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Real Pineapply Macarons
How do you get real pineapples in macaron shells?
You know how you see macaron recipes all over the place that purport to be “Raspberry” or “Strawberry” or “Pineapple” when in fact there isn’t any such fruit in the macaron shells?  Don’t you just hate that?  

Often, people mimic the colour of the fruit with vivid food colouring, which is gorgeous but doesn’t do much for the flavour.  They sometimes use extracts either in the shells or the filling.  More often than not, the fruit flavour is infused in the filling through either jams, jellies or actual pieces of fruit sandwiched between the shells.

dust finely ground freeze-dried pineapple on the shells immediately after you pipe them
When I want intense real fruit flavour, I go for the real thing.  I get me some freeze-dried fruit and buzz it up in my Bullet.  The finely ground powder then is incorporated into the almond/sugar mixture.  I even sprinkle the fruit powder onto the shells before they dry.   I am always happy with the honest flavour of the powdered fruit.  
Since discovering the freeze-dried pineapples, strawberries and mango from Mrs. May’s, I’ve been experimenting with the ground fruit in my macaron shells.  I don’t think I want to ever go back to the fake flavours of extracts and food colouring.  The muted pastel shades that the real fruit yield is fine with me because the flavour more than makes up for the lack of vividness.  Besides, macarons are beautiful anyway.
 intense pineapple flavour, with no artificial flavours
This recipe has been my hero.  It’s easy, not wasteful at all and quick to pull together.  There’s no aging of whites on the counter, no separating of yolks from whites and I haven’t had a failed bunch yet [knock on wood].

I’m Costco-dependent.  Almost all the ingredients are from Costco.  I buy the huge bag of blanched sliced almonds there (and freeze the bag until I need it).  I also found the freeze-dried fruit and the confectioners’ sugar there.  The egg-whites come in a pack of 3-cartons and even the unsalted butter for the SMB is from Costco.  I like how I don’t have to worry about all those leftover yolks.   I just use the SMB recipe for the filling because it also requires egg whites.    

You can find Meringue Powder from Wilton (I get mind at Michaels).

REAL PINEAPPLY  MACARONS 

an original recipe by Cakebrain
  • 145 grams egg whites at room temperature [I used pasteurized egg whites from a carton]
  • 2 tsp meringue powder 
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 15 grams finely ground freeze dried pineapples, plus extra for sprinkling on shells if desired
  • 115 grams ground almonds [I purchase sliced almonds from Costco and grind them down in the food processor]
  • 230 grams confectioners’ sugar
  • 75 grams granulated vanilla sugar
  1. Prepare the baking pans by lining with parchment paper.
  2. Prepare your piping bag with a large round tip.
  3. Process the almonds, confectioners’ sugar and freeze dried pineapples until thoroughly combined and finely ground.   Continue to pulse until all lumps are gone.  If there are small lumps, you may sift to ensure fineness of the mixture.
  4. In a stand mixer, whisk the egg whites until foamy, about 2 minutes.  Add the cream of tartar.  Continue whisking on medium speed for 2 more minutes.  Gradually add the granulated sugar while whisking on high for another 3-4 minutes, or until the egg whites are very stiff.
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the egg whites, and with a rubber spatula, deflate the whites while mixing.  Combine the ingredients thoroughly and watch carefully, lifting the mixture with the spatula to see if it leaves ribbons.  Stop mixing before the mixture becomes runny.    Test by seeing if the batter is lava-like.  It should not maintain its lines but sink slowly back into itself in about 10 seconds.
  6. Transfer half the batter to the piping bag and pipe the macaroons onto the parchment, allowing for spreading.
  7. Rap the tray a few times on your counter to ensure bubbles are eradicated  
  8. Continue filling bag and piping macaron shells until all the batter is used.
  9. Sprinkle extra ground pineapple on the macaron shells.
  10. Preheat the oven to 315 degrees F.  Allow the macaron shells to dry, about 20-30 minutes.  If you touch the surface, it should not be sticky.  Continue to dry if it is sticky.  
  11. Place one tray on the centre rack and bake for 10-12 minutes (depending on the size of the macarons).  Turn the tray from back to front halfway through.
  12. Allow macaroons to cool completely before filling.  Remove from parchment carefully.
  13. Pipe Swiss Meringue Buttercream on a macaron shell, find a similar sized shell and sandwich it.  Store the macarons in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to serve.  Best served at room temperature.  You can freeze the shells or the prepared macarons in an airtight container.

VANILLA BEAN SWISS MERINGUE BUTTERCREAM
(from Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes; makes about 5 cups)

  • 5 large egg whites
  • 1 cup plus 2 T sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons, room temperature
  • 1 vanilla bean, insides scraped (and save the pod for vanilla sugar!) or 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  1. Combine egg whites, sugar and salt in the heatproof bowl of a standing mixer set over a pan of simmering water. Whisk constantly by hand until mixture is warm to the touch and sugar has dissolved (the mixture should feel completely smooth when rubbed between your fingertips).
  2. Attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Starting on low and gradually increasing to medium-high speed, whisk until stiff (but not dry) peaks form. Continue mixing until the mixture is fluffy and glossy, and completely cool (test by touching the bottom of the bowl), about 10 minutes.
  3. With mixer on medium-low speed, add the butter a few tablespoons at a time, mixing well after each addition. Once all butter has been added, whisk in vanilla. Switch to the paddle attachment, and continue beating on low speed until all air bubbles are eliminated, about 2 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl with a flexible spatula, and continue beating until the frosting is completely smooth. Keep buttercream at room temperature if using the same day, or transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate up to 3 days or freeze up to 1 month. Before using, bring to room temperature and beat with paddle attachment on low speed until smooth again, about 5 minutes.
  4. (optional) To tint buttercream, reserve some for toning down the color, if necessary. Add gel-paste food color, a drop at a time (or use the toothpick or skewer to add food color a dab at a time) to the remaining buttercream. You can use a single shade of food color or experiment by mixing two or more. Blend after each addition with the mixer (use the paddle attachment) or a flexible spatula, until desired shade is achieved. Avoid adding too much food color too son, as the hue with intensify with continued stirring; if necessary, you can tone down the shade by mixing in some reserved untinted buttercream.

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