So as the Hallmark Holiday – Valentines Day is creeping up on us.. I thought it would be best suited that I bake something extravagant. I am not a V-day person to be honest, never really understood it, because I love my loved ones and appreciate them all year round, not just one day.. However.. that being said .. I do know and understand many people that do celebrate it and do big things. For me.. I NEVER need an excuse for an extravagant dessert.. hehe so here is what I would call extravagant… Make it in small pots, glass, or a big trifle bowl.. your choice.. but as there are only two of us at home, and I bake all the time and need my husband and myself to watch our weights.. I decided to go with glass/pots. This isn’t your traditional trifle.. there is no cake! Yes I know.. how is it a trifle then.. well in my eyes anything layered with some sort of cream and jelly becomes a trifle.. I’m probably totally wrong.. but whatevs.. 🙂 My trifle starts with a strawberry jelly with sliced strawberries in, with macarons with dark chocolate ganache as filling on top, and then the final touch of mascarpone whip cream on top.. Its literally AMAZING!
Yes this takes time.. but if your looking for extravagance.. then shouldn’t it? 😉
Here’s how you bake it!
Strawberry Jelly –
- 200 g superfine sugar
- 600 ml water
- 500 g fresh strawberries (gently washed and hulls removed)
- 75 ml cold water
- 100 g sliced or quarter strawberries, set aside
- 11 g powdered unflavored vege-gelatin (or agar agar)
Macaron with Chocolate Ganache – (this batch makes roughly 30)
For the Macaron:
- 150g Almond Flour
- 150g Icing Sugar
- 2x55g Egg White (can be the egg white of 2 or 3 eggs depending on how small or large they are)
- 50g Water
- 150g Granulated Sugar
For the Chocolate Ganache:
- 200g dark chocolate, chopped ( I use 75%)
- 1 cup cream
- Pinch of sea salt
Mascarpone Whip Cream –
- 1 cup heavy cream, whipped and chilled in the fridge
- 1 teaspoon powdered sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- 1/2 cup mascarpone, mixed a little to soften it
METHOD : (Take a deep breath, this will take time so bear with me.. but it will be worth it, I promise!)
Strawberry Jelly –
- Place the sugar and 600 ml water in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil vigorously for 5 minutes and then remove the pan from the heat and let cool.
- Meanwhile, take 4 or 5 of the fresh strawberries, leave them whole, and set to one side.
- Purée the remaining strawberries with an immersion blender or in a conventional blender or food processor.
- Transfer the purée to a large bowl and pour over the cooled sugar-water syrup. Cover with a clean cloth and let infuse for a minimum of 30 minutes or, if you have the time, up to 2 hours.
- Once infused, pass the strawberry mixture through a fine sieve to remove any of the strawberry pulp and seeds. Set aside.
- Place 75 ml cold water into a small dish and sprinkle the powdered gelatin into the water and leave untouched for 5 minutes.
- Heat 1 cup of the strained strawberry-sugar syrup mixture in a small saucepan. Stir in the gelatin-water mixture and simmer very gently (do not allow to boil) until the gelatin has completely dissolved. Stir this into the remaining strawberry-sugar syrup.
- Pour into what you will be building your trifle in, so in my case its glass’/pots and place into the refrigerator and and add in the sliced strawberries (I used quartered strawberries for depth) and let set. This will take an hour or so but it is best to leave it as long as it needs. The jelly is ready when it wobbles just slightly. You don’t want it to be too hard because the fun of the jelly is in the wobble.
Macaron Shell –
- Sieve the almond flour and icing sugar twice until only the fine flour remains without any lumps. Mix together in a bowl.
- Add 55g of egg white to the flour mix. Mix until the dry ingredients become a paste like texture.
- On medium to low heat boil the granulated sugar with water together. Do not stir, just let it bubble until it reaches 118 °C .
- In a separate bowl whip the remaining 55g egg white until frothy and once the water/sugar mixture reaches the correct temperature pour into the frothy egg white slowly and from an edge of the bowl. This is to make sure that the water/sugar does not splash around or outside of the bowl. Mix while pouring at a high speed.
- Pour in all the merengue mixture into the almond paste and mix with a spatula. This is a vital point in the baking – as you Must mix around the bowl and then cut through the dough making sure that there is air coming into the merengue and almond paste mixture. Don’t be too rough with the mixing. And mix only until the mixture falls off the spatula in a ribbon like manor.
- At this point heat up your oven to 100 °C .
- Pour the mixture into a piping bag and using a round plain nib make small disks about a 1/2 inch diameter on your baking sheet. You can always buy silicon sheets which are reusable and have the circle marking for you to pipe onto for ease. The silicone mats work just as well as regular baking paper. You should end up with around 30 macaron disks on one baking tray and this batch should make two trays.
- Once all your Macarons are piped, tap your pan twice to release any air bubbles you may see. Sometimes it takes more taps – just make sure no bubbles appear and the disks look smooth. Leave for 20 min outside to rest. This period of resting helps the macaron create its ‘shell’ so once it starts baking that’s when the shell rises and you see the ‘foot’ which is a skirt like formation being created on the bottom of the macaron.
- Once the 20 min are done turn your heat up to 150 °C and pop in one tray. (From my experience one tray at a time works best) leave to bake for 8 min, then open the oven for 10 sec exactly, close and bake for another 8 min.
- Take out your Macaron shells and let cool on a cooling wrack.
Chocolate Ganache –
- Our the chopped chocolates in a medium sized bowl with the sea salt.
- In a small saucepan heat up the cream on medium heat until it ‘just’ starts to bubble. Then pour it onto the chocolate and let it sit for ten minutes. Do NOT stir.
- After ten minutes, mix the chocolate until the cream is fully combined. Then leave for another 25-30 minutes until it stiffens ‘slightly’.
- Then with a hand held mixer, mix the chocolate until a thick Ganache cream appears. Pour into piping bag and pipe small 1 tbsp dollops into each macaron, cover with a shell that doesn’t have the ganache filling on, and place aside.
Mascarpone Whip Cream –
- Combine the heavy cream, powdered sugar, mascarpone, and vanilla bean paste. Whip to soft peaks.
***NOTE! ONLY ASSEMBLE WHEN ITS TIEM TO SERVE! ***(otherwise the macaron will become way to soft and kind of just dissolve) Assembly :
- When it’s time to serve, take out each pot/or serving dish and place a macaron or more than one so that they face on the outside, around the glass/serving dish. Then top with a generous amount of mascarpone whip, and if you want, add a few more strawberries to the top.
And voila, your extremely time consuming, difficult yet very extravagant dessert is ready to be served! ENJOY! 🙂