I used the reduced sugar recipe for the macaron shells here. Both regular and reduced sugar recipes can be found here. You may refer to my Creative Baking: Macarons book for a systematic presentation of the basics and complex shaped macarons. You may refer to my video tutorials for macaron basics and piping of complex shapes on the blog too.
Just to share some photos of making the shells...
Freshly baked shells!
I decorated the shells with edible marker and royal icing.
Strawberry jam and cream cheese recipe
Ingredients (fills about 40 macarons):
30g strawberry puree
1 tsp lemon juice
15g caster sugar
A pinch of salt
Strawberry cream cheese
60g cream cheese (softened at room temperature)
30g unsalted butter (room temperature)
30g vanilla bean white chocolate*
1/2 tsp strawberry emulco/paste/emulsion
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt
*You may use any brand of your favourite white chocolate for eating. I have discovered this a couple of months ago. Really yummy and easy to work with compared to couverture.
1. Prepare strawberry puree by blending and sieving fresh strawberries.
2. Combine all ingredients for the jam in a small saucepan and cook over low heat until mixture thickens. Set aside to cool.
3. Beat softened butter and cream cheese together until pale and fluffy.
4. Melt white chocolate over double boiler or in microwave oven. Be careful not to overheat. Let the melted chocolate cool a little while stirring it to prevent it from solidifying.
5. Slowly pour the melted chocolate into the cream cheese mixture and mix well with electric mixer. Add salt and mix well. Don't panic if your mixture appears to separate. Chill the whole bowl in the freezer for a couple of minutes and beat again with the mixer. Repeat this until you get a nice homogeneous texture.
Cream cheese white chocolate base.
7. Add strawberry emulsion and vanilla extract. Mix well again
Transfer cream cheese filling into piping bag and pipe onto the bottom shells. Add a bit of strawberry jam in the middle and sandwich with top shell. Store assembled shells in fridge for at least 24h before serving.
Filling the shells!
This filling is not too sweet, rich yet fluffy and slightly tart.
I am happy to find another less sweet macaron filling base other than my usual white chocolate ganache or Swiss meringue buttercream. You may pair the cream cheese base with other fruity, tea, caramel or chocolate flavours too!