Every Spring I pick up these Sequoia June-bearing strawberry plants from a local nursery. The reason that kept me returning every spring is because this variety produces bountiful, luscious and juicy fruits that are exceptionally sweet, aromatic, which just perfect for making dessert and jam. Normally, they bear fruit in June over a period of just a few weeks into mid July but this year, I found some of the plants already bearing fruits and this give the perfect reason to bust out my long list of must-try fruit recipes^^
The first thing that came across my mind was making jam, a first for me. I found a tempting recipe in Mes Confitures, a book which many claimed is the bible of jam making. The author of this book is Christine Ferber, whom people in France and food lovers all over the world refer to as the fairy godmother of jams and jellies. She has been known to use only the best, freshest, seasonal fruits and ingredients from local farmers and that she produces only small batches at a time by hand in her small boulangerie-pâtisserie, Au Relais des Trois Epis in Niedermorschwihr in Alsace, France. I have not come across any of her confitures at my local markets or specialty stores but I am already won over by the interesting flavor combinations presented in this book: wild blueberry + pinot noir + licorice, white peach + lemon verbena, black cherry + eucalyptus honey + fresh mint and that just to name a few! I picked out the seemingly easy recipe to start with - strawberry with black pepper & fresh mint. The recipe called for 2 pounds plus strawberries but unfortunately, this early harvest didn’t produce enough strawberries and I had to buy some. So you ask the taste of this jam? Très délicieux!! I must admit that it is an elevation from the really good strawberry jam I buy from A.G. Ferrari. I wonder if it is the recipe or just because I made it ;p
Macarons à la fraise or strawberry macaron is next up on my must-try fruit recipes. I just love these dainty little jewels! After looking through all my books on macaron, I found that strawberry macarons are actually vanilla macarons with red coloring paired with either strawberry jam or strawberry buttercream!! I always thought the macaron was flavored with strawberry! Well, I just learn something new. So for this recipe, I have added dehydrated strawberry powder that I got from this wonderful store to the batter to make real strawberry flavor macarons. As for the filling, I tried a new recipe – white chocolate ganache with a hint of strawberry flavor. To do so, I infused the cream with sweet and fragrant strawberry tea leaves overnight. I also paired the macarons with the jam for variation. For an intense burst of strawberry flavor, pair both the ganache and jam with the macarons!
Macarons à la fraise – yield about 30 sandwiches
Italian meringue method
55g egg white
150g caster sugar
Tant pour tant
150g almond flour
150g powdered sugar
10g dehydrated strawberry powder
55g egg white
1 drop red food coloring
Some chopped raw almonds
- On the back side of 2 parchment papers, trace 3cm/1 ¼in circles about 3cm/1 ¼in apart. Flip them over and line the baking sheets.
- Prepare 2 sheets of foil the size of the baking sheets.
I thought you should know:
- Must let the piped cookies sit out until dry to touch before baking to prevent them from cracking during baking.
- Press the piping tip on the baking sheet when piping for uniformly shaped macarons. Do not suspend the tip in the air!
- It is best to consume the macarons within 3 days as it loses its moisture and becomes dry fast.
Sift together almond flour, strawberry powder, and powdered sugar twice then place the mixture in a large mixing bowl. Add 55g egg white to the flour mixture and stir until it forms into a sticky ball, set aside.
Heat water and caster sugar over medium heat until it thickens and register at 230°F/116°C on a candy thermometer. While the syrup is heating, begin whisking the egg white at high speed in the bowl of a mixer using the whisk attachment; whisk until pale and foamy. Reduce the mixer speed to low speed and begin slowly (very slowly) pouring the syrup down the side of the bowl, being very careful not to splatter the syrup into the path of the whisk attachment. Some of the syrup will spin onto the sides of the bowl but don’t worry about this and don’t try to stir it into the mixture as it will harden! Raise the speed to medium-high and continue beating until it becomes thick and satiny and the mixture is cool to the touch, about 5 minutes. When you lift the meringue with the whisk, it should form into a stiff peak. Dilute a drop of red food coloring with a tablespoon of water, adding a little by little to the meringue until it reaches the desired pink hue, fold until incorporated.
With a rubber spatula, fold 1/3 of the almond/sugar/strawberry flour mix to the meringue, fold until incorporated then fold in the remaining flour mix and fold until completely incorporated. Now it is ready for the macaronnage process.
With the rubber spatula, scoop and spread the batter, in a full circle, on the inside wall of the mixing bowl. Repeat this scoop & spread process, for a total of 15 times. Lift some batter with the spatula, it should falls into the bowl in a ribbon fashion, and should look glossy.
Pour the batter into a piping bag with a small round tip and pipe the batter from the center of the drawn circle onto the baking sheets. Pipe about 60 circles. Sprinkle some chopped raw almonds over piped circles. Let dry at room temperature for 30 minutes before baking to allow skins to form. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400°F/220°C, with racks in upper and lower thirds.
When the batter is dry to the touch, place into the preheated oven and bake for 2 minutes, then quickly turn it down to 300°F/150°C, bake for 5 minutes, then rotate the baking sheets (upper and lower racks), cover the sheets with foil, and continue to bake for 7 minutes. Remove from oven and transfer to cool on the cooling rack. Once cooled, slide a knife (fragile, must be careful) underneath the macarons to remove from the parchment paper.
Pair 2 macarons of similar size, pipe about 1 teaspoon of the ganache filling or spoon 1 teaspoon of jam or both onto the flat side of one of the macarons then sandwich them. Let them set in room temperature or refrigerate to set. Make about 30 sandwiches. If refrigerate, let stand at room temperature at least 2 hours to soften before eating.
Ganache chocolat blanc à l'infusion de thé à la fraise
(White Chocolate Ganache flavored with Strawberry Tea)
150g quality white chocolate
150g heavy whipping cream
1tsp loose strawberry tea leaves
The night before, add the tea leaves to the whipping cream and let infuse overnight in the refrigerator.
Strained the tea mixture and discard the solid. Bring the whipping cream to just a boil over medium heat and pour it over the chopped white chocolate. Let seat for 1 minute before stirring the hot mixture with a rubber spatula until completely melted and has a satiny look. It is ready to pipe when it registers 70°F/35°C on the candy thermometer.
Strawberry with Black Pepper & Fresh Mint Jam
Adopted from Mes Confitures: The Jams and Jellies of Christine Ferber
2 ½lbs strawberries
1 ¾cup granulated sugar
Juice of 1 small lemon
5 fresh mint leaves
5 black peppercorns, freshly ground
Rinse the strawberries under cold water then dry with a towel and hull them. Let the strawberries macerate with the lemon juice and the sugar in a ceramic bowl covered with a piece of parchment paper overnight in the refrigerator.
Bring the preparation to a simmer over medium-high heat in a preserving pan. Pour it back into the ceramic bowl, cover with a piece of parchment paper and refrigerate overnight.
Sterilize the jam jars by putting them in boiling water and cook for 3 minutes, drain, then dry with paper towel.
Pour the preparation into a sieve. Bring the collected syrup to a boil in a preserving pan, skim and continue cooking on high heat. When the syrup appear concentrated and register at 221°F/105°C on the candy thermometer, add the half cooked strawberries from the sieve, fresh mint and pepper; return it to high heat. Skim and bring back to a boil for about 5 minutes, stirring gently. The strawberries will now be translucent, remove from heat then quickly spoon the jam into prepared jars to almost full, lightly tap them to release air bubbles and seal. Flip the jars upside down and let cool completely. Store in a cool, dry place, and out of light.
最先在我腦中閃過的就是很早就被列在必試清單上的草莓果醬。這還是生平第一次嘗試做手工果醬哩﹐所以定必找個很棒的食譜才行﹐而我在被稱為果醬聖典的Mes Confitures 一書中找到了。這是在法國無人不知﹐被美食圈中人稱為果醬教母的Christine Ferber所出版的果醬食譜書。她之所以被稱果醬教母﹐原因在於她的果醬及果凍配方獨特﹐又採用當地各種優質上選時令水果﹑花朵﹑香料﹑蜂蜜﹑酒等食材加上繁複的手工製作過程熬煮而成。值得一提的是不同於其他的名廚﹐她沒有華麗的店面或包裝﹐她的店只有一家﹐就是當年太祖父開在法國阿爾薩斯鄉間的Au Relais des Trois Epis甜點店。舖子很小﹐但所推出的各款果醬卻是名聞全球擁有很多星級粉絲像法國料理教父Alain Ducasse﹑甜點界的畢加索Pierre Hermé等。雖然我還沒有那個福分吃到她的果醬(好像美國沒有售賣的說)﹐以她書中果醬的配方涵藏著的無限的可能性及精彩度﹐也足以令我臣服了。我所選擇的配方是書中比較簡單操作的了﹐堪稱草莓果醬變奏版。配方需要2磅多的草莓﹐比採收到的數量多﹐只好向超市購買填補了。吼~~~~加了黑胡椒跟新鮮薄菏熬煮的草莓果醬﹐味道質地口感比我從A.G. Ferrari花$8USD買的好許多。味道濃郁﹐果香襲人又隱約嘗到薄菏的香氣﹐都不知該如何形容才好了﹐我想還是你自己嘗味才行﹗
另一個清單上必試的水果食譜就是草莓風味的馬卡龍。翻過家裡所有和製作馬卡龍有關的書籍﹐居然記載的草莓馬卡龍配方都是香草馬卡龍加色素的做法﹐原來所謂的草莓馬卡龍根本只是指它的草莓餡心吧了﹗為了做出有著草莓香氣及味道的馬卡龍﹐在L’ Epicerie買來乾燥處理過的濃縮草莓粉來實驗。呵呵。。。這次烤的馬卡龍折損率偏低﹐我好像捉到竅門了﹗至於餡心﹐嘗試了新的配方﹐就是添加了草莓花茶的白巧克力甘納許﹐讓人吃的滿嘴是優雅迷人草莓奶香﹗為了讓草莓風味更濃郁突出﹐我將有著不同口感的草莓果醬跟甘納許一同作為餡心﹐組合成名符其實的草莓馬卡龍 =)
草莓風味馬卡龍 - 30個
Tant pour tant
待表面形成薄膜後用400°F/200°C烘烤2分鐘﹐然後迅速降溫到300°F/150°C繼續烘烤5分鐘。迅速取出烤盤各自覆上包裝鋁箔紙﹐放回烤箱時將烤盤調換 (上下烤架) 好 讓馬卡龍烤的均勻﹐再烘烤7分鐘﹐取出﹐放網架上靜置放涼後用抹刀取下﹐備用。
食譜源自果醬女主廚 Christine Ferber的Mes Confitures: The Jams and Jellies of Christine Ferber
2 ½磅 草莓
1 ¾杯 砂糖