Mixed berry cheesecake and black sesame macarons

For the second half of MasterChef’s Sweet Week, we had 60 minutes to make a box of twelve macarons in two flavors, and they actually had to all fit inside the box. In the past, I have royally messed up my macarons because they got too runny and melted into each other at the piping stage. Luckily, I had time to dwell on what happened, and I just came to the simple conclusion that these were piped way too big. So I knew to just dial back on how much I piped per cookie, and voila, during the actual challenge, mine actually all fit in the box! I felt so happy, because I noticed that the only two people who did that out of the ten people who had to make macarons were myself and Shari, so I knew we were both safe. And of course, we were! It was exciting to be saved with what could be argued to be one of the top two boxes of the night, on virtue of aesthetic and flavor! It being only my second time having to wear the black apron of pressure test doom and elimination, I was happy to have reversed my previous experience with the tarte tatin with these.

For the two flavors, I went with black sesame with black sesame Italian meringue buttercream, and a berry cheesecake. I had the intentions to do a third, being golden milk(the flavor I actually made in the cooking class), but I just wanted to focus on these two instead, since we only needed to make two anyways. So a little behind the scenes, I did not realize when I was conceptualizing my flavors that Renee’s cheesecake elimination would be the same episode or in back to back episodes. And truthfully, I have made cheesecake macarons in the past. I like them because I can adjust the sweetness a lot easier, as the filling is simply whipped cream cheese and a berry coulis(fun fact, on the show, I actually used 0 sugar in the cheesecake filling or coulis, just because I knew that the shells were way too sweet). So as I told the judges my flavors, and realized that they were lowkey smirking, I realized that I might be doing this in really bad taste, and by accident. Whoops. But anyways, the judges said that they loved my macarons, and Joe said that he saw the “true Fred” come out, which was hilarious and awesome to hear!

For the shells:
1/2 cup almond flour (for black sesame, sub out 3 tablespoons with 3 tablespoons black sesame powder)
3/4 cups powdered sugar
2 egg whites
2 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
a pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon*
1 drop yellow food coloring*
1 drop brown food coloring*
graham cracker crumbs*
black sesame seeds**

*for cheesecake macaron only
**for black sesame macaron only

Whip egg whites with granulated sugar until they form stiff peaks. Sift almond flour and powdered sugar together(and black sesame powder if making black sesame macarons). If you are making the cheesecake shells, add in the food coloring and cinnamon to egg whites and beat with a whisk until incorporated. Fold 1/3 of your dry ingredients into the egg whites and fold until incorporated. Add in the rest and continue folding for about 20-25 times, or until the batter just sinks back into itself. Transfer to a piping bag and pipe onto parchment paper-lined sheet trays, in 1 inch diameter circles, with about 2 inches between each circle. Tap the tray at least 3 times and allow to sit for at least 10 minutes. Sprinkle on either of the graham cracker crumbs or the black sesame seeds. Bake at 300 degrees F for 7 minutes in the middle tray of the oven before rotating and baking for another 7 minutes. Cool completely before removing.

For the cheesecake mousse:
8 oz mascarpone cheese
3 oz creme fraiche
a pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whip together until incorporated, then transfer to a piping bag.

For the berry coulis:
1/4 cup blackberries
1/4 cup blueberries
juice and zest from 1 lemon
a pinch of salt

Simmer ingredients down until thick enough to generously coat the back of a spoon. Strain and allow the mixture to completely cool.

For the black sesame Italian meringue buttercream:
2 egg whites
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, cubed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons water
a pinch of salt
1/4 cup black sesame powder

Create a simple syrup with the water, salt, and sugar. Whip egg whites until soft peaks. Pour in the simple syrup while whipping the egg whites. Whip in the butter until emulsified, then fold in the black sesame powder to finish. Transfer to a piping bag.

For assembly:
For the cheesecake macarons, use an offset spatula to spread a thin layer of the mousse onto each cookie first. Then pipe a circle around one cookie and add in the coulis. Doing the thin layer will prevent the interior from disintegrating from the coulis. Sandwich those together. For the black sesame, simply pipe the filling between the two cookies.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. William Leet says:

    Kinda knew you would ace the macaron challenge. Great job.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m planning on trying this recipe soon. Looks so good!

    Liked by 1 person

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