All posts tagged: macarons

Dulce by Helen Vass

If you are a fan of the Glasgow food scene, then you may know Helen Vass. She is pastry chef at 2AA Rosette restaurant, Number 16, in the West End of the city. You may also know her from being part of the winning team of professional pastry chefs, along with Samantha Rain, winner of UK Junior Chocolate Master in 2014, and Mark Tilling, established chocolatier and UK Chocolate Master, teacher and pastry chef, who competed in Bake Off: Crème de la Crème earlier this year. Ever since her success in Bake Off, Helen has been in demand to share her desserts and expertise. And one of the routes that she has taken to reach this demand is to host dessert pop-up events in her home town of Glasgow. How she has manages to fit the preparation for such events into her schedule as a restaurant pastry chef is quite remarkable. I was fortunate to buy a ticket for her most recent pop-up, held in Studio 93 is Glasgow: a beautiful venue, tucked away beside …

Biscoff Macarons Heaven

Put your hands up if you like Lotus Biscoff spread? That Speculoos flavoured spread that only found its way in to our supermarkets a couple of years ago. Maybe you have only tried the Lotus biscuits: a sweet and caramelised crunch that dunks very easily in to a cup of tea or coffee. My daughter likes the biscuits, but *loves* the spread. It’s probably her all time favourite thing. She laughs in the face of Nutella but would give away her last colouring pencil for a spoon of “my favourite spread”. Last week I made 250 macarons. You would think I would have had enough of the things. In fact, I thought I had had enough of them. But, as the task of producing this massive order was coming to an end, I had this idea of making Biscoff flavoured macarons after seeing an online tutorial to make Oreo macarons. It didn’t take long to work out how I was going to fill them. Last winter, BBC Good Food printed a recipe for a Gingerbread Cake that …

Macathon

A few months ago I was asked by a friend of a friend to make some macarons for the evening reception of their wedding. I took on the task, not realising I’d be making 250 of the little blighters, in five different flavours. It also turned out to be the most humid and hot week of the year so far. It was quite the challenge and a macarons marathon. She chose four flavours that I was familiar with: White chocolate; Pistachio; Chocolate; and Lemon. However, she asked for one I hadn’t made before: Mojito. So, I did my research and tried out a couple of filling ideas. I had wanted to make a sugar syrup with real rum, mint and lime, but it just didn’t work. I reduced it to a sticky mess and the rum flavour just wasn’t coming through. In hindsight, I think I should have used a dark rum for a more rounded flavour. In the end, I used a rum flavouring. This is not the route I wanted to go down, …

Feeling Festive

Over the last few years it has become a tradition for me to make a Gingerbread House for my kids to decorate. Only two out of the three really like the taste of Gingerbread. But you see, it’s not about the Gingerbread: it’s about the sweets and icing; the edible glitter; and the fun and mess that we (they) make when decorating it. I use a BBC Good Food recipe (link at the bottom), that bakes into a tasty yet sturdy building, able to withstand a heavy handed toddler. Just remember to let the royal icing “cement” dry overnight. On a few occasions I’ve made a house, covered it in sweets, and donated it to my kids’ nursery or school. Money is easily raised by folk paying to guess how many sweets are on it. Yes, I do count them and yes, it’s a lot. If you plan to cover your Gingerbread House entirely in sweets, then make sure you buy lots of them. They probably won’t all make it on to the house. 😉 …

A 40th celebration in Pistachio, Raspberry and Rose

I shall try to keep this post brief. I should really be doing some of my Sunday chores in the house before heading out galavanting with my daughter to a Christmas craft fayre this afternoon. But I couldn’t wait to share the details of the cake that I made for my friend’s 40th birthday party last night, even if the photos are a bit ropey. I met this particular friend as a Glasgow Baking Club event at least a couple of years ago, and we share a common interest in baking and good food. She is an excellent and adventurous baker and first class cook who understands flavours very well. She wanted someone to make her special cake and charged her husband with the task of organising it with me. The only essential was that it was to be a fondant free zone. Very quickly, we came up with the idea of a Pistachio Cake filled with Raspberry and Rose Italian Meringue Buttercream and decorations of Meringues and Macarons. She had also expressed a desire …

A Vintage Wedding

The details of the bakes that Carly wanted may have changed a little since she first contacted me about making her wedding cake, but the overall feel of the day didn’t: she was going for a soft, vintage theme with creams, blush pink, roses, lace and natural decorative touches. And it was a *beautiful* wedding that Carly and Allan created together, held at The Brig 0′ Doon hotel in Ayrshire. Carly had a very clear vision of what she wanted for her main “cutting cake” and that was of a tall cake covered in dusky pink buttercream roses. She diligently sourced a beautiful, white cake stand and some very cute bride and groom bird cake toppers. Like more and more couples getting married, Carly and Allan wanted a Dessert Table in addition to a main wedding cake for that cake cutting moment. They love cake and wanted to share a selection of treats with their friends and family to fuel the evening’s celebrations and energetic dancing. In fact, some friends and family members contributed some …

Blondes do have more fun.

I think it was a few weeks ago when I first heard about Valrhona’s Blond Dulcey chocolate. Somebody on Instagram was talking about it; raving about its deep and sweet caramel notes. Having used Valrhona’s Caramelia chocolate in a few bakes (and nibbled a few morsels along the way) I was intrigued. Like all Valrhona chocolate, it does not come cheap, and I kept putting off ordering it and trying it out. Then I saw a couple of stunning creations on Instagram that were made with Dulcey and illustrated the rich colour of this confection. The images screamed “eat me!” So I bit the bullet and ordered a 250g bar. I knew what I wanted to make with this caramelised white chocolate in order to test its taste and its qualities in a simple form, and that was to make a ganache. And not in or on a cake but between two macarons. Macarons are the perfect carriage for ganache, creams and sweet butters. I was expecting the ganache to be very sweet (and I …