onto the butter paper to guide you while you are piping the batter).

2) Beat the egg whites in a large bowl with a stand mixer (using a whisk attachment). You can also beat the whites with a hand held beater, but this will require patience as it will take a while. Beat until whites look foamy and form soft peaks. Slowly add in granulated sugar, a tablespoon at a time and continue to beat until the mixture is glossy and fluffy, and holds soft peaks.

3) In another, separate bowl, sift the powdered sugar with the almond meal. With a spatula, begin to fold the almond mixture into the egg white mixture. Do not beat but use about 30 strokes to blend the almond mixture with the egg mixture.

4) Place a plastic bag or a piping bag into a cup. Spoon a small amount of the prepared into this. If using a plastic bag, cut off a small corner. Using this, pipe disks of the batter onto the butter paper you have prepared. The batter should flatten immediately. If it holds a peak, fold the batter gently with a few more strokes and then try again.

5) Continue to pipe the disks onto the butter paper, making sure you leave enough space in between the disks. Let the piped disks stand out of the oven, at room temperature. Once they have formed a skin on top, they will be ready to be baked. It should take about 1 hour to form a hard skin, depending on the climate.

6) Preheat oven to 140 degrees Celsius or 285 degrees Fahrenheit.

7) Now bake disks until set. Make sure they don't brown. It should take around 10 minutes; let the macarons cool completely before assembling.

8) You can use different fillings for the macarons, including jam, ganache, and buttercream.

9) For colored or flavored macarons, use gel food colors or flavors, and incorporate when folding in almond meal. Make sure you don't use too much or it will upset the balance of ingredients and your macarons will not bake well.

With flavors like Elderflower Blossom, Rose and Durian, it's not difficult to imagine the delight each bite brings. The introduction of macarons in Asia has taken the taste to a whole new level and across Singapore and the rest of Asia, pastry chefs are busy experimenting with local flavours to see which will work. This means that new flavors are regularly being added to recipes and menus, much to the surprise and delight of macaron aficionados.

You can choose from Obolo’s wide variety of macaron flavours for your palette-- Obolo macarons fulfills every taste craving imaginable. From their basic Rose, Raspberry, Pistache, Cassis, Ruby, Sakura, and Fraise, to flavours that chocolate lovers will enjoy like the Bittersweet Chocolate, Salted Caramel Chocolate, Hazelnut Chocolate, Milk Choc Macadamia and Earl Grey Milk Chocolate. For their 2012/2013 collection, Obolo offered Singapore's 1st ever alcoholic macarons with 4 different flavours: The Aged Rum Vanille, Mocha Kahlua, Choc Whiskey, and Orange Cognac. Other flavours are Mango Passion and Champagne.

obolo 1 photo ObolosMacarons2_zpsce3a6b07.jpg
Macaron flavours from front to back: Rose, Mango Passion, Pistachio, Cassis, Ruby & Bittersweet Chocolate

obolo 2 photo ObolosMacarons3_zpsf97f821d.jpg
Macaron flavours from top left: Mocha Kahlua, Aged Rum Vanille, Chocolate Whisky, and Champagne

Many wrote macarons off as a fad but they seem to be growing and thriving. The Singaporeans love for beauty and taste have made these little confections indispensable at high - end parties , birthdays and even weddings. The fact that pastry chefs are making an effort to blend local flavours into this French delight is a clear indication that the macaron is here to stay.


Author’s Bio:
Mac Woo is the chef-owner of Obolo Bakeshop: one of Singapore’s leading patisseries cafe, handcrafting its award-winning cheesecakes and macarons in Singapore..  Along with June Lee; these two aspiring architects turned self-taught pastry chefs, started this 100% home-grown brand in 2004; infusing their design training into creating exciting and innovative flavors.




El said...

The macarons look wonderful. Thanks for sharing!

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