Friday, March 4, 2011

Try It If You Dare

My friend loves olives. When we were in Spain back in the days, where olives are huge and juicy and different from what we can get in North America, every time we eat out she could eat the whole plate all by herself.

I was looking at my recipe books for baking inspirations the other day, and I came across a picture of olive macarons. Olives and macarons? Really? Sure enough, the recipe describes as olive macaron with olive white chocolate ganache. Unlike the typical use of olive oil in olive tasting desserts, this recipe actually calls for dehydrated olives. I thought of my olive loving friend and decided to give it a try.

The recipes from that particular book is quite advanced and my success rate has been low. Therefore it's time to whip out my I Love Macarons book, and adjust the flavouring accordingly.

I couldn't estimate how salty the olives will be, and therefore didn't adjust the amount of sugar. It was a little bit on the sweet side to my liking. I was afraid the white chocolate ganache will make the macs way too sweet.  Then my bf C walked by the kitchen and dropped me an idea: can you fill it with balsamic vinegar?

So there you have it, olive macarons with balsamic buttercream. I was skeptical about the result, but turns out a very interesting combination. My guinea pig actually came back for seconds.

Olive Macaron with Balsamic Buttercream
Olive Macaron
(adapted from I Love Macarons)

85g ground almonds
150g icing sugar
3 large egg whites, room temperature
64g granulated sugar
10g dehydrated olives, minced (see note below)

1. In a food processor, grind almonds and icing sugar together to a fine powder. Sift the mixture to fully incorporate. Add minced dehydrated olives. Mix and set aside.
2. In a stainless steel mixing bowl (or copper bowl), beat egg whites on high speed until they are foamy. Gradually add the granulated sugar to the egg whites and beat until the meringue is stiff and glossy.

3. Add the sifted almonds and icing sugar to the meringue in two batches. Fold it in with a spatular while scooping it up from the bottom of the bowl.
4. Fold mixture lightly until the dry ingredients are fully incorporated. Then keep folding slowly, one stroke at a time, until you get to the right consistency. The batter should be firm and drips slowly from the spatula. Do not over mix or the macarons will be flat or have no feet.
5. Using a piping bag, pipe the batter on a parchment lined tray. Let dry until the top is dry to touch, about 20 to 30 minutes depending on the humidity.
6. At the mean time, turn on your oven to 300F.
7. When the batter is dry to touch, put the tray in the oven and bake for 18 to 20 minutes. (All ovens are different, please adjust accordingly. The book recommends 375F, 15 to 18 minutes with a double tray. For my oven, I put the tray at the lowest rack in a 300F oven and they are fine.)
8. To check if the macs are done, it should be firm to touch and not jiggle. The macs should be easily peeled off from the parchment paper. If it sticks to the paper, give me a few more minutes in the oven.

Note: to dehydrated olives, put drained, sliced olives on a single layer on a parchment lined baking tray. Put them in the oven with the lowest setting (mine was at 170F) for 3 hours. Toss twice during dehydration.

Balsamic Swiss Meringue Buttercream
(adated from Swiss Meringue Buttercream from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes)
1 large egg white
1/6 cup sugar
pinch of salt
0.2lb butter
4 to 6 teaspoons of balsamic glace

1. Combine egg white, sugar and salt in a heat proof bowl over simmering water. Whisk constantly by hand until mixture is warm to the touch and sugar has dissolved.
2. Take the bowl off the simmering water and beat with a hand held mixer until stiff peaks form. Continue mixing until the mixture is fluffy and glossy, and completely cool.
3. With the mixer running, add the butter a tablespoon at a time, mixing well after each addition. Whisk until fully incorporated. Add Balsamic glaze to taste. It should taste slightly tart with vagrant balsamic smell.


  1. Actually, I think the convo went something like this:

    Me: Why don't you try something sour?
    Her: Wouldn't that taste funny?
    Me: Would probably work better than "sweet, sweet, sweet" if it was white chocolate. Oh, how bout balsamic vinegar?
    Her: Lemme think about it :)

  2. Oh... these are just too gorgeous! I think this is the most interesting combination for French macarons.

  3. u have 4 more guinea pigs waiting in line!

  4. When you say 'balsamic glaze' is that like a balsamic reduction?

  5. Such an interesting combination. I am impressed! Love your pictures too!

  6. The macarons fever has reached our seems like everyone is making macarons here! Yours look really good!

  7. Wow, what an interesting macaron flavor! I cannot wait to try them!

  8. Your macarons look gorgeous and you have a really interesting combination here! Lovely touch with the balsamic.

  9. Thank you all for your comments!
    @The Bionic Belly: Yes, Balsamic glaze is balsamic reduction. You can either make your own or buy commercial balsamic glaze. Although if you make your own you might have to adjust the amount of sugar, depending on the taste of your balsamic.

  10. Woooooooooooooooow! I am also a huge olive fan, and I've really wanted to try making macarons! This I MUST give a try, thanks for sharing!

    These look beautiful, by the way!


  11. comments from all 4 guinea pigs r overwhelmingly good! refreshing taste! big success! any leftovers r always welcomed at our house. jenn said it's the best macaron she had ever tasted!!!!



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