Saturday, July 24, 2010
Milk jam and a baby
Most of the time I am fine with my sisters living far away. And by fine I mean that I learned to accept it over the years, learned to not wake up and wish they were a little closer. But sometimes, something happens that shift my world a little (good or bad) and make me wish until I ache that they were closer...
Recently my sister had a little girl and boy did I wish I could be there. It was one of those times that the distance between here and her could just as well have been the distance between here and the son; equally unreachable. Equally untouchable.
My mom is there and my dad spends his days here at my house working away the hours and occasionally staring blankly into space and wondering how his new grandchild smells and how the other one would feel in his arms. But all along, we both just wish that we could share some of the magic.
And when all else fails, of course I bake. Bake something to celebrate the happiness of a new baby. A beautiful, little girl who is healthy and loved and, well perfect!
Milk jam is a perfectly french thing that I had years ago while in scouting supermarket isles in France. It is jam made of milk, but does not resemble jam at all. It is like custard in a jar, but more like caramel without the sweetness of caramel. It is the sort of thing you just have to stick a spoon into and lick away.
And then of course macarons need no introduction and is probably the best way to celebrate the birth of a little girl. Don't you agree that they are just the girliest concoction? I always, always opt for Cannelle et Vanille's recipe. There are so many blogs and websites devoted to these, but I experimented with all of these, but found that the added meringue powder in this recipe seems to do the trick. But before you pull your hair out trying to get to the bottom of these, read here and here as well.
Milk jam (also from Cannelle et Vanille)
150 grams organic heavy cream
1/4 vanilla bean, scraped
40 grams sugar
25 grams condensed milk
25 grams dry milk
300 grams organic whole milk
1 sheet gelatin
Place the first six ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about an hour until left with 300 grams of liquid.
Once you have 300 grams of the reduced liquid, softened the gelatin in ice water and add it to the hot liquid. Strain the base through a sieve and pour into the jam jars. Let it cool before refrigerating it.
240 g icing sugar
180 g almonds
140 g egg whites (most people prefer to age the whites for 5 days, but I just take the eggs out of the fridge a few hours before starting to the process)
3 g meringue powder
80 g castor sugar
pinch of salt
a few drops of food coloring
Put the icing sugar and the almonds (raw, shelled) in a food processor and process for a few minutes until very finely ground. Sieve and blitz the almonds that did not go through the sieve in a coffee grinder.
Whisk the egg white and meringue powder on a medium speed until foamy and then start to add the castor sugar until well incorporated. Increase the speed and whisk until the egg whites reach the stiff peak stage. This is important, stiff peak stage! No add the food coloring. Add all the almond flour mixture at once and stir a few times to break down some of the air bubbles. Then fold the remainder in (about ten folds).
Pipe onto a baking sheet lined baking paper or non-stick mat and let sit for about 40 minutes before baking for 15 minutes at 150°C. Let cool on the non-stick mat and spoon a teaspoon of milk jam onto one half and add the other half.
125g butter, room temperature
125g castor sugar
125g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp milk
Preheat the oven to 200°C and line a muffin pan with cupcake moulds.
Combine all the ingredients, except the milk in a food processor and mix until well combined. Add enough milk to form a smooth batter. Spoon into cupcake moulds and bake for 15 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool on a cooling rack.
70g butter, room temperature
4 tbsp condensed milk
2 cups icing sugar
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
a few drops boiling water
Whisk the butter until pale and fluffy. Add the condensed milk and mix. Add the icing sugar in batches with some of the water and vanilla until well combined and fluffy. Place in an icing bag with a large star tip and decorate the cupcakes.