Monday, September 5, 2011

Macarons (+ a contest)

UPDATE: Winner of this contest (chosen by a random number generator) is...KiaraLin.
Congratulations -- and please contact us via the email info. on our Blogger profile within the next 3 days in order to send your address and claim your prize. Thanks to all who participated!

In honor of the two exhibits making up A Very Impressionistic Summer at the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art and the Dixon Gallery & Gardens here in Memphis, we attempted the impossible: macarons. It is clear why well-made ones are so prized because this was not a simple task, and next time, our macarons will just have to (magically?) rise higher. Not bad for our first try, I suppose. However, this recipe gave us a good start, and we kept the macarons simply flavored with vanilla and filled with strawberries or pistachios.

CONTEST THIS WEEK: Memphians and those living close by, here's your chance to win museum tickets -- and a meal, too. Leave a comment on this post in response to the following question:

What's your favorite meat-free French dish or recipe? 

There are prizes for one commenter: a pair of tickets to each exhibition and now also a $50 gift certificate to The Brushmark Restaurant, located inside the Brooks Museum. The winner's name will be drawn randomly by Thursday night, and at that point, we will announce the winner and arrange to mail the prizes. Both shows run through October 9, and if you haven't stopped by to see them, they are absolutely stunning. Go!

Macaron Fillings:

Strawberry-Balsamic Jam

1 1/2 cups strawberries (diced)
1/4 cup cane sugar
juice from half a lemon
1/4 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and heat stovetop to medium. Stir often and cook for 20-30 minutes until cooked down to the consistently of jam. Set aside to cool. Add vinegar and stir.

Pistachio Buttercream

1/4 cup pistachios
2 tablespoons butter
1/8 cup confectioner's sugar
pinch of sea salt

Combine all ingredients in the food processor and chill for at least an hour before using.

(Pistache Pastry's macarons were our first introduction to the pastry, and they are well worth trying. Check out all the wonderful flavors...)