August 21, 2011

A Surprising Match Made in Heaven

I’ll be honest. I didn’t make these because I thought they would taste good. Well, let me back up. It’s not that I thought they would taste bad. Frozen yogurt and macarons just don’t usually fall into my I Love My Desserts Cakey and Doughy camp.

The real reason I made these was because I wanted to package them up cutely.

I have a weakness for sweets—or any food, really—wrapped up in waxed paper. I thought I could wrap these fro-yo sandwiches up in waxed paper—that was the real appeal when I ear-marked the recipe last weekend. And I’m embarrassed to report that I spent a good portion of last week thinking about cute pattered tape that I could also used to keep the waxed paper on tight. So, I was rather delighted when I found the perfect super cute polka dot masking tape at Paper Source on Friday afternoon (in colors that were perfect for summery fro-yo sandwiches, no less).

Delight quickly turned into disappointment when I got home, took the tapes out of the wrapper, smelled the chemically toxicity of them, and read “Warning: Do Not Use Except For Paper and Crafting.”

I momentarily considered whether this project could safely fall into a crafting bucket, decided against it, and pushed the tape aside.

But all was not lost. Lucky for me, I had some brightly colored twine as back-up!

So, I started the actual baking part of this project Friday night by straining the yogurt and making the rhubarb compote for the frozen yogurt. The compote was mighty delicious, and I was sad that all of it needed to go into the fro-yo.

Saturday morning the project continued with making the rest of the frozen yogurt, a project that went smoothly and quickly thanks to a recipe that, thank god, didn’t require I make a custard. (I get rather anxious over making custard because there are times when I do in fact end up with scrambled eggs despite my best efforts.) The yogurt-y mixture cooked and boiled as it was supposed to, chilled out in an ice bath, and churned away in the ice cream machine.

Next was the macarons. There was  a sick exactness to the macarons that I happened to love. The recipe started by asking me to trace a circle cookie cutter on parchment paper so that each macaron would be exactly the same size. Why, yes, that sounded like a fabulous idea.

And they were. The exact same size. I was in heaven.

At some point during this macaron-making process, I became more excited about these fro-yo sandwiches. I started to realize that the tartness from the frozen yogurt might really go nicely with the very sweet macarons.

A very methodical, albeit anal-retentive, assembly line ensued. Baked macarons were frozen. Fro-yo was taken out to soften. One by one, macarons were flipped over, topped with a scoop of fro-yo, and then very gently topped with another macaron. Each finished sandwich went onto a baking sheet in the freezer while the rest were assembled. They were all let to freeze for 20 minutes. Then, one by one they came out of the freezer to be wrapped in waxed paper and were returned to the freezer. And after another 20 minutes, they were one by one taken out of the freezer to be tied with green twine. I was not going to risk letting these pretty little babies melt.

At this point it was 4:00 pm and I was faced with a dilemma: have my fro-yo sandwich now or wait until after dinner?

After dinner it was.

And that was when my hunch was confirmed: tangy rhubarb frozen yogurt does go well with super sweet macarons. I outsmarted myself without even knowing it.

Macaron Ice Cream Sandwiches, Adapted slightly from Jeni’s Spledid Ice Creams at Home

Baked Rhubarb Frozen Yogurt

Frozen Yogurt Base:
1 qt plain yogurt
1 ½ c whole milk
2 tbsp cornstarch
4 tbsp cream cheese, softened
½ c heavy cream
2/3 c sugar
¼ c light corn syrup

Rhubarb Compote:
½ lb fresh rhubarb, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/3 c sugar

Drain yogurt in a sieve lined with two layers of cheesecloth (over a bowl) for 8 hours in the refrigerator. Measure out 1 ¼ c for the frozen yogurt.

To make compote, preheat oven to 300. Place rhubarb and sugar into small baking dish and stir to combine. Bake for about 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, until the rhubarb is soft enough that it is starting to fall apart, but still pink. Let cool completely before using (can be made ahead of time and refrigerated).

For the frozen yogurt base, stir together the cornstarch and 3 tbsp of milk in small bowl, and set aside.

Place softened cream in large bowl, and set aside.

Fill another large bowl with ice and water, and set aside.

Place the remaining milk, heavy cream, sugar, and corn syrup in a 4 qt saucepan and bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat. Boil for 4 minutes. Remove from heat and slowly whisk in the cornstarch and milk slurry. Bring the mixture back up to a boil and cook stirring continually, for about 1 minute until it thickens slightly. Remove from the heat.

Slowly whisk in the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese until there are no lumps. Add the yogurt and rhubarb compote, and mix to combine. Pour mixture into large Ziploc freezer bag and place in ice bath for 30 minutes, until the mixture is cool.

Pour mixture into ice cream machine, and churn for 30 minutes.

Place frozen yogurt in storage container, with sheet of parchment pressed down on frozen yogurt, and freeze until hardened.

Makes 1 quart.

Pink Macarons:
8 oz raw almonds
2 ½ c confectioners’ sugar
¾ c egg whites (6 eggs), room temp
¼ tsp sea salt
½ c plus 2 tbsp sugar
3 drops red food coloring

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a 2 to 2 ½ inch cookie cutter, trace the circles on the parchment to use as a guide to pipe out the macaron batter. Turn parchment over so that pencil marks are against the pan.

In a food processor, grind the almonds with ¼ c of the confectioners’ sugar until you have a fine nut flour (but not a paste!). Pulse in the rest of the confectioners’ sugar.

Whip the egg whites and salt in a stand mixer until frothy. With mixer running slowly, add the granulated sugar 1 tbsp at a time, and whip until shiny and there are medium peaks. This took me 5 minutes.

Carefully fold in 1/3 of the almond mixture. Repeat with the rest of the almond mixture, 1/3 at a time. Then fold in the food coloring.

Place batter in large Ziploc bag. Cut a tiny snip off the corner, and use the Ziploc as your pastry bag. Starting in the middle of each circle, pipe batter around until it reaches the edges of the drawn circles.

Let batter dry 30 minutes before placing in oven.

Preheat oven to 300.

Bake macarons for about 18 minutes, rotating half-way through. You want them to look slightly risen, and be crisp and set on top.

Let cool completely. Then freeze them on the baking sheets for a couple of hours.

(This made 12 sandwiches for me, with lots of batter leftover.)

1 comment: