Lime & Yoghurt Ganache

In London last year, I discovered that I did like macarons after all. This is the magic of Pierre Hermé! I bought just two macarons the first time, a lime & yoghurt velouté and an ispahan. Just a couple of minutes after leaving the shop I dragged my poor mum back to get more! My favourite was the velouté range which featured a yoghurt filling in various fruit flavours.

I wanted to recreate the yoghurt filling, so here’s my take on it. I think it comes pretty close, but quite honestly, it’s been so long since I had Pierre Hermé’s that I can’t quite remember what it really tasted like anymore! But the yoghurt flavour does come through well and the lime juice and zest makes it nice and tart, so for me, it’s close enough!

Lime & Yoghurt Ganache

200g white chocolate (good quality, otherwise the ganache will not set)
180g whole milk yoghurt
20g lime juice
zest from 2 lemons

Melt the white chocolate over a double boiler. In another pot, bring the yoghurt and juice to a boil (don’t overcook otherwise the yoghurt might split; it’s ok if it splits slightly though). Add the yoghurt to the white chocolate in 2 additions, then add the zest. Cool over an icebath until it reaches room temperature, then pour into a shallow dish and cover with clingfilm; the clingfilm should touch the surface of the ganache. Place in the fridge to thicken, best overnight.

Black Sesame Macarons

More macarons! This time I replaced the cocoa powder with black sesame, and filled it with a black sesame-white chocolate whipped ganache. I used the same recipe as my chocolate macarons, but replaced the cocoa powder with an equal weight of ground sesame seeds, which I whizzed in my blender and sieved.. a highly tedious task! The flavour was good, although, as in the case with most macarons, I found them way too sweet! The filling is a whipped white chocolate ganache flavoured with more ground sesame seeds. I accidentally overwhipped the ganache so it split a little bit. Oh well, it still tastes good!

Chocolate Macarons

Finally, finally I’ve conquered the french macaron! All of them had feet, no cracks and shiny tops- yahooo! As Malaysia is extremely humid- more so now that it’s the rainy season, I had to take lots of precautions to ensure that the feet form. Macarons are notorious for misbehaving in humid environments!

Firstly, I age the egg whites for at least a day to dry it out and increase its acidity. This step is essential regardless of the humidity as aged egg whites are much more stable than fresh ones.

Secondly, I switched on the airconditioning for at least half an hour before I start baking. This nippy environment is much more friendly for macarons, and will help the “skin” form properly before baking.

Thirdly, I let the piped macarons rest on the baking sheet for an hour to properly dry it out. Recipes usually state a rest period of 30 minutes, but that’s hardly enough for KL where it’s so muggy. I baked one macaron after a 45 minute rest just as a tester, and it cracked on top, so it definitely needs at least an hour- don’t skimp on the wait time, otherwise your efforts will be wasted and you’ll have lots of cracked macarons!

Fourthly, I baked one tray at a time.. I’m not sure if this helps but it doesn’t hurt either. Anyway, the bake time is short (15 minutes per tray) so the other tray would just have a slightly longer rest period.

The basic recipe is:

  • 3 egg whites
  • 110g ground almonds
  • 170g icing sugar
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 2T cocoa powder

1. Sift the almonds, icing sugar and cocoa powder together, then blitz them in a food processor or blender until fine. Don’t blend for too long, the almond will become oily.

2. Whisk the egg whites in a very, very clean bowl. When it’s foamy, slowly add the caster sugar in. Beat until stiff, be careful not to overbeat it!

3. Sift the almond mixture over the stiff meringue and use a spatula to fold it it. The mixture will be quite hard initially but it will become more viscuous after several folds. Don’t worry, the meringue is meant to deflate quite a lot. The mixture is ready when it “flows like magma”.

4. Pipe 1.5″ circles on two baking sheets lined with parchment paper or a Silpat. Pipe them an inch apart. I drew a template on a large piece of paper and placed them under the parchment paper as guidance.

5. Let the piped batter rest for an hour in an air-conditioned room.

6. Bake for 15 minutes at 150C. Don’t forget to rotate the pan halfway.