Celebrating Food! Celebrating Life!

Pierre Hermé’s Macaron Mogador

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Haven’t made macarons in quite a while now. I think I need to make it a point to go through it periodically. Macs are so temperamental and finicky that one can never be really sure he’s gotten them right. Going feetless, erupted tops, burnt shells, soggy bottoms are just some of the ways they would throw tantrums and get back at us in “silent protest” for the neglect and being all assuming with the “if you think you know me, well you don’t!” So drama huh? Well… ask a macaron maker and I’m pretty sure that he would have his own version of “Tales of Mac Macabre” to tell.

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“Mogador” is an immensely popular macaron flavour in Pierre Hermé’s patisseries all over Paris and Tokyo, only to be very quickly mimicked by bakers and macaron makers all over the world. The pairing of milk chocolate with passionfruit juice is indeed quite amazing! I’d made it a few months back and thought it would be good to fine-tune it a bit this time round to suit my own tastebuds. Afterall, macarons flavours can take both ends of the spectrum, being highly generic with your run-in-the-mill chocolate,  strawberry or vanilla, or being highly personal, so as to satisfy one’s idiosyncracies and quirks for what one deems as a pleasurable palate experience.
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Dusting the drying shells with cocoa powder, doing it so ever gingerly…

In the past, the use of milk chocolate was generally frowned upon in the art of pastry making. The last thing classical patissiers (read: purists) would want, is to be associated with a cadbury bar. Then Pierre Hermé came along and basically threw quite a few things out of the window, tearing down long withstanding pinnacles of traditional pastry making and revolutionising the craft. While he’s better known as the Picasso of pastry-making, I kinda like to think of him as a “Derrida“.

Plaisir Sucré, one of his signatures alongside the Ispahan, shocked (and shook!) the french culinary circle when it was first conceptualised, with the bold use of milk chocolate. Lo and behold, that freaking little piece actually worked! Now in retrospect, Pierre Hermé was probably taking an enormous risk there, putting himself in a “make or break” kinda situation. What’s life without one of these things that make you sit tightly on the edge of the chair yeah?

Macaron Mogador is an extension of such risk-taking moments, the amalgamation of chocolate with passionfruit. I presume that Pierre Hermé must have picked up this trait during his stint at Lenôtre. Afterall, his mentor Monsieur Gaston was well-known for his ingenuity of incorporating exotic fruits into pastry-making. The late gentleman would have been proud to see how his protégé has inherited this passion and pushed its limits making it literally borderless!
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Valrhona’s dutch-processed cocoa powder… crème de la crème

Ingredients (makes about 72 macarons), from Pierre Herme’s “Macarons”
  • For Macaron Shell
  • 300g ground almond
  • 300g icing sugar
  • 110g ‘liquefied’ egg whites
  • 5g lemon yellow food coloring
  • 0.5g red food coloring ( or ½ tsp ) (I omitted both and used Wilton’s yellow food coloring instead)
  • For Italian meringue
  • 300g sugar
  • 75g  water
  • 110g ‘liquefied’ egg whites
  • For Ganache
  • 100g unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 550g Valrhona Chocolate Jivara ( 40% cocoa solid )
  • 10 passion fruits ( need 250g passion fruit juice )
  • To finish
  • Cocoa powder

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Chopping up shards of an assortment of Valrhona – Jivara was really pale I thought, with Caraïbe (behind) and Guanaja (on top) looking on…

Instructions
For Macaron Shells
  1. Sift icing sugar with ground almond to make “tant pour tant”
  2. Stir the food coloring in the first portion of egg white and pour over the sugar-almond mixture without mixing
  3. Boil water and sugar to 118°C
  4. Once the syrup is at 115°C, simultaneously start whisking second egg whites to soft peaks
  5. When the sugar reached 118°C, pour it over the egg whites little by little. Whisk and allow the meringue to cool to 50°C, then fold it into the ground almond-sugar mixture.
  6. Spoon the batter into a piping bad fitted with a plain nozzle.
  7. Pipe rounds of batter about 3.5 cm in diameter and spacing them 2 cm apart on baking trays lined with parchment paper.
  8. Rap the baking trays gently on the work surface covered with a kitchen cloth.
  9. With a sieve, sprinkle the shells with a light dusting of cocoa powder
  10. Leave the shells to stand for at least 30 minutes until they form a skin.
  11. Preheat oven to 180°C and put the tray into the oven and bake for 12 min quickly opening and shutting the oven door twice during the cooking time. Our of the oven, slide the shells on to the work surface.
  12. Do not remove from the sheet until they are completely cooled
For the ganache
  1. Cut butter into pieces. Chop the chocolate with a serrated knife.
  2. Halve the passion fruitand scoop out the pulp and strain to obtain 250g of juice.
  3. Weigh the juice and take it to a boil.
  4. Partially melt the chopped chocolate in a saucepan over a pan of barely simmering water (bain marie). Pour in juice 3 times over the chocolate
  5. When the mixture temperature is at 60°C,  add the butter pieces a few at a time. Stir until the ganache is smooth.
  6. Pour into a dish. Cover the ganache by pressing clingfilm over the surface. Set aside in the fridge for the ganache to thicken.
  7. Pour the ganache into a pastry bag and use a plain nozzle.
  8. Pipe a generous mould of ganache on to half of the shells. Top with remaining shells.
  9. Store the macarons for 24 hours in the fridge and bring out 2 hours before serving.

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Mélange of chocolate shards to be melted over bain marie.

Reflections and Modifications
The milk chocolate and passionfruit pairing is really good, refreshing to say the least, but being a darker chocolat noir lover, Valrhona’s Jivara  chocolat au lait (40% cocoa solids) was a tad too cloyingly sweet for me. So I replaced 25% of the chocolate used by mass in the ganache with a slightly darker Caraïbe at 66% cocoa solids. That worked very well for me, redeeming part of the ganache’s sweetness and at the same time making it more full-bodied. I like this better as the astringency of the passionfruit really cuts through the mingling of bitterness and sweetness from the mélange of chocolates used. I would advise those interested, to make the original recipe first and decide if you like it before making further adjustments. That would only be to do Pierre Herme justice as Jivara and passionfruit is his intended pairing afterall.

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Ziploc bags of frozen passion fruit pulp in the fridge. Seem to be quite unnecessary as this tropical fruit seem to be available all year round.

The recipe mentioned to dust the shells with cocoa powder after piping and then leaving them to dry. I basically reversed the order, i.e. leaving the shells to dry in an air-conditioned room for about 20 min or so before dusting on the cocoa powder and the logical is simple. The consistency of the batter depends on a myriad of factors, initial moisture levels of ingredients (especially the egg whites), the cooking process of making the sucre le cuit, macaronnage technique are just some probable causes. The batter would have a greater tendency to spread if its on the thin and runny side after (overdone) macaronnage. Dusting cocoa powder on the freshly piped shells would have two consequences. (1) the cocoa powder would dampen and become smudgy as the batter spreads. But its just a matter of aesthetics. (2) the cocoa powder absorbs moisture from the shells and affects the drying process. For me, the latter would be detrimental.

While some might advocate the redundancy of drying the shells after piping, this is a crucial step for me. For them, it has probably got to do with a modification to their oven technique, e.g. turning on the oven to a high temperature of 200°C and then turning it off quickly once the baking trays are in for 8-10 min for the drying of shell tops and formation of feet, before starting up the oven again at a lower temperature, i.e. 140-160°C. This “rapid drying” method works well too and saves one the hassle of drying them out over the kitchen surface and more importantly, time. This is especially good if one needs to bake large batches of macarons at one go. Try both methods and be your own judge to see whichever works for you better. For me it has to be the “al naturale” one. :)
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Trickling boiled passionfruit juice over the melted chocolate while mixing thoroughly at the same time. This prevents the melted chocolate from seizing with the additional moisture incorporated.
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Making sure that the ganache runs smooth and glossy before cooling it down.
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Macaron Mogador anyone? :)

Other related posts:
Macaron Montebello
Tarte Ispahan
Macaron Satine and the PH Macaron Project
Pierre Herme’s Ispahan

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28 responses

  1. Beautiful! I just ordered PH’s Macaron book in English this morning. Shipping takes forever, I will probably get it around Christmas time and I can’t wait! Soon, I will follow your footstep in trying out the recipes. I wish I can make mine as pretty as yours

    November 17, 2011 at 8:27 am

    • Alan (travellingfoodies)

      eh? where did you order from? amazon? should be a jiffy yeah?

      the macs you make are very pretty already !!! love your mascarpone cream cheese cake. so much detail inside!

      November 17, 2011 at 10:38 am

  2. deliver to imm pretty please!

    November 17, 2011 at 9:35 am

    • Alan (travellingfoodies)

      so faaaaaaaaarrrrr….. free macs still need to come with free delivery.. TSK!!!! LOL

      November 17, 2011 at 10:38 am

  3. 1. Where do you live? Can I come pick some up? I will pay.
    2. A noir chocolate lover myself, I wouldn’t settle for 40% only so your mixture was good. Which brings us to this again, where do you live? :D

    November 17, 2011 at 11:42 am

    • Alan (travellingfoodies)

      haha I’m in Sengkang. anyone nearby??? :p

      we can always meet up and exchange bakes over a cuppa or something. i think that would be nice.

      November 17, 2011 at 3:58 pm

  4. I suggest bookdepository! I got mine at $25 + US dollars ! very good job on the macs as usual alan !

    November 17, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    • Alan (travellingfoodies)

      Thanks Jacob. :)

      I got my copy over bookdepository too! It was so cheap then with the pre-order yes!

      November 17, 2011 at 4:17 pm

  5. this looks really good. i attempted once but i didnt use milk but dark, and the taste was so subtle. guess i gotta make it again! :)

    November 17, 2011 at 5:09 pm

    • Alan (travellingfoodies)

      hey michelle! I saw your blogpost on macaron mogador and they look really good too! try a mixture of milk and dark. works really well for me.

      love your triple chocolate praline tart btw!

      November 17, 2011 at 5:31 pm

  6. Perfect Macarons, Alan! Look store bought from PH’s patisserie!

    November 17, 2011 at 5:42 pm

    • Alan (travellingfoodies)

      haha thanks shirley! that’s a big compliment!

      November 17, 2011 at 7:00 pm

  7. you see, each time i come and read, i will discover something to learn..here is about drying the shells and or you called that ‘ rapid drying’ as in your post. But if i were to make macarons one day, i will follow what most of you did ie to let them dry outside. Thanks again for sharing such valuable notes!

    November 17, 2011 at 8:54 pm

    • Alan (travellingfoodies)

      thanks lena! you are too kind! I learnt a lot from reading your blog too! especially recipes which I’d never tried before. thanks for sharing too!

      November 17, 2011 at 10:28 pm

  8. In order to have better control over the moisture (especially of the egg whites), it is recommended to store them in a towel-covered bowl on the kitchen counter for 24-48 hours. This aging process helps to get rid of excess humidity. It can be a critical step for those making macarons in a pretty humid athmosphere (or climate in general).
    Thanks for posting.

    November 18, 2011 at 2:34 am

    • Alan (travellingfoodies)

      yup indeed! and that’s precisely what Pierre Herme meant by “liquefied egg whites”, i.e. to sit the egg whites in a bowl covered with a layer of clingfilm with several holes made into it in the fridge for several days, thus allowing the egg whites to lose their elasticity as the albumen breaks down aking them easier to whisk.

      Egg whites which have been frozen for months are just as good and these macarons were made using such. :)

      And there are of course other means of stabilising the meringue, like using powdered egg white or even cream of tartar. I’d tried all these methods and they work very well :)

      Thanks for dropping by!

      November 18, 2011 at 3:04 am

  9. nice! i’m going to make mogador tonight since the passionfruits should be ripe enough by now.. ah!! but no milk chocolate. ppfftt

    November 21, 2011 at 11:55 am

    • Alan (travellingfoodies)

      ah… try to get some la… maybe a cadbury bar? LOL

      November 22, 2011 at 1:13 am

  10. hi, may i know where did u get the box to store the macarons? thanks (:

    December 10, 2011 at 2:44 pm

    • Alan (travellingfoodies)

      Hi Agnes. The box is recycled from a box of macarons my sis brought back from Grand Hyatt Jakarta. :)

      December 14, 2011 at 12:59 pm

  11. Alan, you my Macaron HERO! Frankly you have inspired me to make my macs. As you know I failed several times before I succeeded and still fail even after succeeded three times so far. LOL! Then, when I see yours so perfectly done, I want to make some more but I don’t know when my macs will come out so stunning ang gorgeous like yours… not even taking consideration of the taste and mouth feel!

    December 11, 2011 at 12:41 pm

  12. Pingback: Pierre Hermé’s Ispahan « travellingfoodies

  13. Pingback: Pierre Herme’s Macaron Mogador; Passionfruit and milk chocolate | The Sweet Spot

  14. Pingback: Pierre Hermé’s Macaron Jardin Enchanté – a reconstruction « travellingfoodies

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  16. These look awesome, love reading through your blog.
    I am also making Pierre herme’s creations and made his Mogador macaron the other day.
    Check it out

    http://sosweetpatissier.blogspot.com.au/2012/09/pierre-herme-mogador-macaron.html

    September 17, 2012 at 6:54 pm

  17. Pingback: Macarons from Pierre Hermé @ Hong Kong IFC | travellingfoodies

  18. Pingback: Chocolate Macarons Recipe, Tips and Troubleshooting

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