This is probably the best recipe I’ve come across and of course it’s from world renowned pastry chef Pierre Hermé. The macaron shells came out absolutely perfect, it has that crispy outer shell and slightly chewy inside. I’ve attempted to make macarons several times before, and apart from a one off success and using Zumbo’s premix pack, nothing came close to the consistency I was after. Finally found the perfect recipe and while although the shells are flavourless, the filling packs a fruity punch with the lychee flavour coming through. A lovely summer treat.
Lychee & White Chocolate Macarons (adapted from Pierre Herme’s book Macarons)
Makes: 72 Macarons (Around 144 shells)
Preparation Time: 1 hour
Cooking Time: 25 minutes
Passive Time: 2 hours + 24 hours
300g Ground Almonds
300g Icing Sugar
110g Liquefied Egg Whites (See note below)
300g Caster Sugar
75g Mineral Water
110g Liquefied Egg Whites (See note below)
4g Strawberry Food Colouring (Optional)
4g Carmine Red Food Colouring (Optional)
Lychee & White Chocolate Ganache
410g White Chocolate
400g Lychees (Preserved in Syrup)/240g Lychee Purée
60g Liquid Crème Fraîche or Whipping Cream (35% Fat)
Lychee & White Chocolate Ganache
1. Drain the lychees and blend, then strain the lychees to obtain a smooth purée. You will need 240g purée.
2. Chop up the white chocolate so that it can melt more quickly and then place in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Making sure that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water.
3. In a separate saucepan, bring the cream and lychee puree to the boil.
4. Pour the lychee mixture over the melted chocolate a third at a time. However, with the last third, check if the chocolate mixture is thick enough because if your puree is quite runny already you won’t be able to pipe the ganache properly but also note the ganache will thicken when cooled as well.
5. Once mixed together, pour the ganache into a bowl and then cover with clingfilm, making sure that the clingfilm touches the surface of the ganache so a skin doesn’t form. Set aside in the fridge for the ganache to thicken.
1. Sift the icing sugar and ground almonds in a large sized bowl.
2. If you wanted to add food colouring, you would add this to your first portion of liquefied egg whites. Pour the egg white mixture over the icing sugar and ground almonds but don’t stir it.
3. Combine the water and caster sugar in a saucepan and bring to boil and when the syrup reaches 115°C, simultaneously start whisking the second portion of liquefied egg whites in a stand mixer to soft peaks.
4. When the sugar mixture reaches 118°C, take off from the heat and slowly pour into the egg whites making sure the egg whites are still being whisked to avoid cooking the eggs. Whisk the mixture until the meringue cools down to 50°C.
5. Fold the meringue into the icing sugar/ground almonds mixture. Spoon the batter into a piping bag fitted with a plain nozzle.
6. Pipe the batter into circles around 3.5cm in diameter. Space these around 2cm apart on lined baking trays. Leave the shells to stand for at least 30 minutes or until they form a skin. You should be able to touch the shell without the batter sticking to you.
7. Preheat the fan oven to 180°C then put the trays in the oven. Bake for 12 minutes, quickly opening and shutting the door two times during cooking. Once down, take out of the oven and slide the shells onto a work surface and allow to cool.
1. Once the ganache has cooled, spoon the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a plain nozzle. Pipe a mound of ganache onto half of the shells. Then press together the piped shell with the clean shell. Store the macarons in the fridge for 24 hours and bring back out at the point of serving.
Because my attempts at making macarons had been less than fruitful, I decided to try doing it the easy way and just buy one of those Macaron-mixes. With Adriano Zumbo’s macarons being quite famously known, I was quite excited to try his Salted Caramel pack and going off the instructions it seemed pretty straight forward without the need for Italian meringue or Swiss meringue fuss.
Adriano Zumbo – Salted Caramel Macarons (DIY)
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Baking time: 36 minutes
¼ cup (62 ml) water
1 ½ tbsp. (30 g) soft salted butter
¼ tsp sea salt flakes (optional)
Egg White Mix
Stencil and Piping Bags (x2)
1. Preheat oven to 160C (140C fan forced). Trim baking paper to fit baking trays.
2. Using the ring provided, trace inner circles on the back of the baking paper, leaving 2cm gap between each.
3. In a small bowl, whip meringue mix and water with an electric mixer on medium speed, until it begins to thicken, increase to maximum speed for 4 minutes or until very stiff.
4. Sift almond base over meringue (pushing through any lumps). Combine thoroughly with a spatula.
5. Using the electric mixer, pulse for a second then check beaters. Batter should slide very slowly off the beaters. Only pulse again if still too thick (Do not over-pulse)
6. Transfer mix to piping bag, cut off the tip and pipe onto baking paper. Allow to stand for 10 minutes. (Makes at least 40 shells)
7. Bake trays one at a time for 14-18 minutes. Macarons are done when the ‘feet’ have just set. Slide baking paper onto a bench to cool completely. Carefully peel off shells and sort the best 30 shells into matching pairs.
1. In a bowl, beat caramel filling and soft butter on low speed using an electric mixer until combined. Beat on high for 2 minutes. If using, stir through salt flakes. Transfer mix to remaining piping bag. Pipe onto one macaron shell and sandwich together.
The macarons come out beautifully with ‘feet’! What a joyous feeling that is and relatively easy to do. I think the key thing with the macarons is just knowing what the stiff mixture looks like (it isn’t as stiff as a normal meringue would be though)
The macaron shells have just enough air, and also slightly chewy. The filling although ridiculously rich with sugar and butter is delicious and smooth. If you want to make macarons the easy way, I think this will suit you just fine. However, if you like to be a bit creative and go beyond the standard flavours, trying to do it the traditional way would be the way to go.
Anyone who has ever watched Masterchef would probably know of the name Zumbo. Known for his intricate and complex desserts and in particular the V8 cake and the Zumbo Macarons Tower, he has certainly made a name for himself all across Australia.
Zumbo Patisserie has finally reached Melbourne, and it picks a hot spot too in South Yarra. Conveniently located minutes walk from the South Yarra railway station and in between newly develop(ing) apartments and Toorak Road. South Yarra has become the dessert place to be with the likes of LuxBite and Burch & Purchese.
The Zumbo store is smaller than I expected, and yet they manage to showcase a variety of their larger cakes, mini cakes and desserts, macarons and pastries.
From top left: V8 (8″), Apple Fields (8″), Non Che Nudo Ka, Lemon Meringue, Secret Carrot’s Business
From bottom left: V8 (6″), Dr Dot, Apple Fields (6″)
From left: Orange & Coconut, Decorated Fondant, Mylo Sacher Cyrus, Capsicum & Peanut
From left: (Minis) Dr Dot, Secret Carrot’s Business, The Annoying Orange Cake, Non Che Nudo Ka
From left: Lemon Meringue Tart, Tart Aux Fruits De La Passion
Macaron Flavours on the day (Subject to change): Pandan & Sticky Rice Pudding, Yoghurt & Passionfruit, Francesco Brownie, Salted Butter Caramel Toast, Toasted Marshmallow, Ghana Milk Chocolate, Blueberry Pancake, Caramel, Apple Pie, Fingerbun, Passionfruit & Basil, Meat Pie (Movember)
During November, all the Macaron boxes were in support for Movember as well as the very interesting Meat Pie which I didn’t have a chance to try.
Assortment of pastries and the Zonuts
I managed to (barely) bring back a few cakes and macarons. You can see they are a little bit travelled. We have here the Annoying Orange Cake, Apple Fields and Dr Dot as well as the macarons with the flavours listed below.
From left to right we have Apple Pie, Salted butter caramel on toast, Salted butter popcorn, Blueberry pancake, Fingerbun (fruit bread like), Pandan & sticky rice.
The Pandan & sticky rice macarons was something I was very keen to try. I found the pandan flavour to be too mild, very subtle. The texture of the slightly hard sticky rice makes it interesting to eat but with the pandan flavour lacking it didn’t really work as well as I hoped it would. It also goes without saying for all the six macarons that the shells are some of the best in Melbourne. Just enough bite to shell and still moist with the almond meal inside but not too much air in the shells’.
The Salted butter caramel on toast was also superb, the salty caramel filling that is just salted enough to complement the sweetness of the caramel and the slightly viscous nature of the caramel both sticky yet still retaining enough bite was just perfection.
Salted butter popcorn was, unfortunately, a bit of a letdown. You can see it very much looks like popcorn, but the flavour of the filling just tasted like whipped butter. The flavour of just popped buttered popcorn was almost non existent.
The Apple Pie was quite the delight to eat, packed full of flavour in the filling. It really does remind you of eating a apple danish of some sort. Excellent in every way, the freshness of the apple filling really makes it top notch.
The Fingerbun wasn’t something I was very familiar with but after trying this it definitely reminded me of a fruit cake. I checked what the Fingerbuns were and my assessment of what it was (sweet bread with sultanas and icing) seemed to be roughly on point. Flavourwise, I liked it but not being much of a fruit cake/bread fan it’s not something I’d immediately order again.
Lucky last was the Blueberry pancake macaron. Again, a milder tasting blueberry flavour but enough sweetness and slightly tart.
Overall the macarons I found weren’t overly sweet but with macarons they are basically packed full of sugar so that’s expected.
The annoying orange cake is made of flourless chocolate cake, orange caramel, olive sable, chocolate & clove mousse, orange & white chocolate jam. It reminded me of the Jaffa lollies because of the chocolate and oranges. The chocolate cake was very light and the orange flavoured caramel, and jam complemented the cake well. The orange zest also gave it a boost of orange which I found to be very pleasant on the palette.
The Apple Fields cake made of malt shortbread, sunflower praline crunch, honey cremeaux,sunflower chiffon cake, roasted apple jelly compote, apple mousse, was delicious. The apple flavour just oozed out of the compote (jelly) along with the mousse. Very distinct layers all complementing each other well, with none overpowering one over the other. Soft, sweet and bursting full of apples. Lovely
The Dr. Dot is made of chocolate sable, white nougat, roasted cocoa hib, creme brulee, raspberry vinegar jelly, gianduja mousse, dark chocolate glaze all in their distinct layers surrounded by the mousse and glaze. I absolutely adored this cake, probably because of the chocolate and raspberry working stupendously well together. I love a good raspberry jelly and this was one of them. Smooth but still retaining the essence and texture of raspberries and the nutty nougat gives it a bit of crunch. I thought it had hazelnut flavour in it too, but that seems not to be the case. The mousse is super smooth and ridiculously light. Even looking at the photos again makes me want to taste it again.
Although the impressions of many Melburnians seemed to have mixed feelings about the quality of the food here, I still think it has earned its place. Not everything hits the mark, and the prices lean on the more expensive side of things but for special occasions I think it’s reasonable.
The very complex V8 cakes were surprisingly expensive but after much thought realised of how much work would go into these cakes (the 6″ is $70, 8″ is $125) with all the different layers.
LuxBite and Le Petit Gateau does cakes and macarons well as well and I found them to be on average cheaper for what you get. More variety of patisseries the better I’d say though!
12 -14 Claremont St
South Yarra VIC 3141
I never actually got a chance to visit La Belle Miette on Hardware Lane in the city since my work place is so far out. Luckily, they had a pop-up store in Chadstone Shopping Centre before Christmas. I believe it’s still there but I’m unsure as I haven’t ventured to Chadstone SC for a few months.
I’ve heard good reviews about their macarons so it seemed like a great opportunity to give these ones a try. At the pop-up store, they had quite a number of flavours, I think around 15. Some of your standard like Vanilla and Hazelnut but some very interesting ones which you’ll see below.
Here we have the Raspberry flavoured macaron, it was pleasant tasting as it had a slight tanginess to the filling with a crispy and soft inside. Nothing too out of the ordinary though. Luxbites Raspberry macaron I felt was way more flavourful and had a very nice zing (probably due to the fresh raspberries).
Here’s where it gets interesting, La Belle Miette’s Bastille has a Moet et Chandon and Blackcurrant filling which was absolutely delicious. You can really taste the champagne in the cream, and my golly do I love it. The blackcurrant jelly adds texture and berry sweetness which is delightful to eat.
La Belle Miette calls this one the Mariage Freres Earl Grey Chocolate and the tea flavour is strong in this one. If you like that slightly musty tea leaves taste (Earl Grey basically) you will definitely like this one. The chocolate isn’t too sweetness, I think they use dark chocolate or a higher percentage cocoa which in my opinion is preferable. I never really like milk chocolate all that much.
For something a little more tropical, they have a Mango and Coconut macaron, I found the mango tasted a bit artificial but I would think they would use real mangos to make the filling. So I’m not sure why it tasted a a bit off. This coconut flavour was quite nice, it complements the mango well. A tad pina colada so it’s not really to my liking.
While I was tasting this I was like what am I eating? Several minutes later, ding! POMEGRANATE. They call this Pimm’s & Pomegranate and I don’t really know what to think of it. It certainly isn’t too sweet, it has that fruity flavour but over than that I wasn’t too overly excited by it.
I say La Belle Miette macarons are one of the better ones around. I do really enjoy the variety of macarons and that Moet macaron, although is pricier then the rest is one of my favourite macarons ever. Give them a try because they are bite sized punches of flavour.
La Belle Miette
30 Hardware Lane
Melbourne VIC 3000
Chadstone Shopping Centre
Malvern East VIC 3145 (Next to Seed/Sass & Bide)
I heard so many good things about LuxBite that I had to force myself (not too hard, obviously) to make my way to their South Yarra location. LuxBite serves primarily sweet desserts and confectionary, but they also serve coffee, breakfast and lunch too! What makes LuxBite slightly different is that they have a slight Asian influenced to some of their desserts, for example one of their macarons has a Kaya filling. Kaya is a Malaysian term for Coconut Jam and homemade Kaya is absolutely delicious.
Their store is quite close by to South Yarra station, so it makes it convenient for those without cars or car-averse.
In the above picture, hopefully you can see their selection of macaron flavours. There are your popular flavours such as Salted Caramel and Hazelnut have more interesting flavours like Rose and Ribena Lemonade.
Their store has quite a number of sweet delights to choose from, with many having that French flair ala Elcairs as shown at the bottom of the image.
It was really hard to choose a couple of desserts to try because they have so many on offer! We were still heading towards the city for the day so I couldn’t choose anything that needed to go to the fridge quickly so that helped.
As shown above, we chose the Chocolate Hazelnut Macaron. It’s this plus sized macaron with chunks of hazelnut pieces and a hazelnut and chocolate ganache. I quite enjoyed the macaron, it’s as you would want from a macaron. Crispy, slightly chewy and sweet. The hazelnut flavour of the chocolate and nuts really helped blend everything together. A real treat.
We chose the interesting Lemonade Ribeena and Kaya Toast macarons. The Kaya Toast macaron has kaya as it’s filling. I think it’s homemade, but their kaya was unfortunately too sweet for my liking. I would even have preferred the Kaya jam jars you can buy from an Asian grocer with pandan. Even that jam is less sweet. For those that haven’t tried Kaya before may like it though but for me it lacked the coconut flavour and was way too sweet to be enjoyable.
The Lemonade Ribena on the otherhand was very interesting. It has this cream based lemonade flavour filling but inside there is what I believe (or remember) a small Ribena jelly cube. The Ribena jelly was delicious and made that macaron one of my favourites because it had such a pleasant flavour and was different to things I’ve tried before.
Last on my list was LuxBite’s Lychee Raspberry Macaron. I love all things Lychee too so I couldn’t help to be intrigued by a Lychee and Raspberry Macaron, plus it looked amazing.
Inside this macaron, there is a whole lychee, but the salmon pink filling as you can see in the image was also slightly Lychee flavoured. The combination of the sweetness of Lychee along with the sourness of the icing sugar dusted Raspberries worked a treat. It melded together really well as the freshness of the Raspberries cut through that sweetness of basically everything else. A joy to eat.
LuxBite impresses with its well crafted pieces that look amazing and taste great too. It’s no wonder people keep coming back for more. I really do recommend giving LuxBite a try.
38 Toorak Road
South Yarra VIC 3141