Buck’s Fizz Macarons
Buck’s Fizz was first served in 1921 at the London Buck’s Club, a gentlemen’s club that partially inspired P.G. Wodehouse’s fictional Drones Club. Credited to a bartender named McGarry, Buck’s Fizz has remained popular for nearly a century, and is typically made with two parts orange juice to one part champagne, although the true recipe remains known only to the club.
This has to be the best cocktail to have with breakfast (or brunch, if you prefer), and I like it because the champagne nicely tempers the sweetness of the orange juice. I tried to recreate that taste in macaron form, and the result is subtle, very tasty, and not unlike an orange creamsicle.
So pop open some champagne, put on some David Bowie, and let’s get baking!
For the Shells:
⅔ cup almonds
1 cup powdered sugar
2 egg whites (aged)
1 1/2 tsp orange extract
a little orange gel food coloring
For the Champagne "Butter" Cream:
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons earth balance
1 tablespoon soy milk
4 tablespoons champagne
Blender or food processor
Sifter or fine sieve
3 or more baking sheets
Non-stick baking paper or silicone baking mats
A medium stainless steel bowl
Pastry bag tip (note: a tip with a ½ inch opening is recommended)
The day before: Separate the eggs and put the egg whites in an air-tight container. Leave the egg whites in the fridge overnight.
Three hours before: Take the egg whites out of the fridge and let them come to room temperature slowly. Put the stainless steel bowl into the fridge.
1. Put the almonds and powdered sugar into the blender and grind together for a few seconds. Sift the powder into a bowl and set aside.
2. Take the bowl out of the fridge and give it a good wipe with a kitchen towel to be sure it is completely dry before you start. Put the egg whites into the bowl and beat them on medium speed with the hand mixer. When they get foamy and start to really expand, add the granulated sugar a little bit at a time and continue to beat all of the sugar has dissolved. At this point, the eggs will start to look thick and foamy, a bit like shaving cream. Lower the speed of the mixer and continue to beat the eggs until stiff peaks are left when you pull the mixer out. When your eggs are ready, they will be thick enough that you can hold the bowl upside down without them falling out. If you tilt the bowl and they’re still sliding, beat them on low for another minute and try again.
Note: If the bowl is very cold and the eggs have been aged long enough, this won’t take very long. If they haven’t, it’ll take forever. I’ve had this take anywhere from 4 - 20 minutes. Big difference!
3. Add the orange extract and a little bit of the orange gel food coloring at this point and mix it into the eggs with the mixer for another five seconds.
4. Carefully fold in the dry ingredients a little bit at a time with a rubber spatula. Don’t mix them or stir vigorously, you don’t want to wreck the eggs! When it’s done, the mixture will be thick, still a little airy, and should fall off of the spatula in slow, wide ribbons.
5. Pour the mixture into a pastry bag and pipe rounds onto a baking sheet lined with baking paper or a silicone baking mat. Try to make them all the same size as much as you can, leaving an inch between them. These will cover at two or three baking sheets, depending on the size and spacing.
6. Smack the baking sheets on your counter one at a time. Lift them a few inches above the counter and just drop them. (This makes a pretty loud noise, so if you live with other people, give them some warning!) Do this a few times for each tray.
7. Let them sit until the surface starts to dry. You’ll know they’re ready when you touch them and nothing sticks to your finger. When they feel like they’re there, preheat your oven to 285F.
8. Put the baking tray on top of another empty baking tray in the center of your oven. Bake the macarons for 12 minutes with the door closed before checking on them. If they’re still really sticking after twelve minutes, put them back into the oven for another 2-3 minutes.
9. Take the baking paper or mat off of the baking trays and leave them to cool completely on the counter (or cooling racks, if using). This only takes a minute or so. The macarons should pop off of the paper pretty easily, but if they stick, you can slide a thin knife between the shell and the paper to help them along.
Match shells of similar size and stick them together with a little bit of buttercream. Put the finished macarons in an air-tight container in the fridge and let them sit overnight before you eat them. The flavor and texture improves overnight, so they will be at their best tomorrow.
Champagne “Butter” Cream (GF, Dairy Free, Vegan)
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons Earth Balance or other good quality butter substitute
1 tbs Unsweetened, unflavored Soy Milk (I used Silk Organic Unsweetened, but any will do. Almond Milk will also work if you prefer)
4 tablespoons champagne
1. Beat sugar and butter together in a bowl. With this kind of butter, it will tend to look crumbly -- this is totally fine. Add the soy milk and the champagne and it will all come together nicely.
This icing is a little bit on the thin side, so you might need to refrigerate it before assembling the macarons if it’s out too long. Alternatively, you can add a bit more sugar to thicken it up. Feel free to tweak the quantities to suit your tastes.
Buck's Fizz Cocktail
Pour two parts orange juice into a champagne glass and top with one part champagne. Stir, garnish with an orange twist, and serve.