I have never thought of September as the time of year for strawberries, but recently when I was at the farmer's market in Santa Fe, I bought the juiciest, sweetest little mountain strawberries I have ever had. I made this jam to preserve all of the bursting fresh flavor, and since I have been wanting to try making macarons again (the first time they were hollow, the second, they were too stiff and tiny), I knew the jam would make a perfect filling for them.
I always feel like such an amature baker when I compare myself to expert pastry chefs. Making macarons, I always think about a video I saw where chefs were skillfully piping out the macarons all exactly the same size, one after another. Each of my macarons are always one of a kind :) they vary alot in size and shape. But, hopefully, practice makes perfect, right?
On the days when I know I should be working or fulfilling other obligations, I can't help but constantly think up ideas for recipes I want to bake and photograph and post. I am constantly inspired- which can be both a good and bad thing. And I am afraid the autumn only makes it worse. There is too much unique produce to try!
Coming soon is a recipe I just tried with some very unusual apples. What is the most unique market find you have had recently?
Printable version of recipe:
makes about 3 dozen
1 cup confectioners' sugar
3/4 cup almond flour
2 large egg whites, room temperature
pinch of cream of tartar
1/4 cup superfine sugar
1. Pulse confectioners' sugar and almond flour in a food processor until combined. Sift mixture twice, then place in a bowl and keep in the refrigerator until ready to use.
2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Whisk egg whites with an electric mixer on medium speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar, and whisk until soft peaks form. Reduce speed to low; add superfine sugar. Raise speed to high; whisk until stiff peaks form, 8 to 10 minutes. Sift flour mixture over whites; fold thoroughly until mixture is smooth and shiny.
3. Transfer batter to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/4 inch plain round tip. Pipe rounds about 1 inch in diameter, 1 inch apart, onto parchment- lined baking sheets. As you release, sweep pastry tip to sides of rounds rather than forming peaks. Tap bottom of each sheet to release trapped air. Let stand at room temperature until tops are dry to the touch, about 15 minutes. Place 1 sheet in oven. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F.
4. Bake, rotating half way through, until crisp and firm, 10 to 12 minutes. After each batch, raise oven temperature to 375 degrees F, heat 5 minutes, then reduce to 325 degrees F just before next batch.
5. Let cookies cool completely on sheets, then transfer to a wire rack. Use an offset spatula to release cookies. (Unfilled cookies can be stacked between layers of parchment in an airtight container, and stored at room temperature up to 2 days).
I used this recipe from Martha Stewart Holiday Cookies because it seems very simple to follow and it has been the most reliable macaron recipe I have tried.
Wild Strawberry Jam
makes 1 3/4 cups
1 quart hulled wild strawberries
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
In a food processor, process strawberries until coarsely chopped. Transfer to a large skillet and stir in sugar and lemon juice. Cook over medium- high, stirring frequently, until jam is thickened and bubbles completely cover surface, 9 to 10 minutes. Transfer jam to a jar and let cool to room temperature. (To store, seal jar and refrigerate, up to 10 days).
Recipe from Martha Stewart Online
Almond Macarons with Wild Strawberry jam
Sandwich 1 teaspoon of jam between two cookies. Eat soon after assembling!