Croquetas

CroquetasIt has been exactly one year since we started Dulce and Salado, sharing our first post – Empanadas de Queso – with all of you… We’ve had an incredible year – we both moved on to new jobs, we took our first big trip together, we got one year older and we took an alarming number of photos of our food.  We’ve had a great time cataloguing our favorite dishes and we feel like we are just getting started…. so we have a lot more to come.  

These croquetas for example, were added to our list of ‘to post‘ items shortly after our trip to Spain last fall.  We had the incredible opportunity to visit some friends of ours who are currently calling Barcelona and Granada home right now, and we had tonnes of fun eating and drinking through as much as we could.  The tapas experience was our favorite, especially in Granada, which it turns out is one of the last places in Spain where every bar offers a tapa included with your drink.  Many places go so far as to allow you to select which tapa you want to try.  The tapas are substantial too, for close to a week we went out for ‘dinner‘ and never officially ordered any food – hey – we were on vacation!

Croquetas like these are quite versatile, They are essentially made of béchamel mixed with cheese and jamón, breaded and fried.  You can change up the cheese or the filling if you like, but as we are paying tribute to our Spanish adventure we’ve used Manchego cheese and Jamón serrano.  While both available here in Vancouver they hold a premium price tag so it is good these don’t use too much of either, enough for the flavor, but not so much that we can’t keep saving for our next trip to Spain.  I have to reminisce how one night in Barcelona we went to a department store – El Corte Inglés – to pick up some snacks for the evening – a large package of Jamón Ibérico, a package of sliced Chorizo, a large wedge of Manchego, and two bottles of wine and it cost less than 20 euros… te extrano España de verdad! 

Coming full circle here, these croquetas are quite a bit like our first post – they are filled with cheese and fried in oil.  Providing you don’t burn them, they will go over well with most people you invite over.  They make a great tapa as you only need a couple since they are so rich, and they pair perfectly with a glass of wine or a cold beer.

Amigos… Provecho! 

Ingredients / Ingredientes

  • 3 1/2 tbsps butter / cucharadas de mantequilla
  • 2 tbsp olive oil / cucharadas de aceite de oliva
  • 2/3 cup flour (plus an extra 1/2 cup for coating) / taza de harina ( más 1/2 taza extra)
  • 1 1/4 cups milk / tazas de leche
  • salt and pepper / sal y pimienta
  • 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg / cucharilla de nuez moscada
  • 3-4 slices of serrano ham, roughly chopped / rebanadas de jamón serrano, cortado finamente
  • 1 1/2 ounces finely grated manchego cheese / onzas de queso manchego rallado
  • 1 large egg / huevo
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs / taza de harina de pan

Instructions / Instrucciones

  • Melt the butter with the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat / Derretir la mantequilla con el aceite de oliva en una olla grande sobre fuego medio.
  • Once melted, add flour, a tablespoon at a time, stirring after each addition until it is well combined / Después agregar poco a poco la harina, mezclando todo bien hasta que todo esté combiando.

Béchamel for croquetas

  • Once all the flour is added, begin by adding a splash of milk, and continue stirring.  Add more and more milk, stirring as you go until the mixture is completely smooth and all the milk is added / Poco a poco agregar la leche y mezclar hasta que la mezcla este suave y toda la leche esté incorporada.
  • Cook the mixture, continuing to stir for a few minutes longer, until the mixture thickens up / Continuar cocinando la mezcla por unos minutos más hasta que la mezcla esté espesa.
  • Season to taste with a pinch of salt, some freshly ground pepper, the grated nutmeg and the cheese.  Take the pan off the heat and allow to cool / Sazonar con una pizca de sal y pimienta, luego agregar la nuez moscada y el queso rallado. Sacar del fuego y dejar enfriar.

season the mixture

  • Add the chopped ham, mix together, cover the mixture in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about an hour / Agregar el jamón y mezclar todo. Colocar la mezcla en un recipiente y cubirirlo, dejar en el refrigerador por una hora.
  • Using a couple of large spoons, form the mixture into croquetas and then prepare three plates or bowls for breading them – one for the flour, another for the beaten egg, and one for the breadcrumbs / Con unas cucharas transformar la mezcla en forma de croquetas. Prepara tres platos: uno con la harina, otro con el huevo batido y otro con la harina de pan.
  • Roll the croquetas first in the flour, then in the egg, and finally in the breadcrumbs, coating them evenly and place on a plate while you prepare the rest / Colocar las croquetas pirmero en la harina, luego en el huevo y por último en la harina de pan.
  • Fill a pan with a couple of inches of canola oil for frying and place over medium high heat / Llenar una olla con un par de pulgadas de aceite para freír a fuego medio-alto

breading and frying

  • Once the oil is approximately 350 degrees, begin to fry the croquetas, turning over as needed to brown evenly – they should be fully browned in 2-3 minutes.  Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel lined plate to absorb excess oil / Cuando en aceite alcanze la temperatura de 350 grados tienes que comezar a freir las croquetas por 2 o 3 minutos hasta que estén doradas. Sacar del aceite y colocarlas sobre papel para sacar el exceso de aceite.
  • Sprinkle with some extra salt and serve immediately / Colocar un poco de sal y servir inmediatamente.

Croquetas... Provecho!

Raspberry and Lemon Macarons

Raspberry and Lemon MacaronsOver the past few years, a small obsession of mine has been learning to make these French cookies at home.  Me and Fabio used to buy a few of these from the French bakery on Granville island for special occasions, and as much as I loved them, I couldn’t justify the cost for anything more frequent.  

Macarons are made of simple ingredients – egg whites, almonds, powdered and granulated sugar – yet it is the process and technique of combining these ingredients that transforms them into something worthy of their premium price as a macaron.  An ideal macaron will have a smooth shiny shell, an even ruffled ‘foot’ a chewy meringue texture and will sandwich a smooth flavorful ganache or buttercream. 

My first attempt at making these at home, I quickly learned why these cookies are renowned for their complexity and command their premium price – my first batch was a disaster, the meringue completely deflated while baking and I was left with a sheet of meringues that were flat, misshapen, and full of holes.  Fortunately, I could only improve from there, and since that sad day in the kitchen, I certainly have.  

Most recently, I have been using the following recipe from Bouchon Bakery.  It is incredibly precise (e.g. 212 grams of almond flour) but it works so well, I highly recommend it to anyone taking on their first batch of Macarons.  You do need a scale, stand mixer, and candy thermometer – but provided you follow these steps, plan ahead, and take your time, you can make these yourself as well.  Enjoy!

Lemon Macaron

Ingredients / Ingredientes

Macarons

  • 212 grams Almond Flour / gramos de harina de almendra
  • 212 grams powdered sugar / gramos de azúcar
  • 82 grams egg whites / gramos de claras de huevos
  • 90 grams egg whites / gramos de claras de huevos
  • 236 grams sugar / gramos de azúcar impalpable o en polvo
  • 158 grams water / gramos de agua

Buttercream / Crema de mantequilla

  • 75 grams egg whites / gramos de claras de huevos
  • 150 grams sugar / gramos de azúcar
  • 33 grams sugar / gramos de azúcar
  • 42 grams water / gramos de agua
  • 227 grams unsalted butter (room temperature) / gramos de mantequilla sin sal (temperatura ambiente)

Instructions / Instrucciones

  • Prepare the baking sheets with parchment paper and trace your ideal size macaron with a cookie cutter and a fine tip sharpie marker.  Space at least 1 inch apart from each other.  Flip parchment over so that the marked side faces down / Preparar las bandejas para poner al horno con papel pergamino y dibujar círculos del tamaño que quieras los macarons que sean. Entre círculos dejar un espacio de 1 pulgada ya que los macarons puden expandirse al hornear.  Volcar el papel de manera que la marca del marcador este orientada hacia abajo.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (if you have a convection oven) or 400 degrees (if it is a regular like ours) / Calentar el horno a 350 grados si es que tienes un horno de convección, si no es asi puedes calentar el horno a 400 grados.
  • Grind the almond flour in a food processor or blender, then sift into a large bowl.  Sift the powdered sugar in with the almond flour and whisk together to combine well / Triturar la harina de almendras en un procesador de alimentos o licuadora, luego colar la harina en un recipiente grande. Colar también el azúcar en polvo con la harina de almendras y mezclar para combinar bien.
  • Make a well in the almond/sugar mixture, leaving a layer of the mixture at the bottom of the well and pour in the 82 grams of egg whites, mix everything together with a spatula / Hacer un hueco en la mezcla de azúcar y almendra, dejando una capa de la mezcla en la parte inferior del hueco y colocar los 82 gramos de claras de huevo, mezclar todo junto con una espátula.

macaron batter

  • Place the 90 grams of egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment / Colocar los 90 gramos de claras de huevo en el recipiente de una batidora de pie con el instrumento o gancho para batir.
  • Combine the granulated sugar and the water in a saucepan with a candy thermometer attached and heat over high heat until the syrup reaches 203 degrees F / Colocar el agua y el azúcar en una olla con un termómetro, hervir en fuego alto hasta el que termómetro alcanze la temperatura de 203 F.
  • Once the syrup reaches 203 F turn on the mixer and add a pinch of sugar, whisk the whites on medium.  Ideally they will be at the soft peak stage by the time the sugar syrup is ready.  Keep an eye on the whites, if they reach soft peaks before the sugar syrup is at the ideal temperature (248 degrees F) then reduce the mixer speed to low just to keep the whites moving / Al momento que el agua y el azúcar alcanzen los 203 F agregar una pizca de azúcar y poner a trabajar la batidora. Lo ideal es que la mezcla este en una etapa de picos blandos (punto de nieve) en el momento que el jarabe de agua y azúcar esté listo (248 F). Este atento en la batidora ya que si la mezcla llega a un punto de nieve antes de que el jarabe esté listo tienes que reducir la velocidad de la batidora para que sólo este en movimiento.
  • Once the syrup reaches 248 degrees F – put the mixer on medium low speed and slowly add the syrup.  Increase the speed to medium and whip for 5 minutes, until the bowl whites hold stiff glossy peaks and the meringue has cooled / Cuando el jarabe alcanze los 248 F, poner la batidora en velocidad media baja y gentilmente agregar el jarabe a la batidora. Aumente la velocidad a medio y batir por 5 minutos hasta que el merengue no este caliente y firme.

Macaronage

  • Begin by folding one third of the meringue into the almond flour – sugar – egg white mixture.  Continue adding more and more whites, using a spatula to fold the ingredients together.  Each time I’ve made these I’ve needed to use all the meringue, but its important to know what you are looking for in a consistency of the batter.  Ideally as you fold the mixture over itself, the ribbon will slowly sink into the batter, it shouldn’t be too firm nor too loose (but on the firm side is preferred to a batter that dissolves into itself too quickly) / Comenzar agregando y envolviéndo gentilmente un tercio del merengue en la mezcla de hariana y azúcar y clara de huevo. Usa una espátula. Continúa poco a poco agregando más merengue a la mezcla. El resultado no debe ser ni tan firme y ni tan blando.
  • At this point you can separate the batter into bowls and color as you wish.  If you are making raspberry and lemon macarons then split the batter in two and color with food coloring, mixing well to incorporate the color consistently / Puedes separar en diferentes recipientes la mezcla y colocar los colores que quieras.

colored batter and piped on to parchment

  • Transfer the macaron mixture to a pastry bag with a 1/2 inch tip attached.  Pipe the mix onto the parchment filling up one of the pre-drawn circles.  As the mixture fills out to the edges of the circle, lift up and flick the tip away from the macaron.  If this creates a bump on the top, it can be smoothed down gently with a wet fingertip / Transferir la mezcla a una manga pastelera y comezar a hacer los macarons. Si se forma  una bolita  en la parte superior no te preocupes ya que con un dedo mojado con agua puedes gentilmente presionar hasta que esté plano y suave.
  • Continue filling all the circles on the prepared parchment until the batter is all used up  / Rellenar todos los círculos hasta acabar la mezcla.
  • Tap the sheet pan on the counter a couple of times to help smooth the batter and release any air bubbles should there be any / Golpear la bandeja en una superficie plana, esto ayudará a que la mezcla de macarons saque algunas burbujas de aire.
  • Bake for 8-10 minutes in a convection oven, or if using a regular oven, once the macarons are inside, reduce the temperature to 325 and bake for 9-12 minutes  / En un horno de convección hornear los macarons por 8-10 minutos. Si tienes un horno regular , bajar al temperatura a 325 en cuanto los macarons estén dentro del horno y hornearlos por 9-12 minutos.
  • The tops will be smooth and set, and the bottoms should have the ruffled ‘foot’ but should not be browned at all  / La parte superior debe estar suave y lista y la parte inferior debe como lo ves en las fotos y no dorado para nada.

Buttercream / Crema de mantequilla

  • Place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk / Colocar las claras de huevos en un recipiente de una batidora de pie con el instrumento o gancho para batir.
  • Mix the sugar and water in a saucepan fitted with a candy thermometer and place over medium-high heat.  Simmer until the syrup is 230 degrees F / Poner el agua y el azúcar en una olla con un termómetro en fuego medio hasta que el jarabe alcanze la temperatura de 230 F.
  • Turn the mixer on at this point and whisk at medium speed, pouring in the remaining 33 grams of sugar as they whip to loose peaks  / En ese mismo momento poner la batidora a trabajar en velocidad medio y  colocar los 33 gramos restantes de azúcar

filling the macarons

  • Once the syrup reaches 248 degrees F, remove from the heat, turn the mixer on to medium low and slowly pour the syrup into the whites, increase the speed to medium high and continue to whisk for 15 minutes – until the bottom of the bowl is at room temperature  / Al momento el cual el jarabe alcanze la temperatura de 248 F remover del fuego. Poner a trabajar la batidora en velocidad medio bajo y gentilmente agregar el jarabe, aumentar la velocidad a medio alto y continuar batiendo por 1 minuto.
  • Reduce the speed of the mixer to medium and add the softened butter, a few pieces at a time until it is all incorporated / Reducir la velocidad a medio y colocar poco a poco los pedazos de mantequilla (en temperatura ambiente) hasta que todo esté incorporado.
  • At this point the buttercream may be refrigerated for another day or separated and flavored with either Raspberry Coulis (as we were making two flavors we halved the coulis recipe and added it to half of the buttercream) or Lemon curd – (we used 4 heaping tablespoons to flavor half of this recipe of buttercream) / Pudes refrigerar la crema de matequilla o separala para poner el coulis de frambuesa (ver link) o crema de limón (ver link)
  • Fill a piping bag with the flavored buttercream, match macarons in similar sized pairs and pipe buttercream onto one half and sandwich with the other  / Colocar la crema de mantequilla en una manga pastelera, emparejar los macarons y colocar la crema en la mitad de los macarons para luego ponerlos juntos como un sandwich.

Lemon Macarons

  • For the lemon macarons, we tried what Bouchon Bakery call ‘bull’s-eyes’ by piping a ring of lemon flavored butter cream around the edge and filling with a small amount of curd before covering with the other half.  It creates a concentrated center of tart lemon flavor that helps balance out the sweetness of the cookie. / Para los macarons de limón nosotros utilizamos una receta de la panadería Bouchon, agregamos un poco de crema de limón en el centro y alrededor la crema de mantequilla y luego cubres el macaron con su otra mitad.

Raspberry Macarons

  • This recipe made 30 Macarons total – a dozen each of 1.5 inch and 2 inch diameter macarons as well as half a dozen 2.5 inch macarons / Esta receta hace una docena de 1.5 pulgadas y 2 pulgadas de diámetro macarons y también hace 6 macarons de 2.5 pulgadas.
  • Store the macarons in an airtight container in the fridge.  The macarons may also be frozen for up to one month.  Thaw the frozen macarons while sealed in the same container to prevent any condensation from forming on the cookies.  The macarons will thaw within half an hour at room temperature / Guardar los macarones en un recipiente en el refrigerador.  Los macarones pueden ser congelados hasta por un mes.  Para descongelarlos dejar en el mismo recipiente para prevenir que los macarones se tornen húmedos.

Raspberry and Lemon Macarons... Provecho!