It’s no secret that S and I, like so many other greedy gourmets around the world, are mad for macarons. The best we’ve had, hands down, have come from Pierre Herme. S also adores Laduree’s licorice versions while I can’t get enough of J‘s peanut butter and jelly ones. We also both really love Chef Pang Kok Keong‘s caramel fleur de sel macarons (whose recipe I’ve begged for and am running at the end of this post).
Chef Pang is easily one of Singapore’s most talented young pastry chefs. In addition to running the central dessert kitchen for the Les Amis restaurant group, he also runs his own rather swish dessert-focused restaurant and the excellent pastry shop Canele. Canele is a delight for fat fellas like me. There are wonderful desserts and cakes on offer. Many are staples, i.e. always available. But every so often, Chef Pang will unveil some new and interesting creations to tempt and tease us.
This month, he’s launched what he calls a Macaron Festival. For the festival, Chef Pang has whipped up a special range of six limited edition macarons: marron glace (chestnut cream and candied chestnut); citron vert (almond macaron with green lime cream); pistache et griottine (almond macaron with pistachio cream and brandied cherry); sesame (almond macaron with black sesame cream); matcha (green tea macaron with green tea cream); and noisettine truffe (hazelnut macaron with truffle cream and roasted hazelnut). These are available for sale, packaged in cute and specially designed boxes for either 6 pieces or 12 pieces, at both the flagship Robertson Walk Canele as well as the Paragon branch.
S and I have already greedily devoured a six-pack of these special macarons. They were all excellent. My favourite among them was the citron vert, which had a nice, sharp bite. My second fave was the marron glace. S preferred the noisettine truffe, which she swooned over, and the matcha, which has a nice subtle, refined and not-too-sweet taste.
In addition to the macarons on sale at the two Canele shops. Chef Pang is also offering a high tea macaron buffet at (where else?) Macaron. The S$55++ per person spread is only available on weekends, so book now if you want to check this out. Each patron is given the choice of having both an appetizer and entrée from Macaron’s regular menu, followed by a buffet offering 18 different types of macarons, 7 types of macaron entremets (cakes with an element of macaron as part of the composition) and 2 a la carte servings of Canelé’s homemade ice creams or sorbets. Talk about a sweet and decadent way to spend a lazy Saturday or Sunday afternoon!
It’s really nice to see that some of our younger and more talented pastry chefs are now thinking seasonally, creating novelties to surprise and delight our often jaded palates. It’s also great that some of these chefs, like Pang, are trying to innovate new menus and promotions to keep customers excited and, importantly (for them), returning.
11 Unity Street, Robertson Walk
Canelé Patisserie Chocolaterie
11 Unity Street
#01-09, Robertson Walk
Tel: +65 6738 8145
Chef Pang Kok Keong’s Macaron Caramel Fleur de Sel
For the macaron cookie
500g ground almond
900g icing sugar
440g egg white
Sieve your ground almond and icing sugar into a mixing bowl. Make sure the mixture is lump-free. Beat the egg whites using an electrical mixer with a whisk attachment at high speed until you can see a line made by the whisk going round. Then add in the sugar while the mixer is at medium speed. Make a stiff meringue. Fold the meringue into the dry sieved ingredients until you get a homogeneous mix, taking care not to overfold it, as normal meringue are very delicate.
Pipe the mixture onto a silpat with a no. 5 plain tube into 3cm balls (The cookies will spread to approximately 5cm). If the mixture is too thick, you’ll see a tip sticking up from the balls (from where you piped them) even after you finish piping the last row. If this happens, give the tray a little tap so that you’ll get a nice smooth surface.
Leave the piped macaron cookies out to form a skin before baking them at 160 degrees Celsius in a fan oven for approximately 14-16 minutes. When totally cooled, sandwich two cookies together with either buttercream, firm mamarlade, or a caramel filling.
Caramel fleur de sel
1 vanilla pod
3.75g fleur de sel
140g butter, chilled
In a 1 litre heavy based pot, cook the sugar, stirring all the time to get an even caramel. Then add in the vanilla pod, scraped. Add in the warm cream a bit at a time as it will bubble up and splatter. Then add in the fleur de sel. Stir to make sure all the caramel has dissolved. Cool the mixture to approximately 40 degrees Celsius. Add in the well chilled butter, cut into cubes. Using an immersion blender, blend in the butter till you achieve a smooth glossy paste. Line the surface of the caramel with plastic wrap or greaseproof paper to prevent a skin from forming and chill in the fridge until needed.