Pierre Hermé buttercream recipe revisited

Pierre Hermé is not fond of buttercream as a filling for macarons, he says in his book ‘Macaron’. Indeed, the only recipe in his book that uses buttercream is the rose macaron. Over the past years, I’ve been relying on a swiss meringue buttercream recipe from a fellow blogger. Out of sudden, I wondered why I don’t use PH’s recipe. I decided to whip up a batch to use for this year’s Christmas flavours.

Just as the butter and meringue metamorphose into buttercream, I recalled why I’d put his recipe aside. The buttercream recipe calls for an additional egg yolk, resulting in a pale yellow cream no amount of titanium oxide can bleach. I thought it strange to have a yellow-coloured filling for pink shells, for instance. I’ve no idea what I did with the buttercream previously but this time, I went ahead and used it to fill the macarons anyway. Interestingly, the yellow tint was gone. The tiny amount of filling that goes into each macaron is apparently not sufficient to show any colour. Hue aside, PH’s buttercream recipe is tasty if a tat too sweet.

I personally love buttercream as a macaron filling. It softens the shells relatively faster than ganache and when the macarons are eaten at room temperature, they are heavenly creamy. I wouldn’t say buttercream macarons are better than ganache macarons. In fact, both types of macarons have very different textures and it’s probably personal preference for one or the other. I have favoured buttercream since my early macaron baking days because my ganache fillings have never quite turned out well until I finally spent some Weihnachtsgeld on “Valrhona Ivoire” recently. More about that in another post.

Here’s the buttercream recipe (extracted from ‘Macaron a la Rose’)

Ingredients

  • 200g caster sugar
  • 75 g water
  • 150g whole eggs
  • 90g egg yolk
  • 400g butter
  • 4g of rose essence and 50g rose syrup (if making rose buttercream)

Method

  1. Mix caster sugar and water in a saucepan. Using medium high heat, boil the sugar syrup until it reaches a temperature of 120 °C.
  2. In the meanwhile, beat all eggs at high speed. (I would suggest starting the mixer at 115°C or so.)
  3. Lower speed and put sugar syrup in. Continue to beat mixture until sugar is well incorporated into the egg mixture.
  4. Warm butter until it’s soft and creamy but not melted.
  5. Add butter into meringue and continue mixing until the buttercream comes together.
Hint
  • The recipe is supposed to produce enough filling for 72 macarons. So scale it accordingly.
  • Don’t panic if the mixture starts to curdle. It may happen if the two items to be blended have differing temperatures. Just continue mixing and wait for the magic.

Good news for English readers, PH’s book ‘Macaron’ has been translated and is already available for sale. I’m of course tempted to buy this new version just to be sure I haven’t been translating the recipes wrongly. Another item on my Amazon wish list!

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