When the first images from the game Battle Chef Brigade were released in Twitter back in simpler times (2016), I immediately zoned in on a picture of chocolate-drizzled macarons and called dibs on the replication of said macarons. You know, because internet dibs are legally binding. You can’t say I didn’t get on the train early, at least.
Closer to release, Tom Eastman from Trinket Studios even provided the Fandom Foodies a bunch of dish images, reaffirming that I was definitely gonna do those ding danged macarons, so help me God. Now, at long last, the time has come. Well… the time passed, as I’m technically a little late for the Fandom Foodies #BattleChefBuffet month! Check out the page for it (and all the cool stuff the Foodies made) over at Pixelated Provisions!
It took me a while, but we’re finally here. I was tempted to write a gushing paragraph about the game itself, but I firstly want to put more hours into it, and secondly think you should just play it. You get fights, you get puzzles, you get food porn. It’s just plain fun; the story is abrim with lovable characters and cats named after cheeses. What more do you even need?!
Since nochi fruits are, y’know, fictional, I took some visual clues when replicating them. They resemble lychees a bit in-game, but seem to have firm segmented insides not unlike a starfruit. I decided to combine these flavors and also add Buddha’s hand citron for a zesty flavor. If you have issues finding starfruit or Buddha’s hand, I’ll be listing more easily available substitutions!
KIRIN’S NOCHI FRUIT MACARONS
Timing Notes: Filled macarons should be matured for one full day in an air-tight container in the fridge.
LYCHEE GANACHE (adapted from Pierre Hermé)
400g (14 oz) white chocolate (high quality)
60g (2 oz. by weight, not volume) heavy whipping cream
250g (9 oz) lychee (canned, weight after draining)
1. In a blender (or in a bowl using an immersion blender), puree the lychee until they are as smooth as possible. Place the lychee puree in a saucepan and cook on medium heat, stirring constantly, reduced in volume by approximately 1/3. Add the heavy cream and bring the mixture to a boil. Once boiling, pour over the white chocolate. Allow to sit for 5 minutes before whisking together into a smooth ganache. Snip off about 1/2″ from the end of a piping bag and fit it with a small star tip (I recommend #21 or #22). Tie off the bag just above the tip with a twist tie so that the ganache won’t flow out through the tip while warm, then pour the ganache into the bag. Tie off the other end with a twist tie as well and let the bag rest in the fridge until the ganache has firmed up, about 2-4 hours.
120g (4.4 oz)almond flour
190g (6.4 oz) powdered sugar
100g (3.5 oz) egg whites
30g (1 oz) granulated sugar
Red food coloring, powdered (liquid and gel are more likely to cause problems with the batter)
1. Preheat your oven to 300°F (150°C). Start by placing a large round tip (I use Ateco 806) into your piping bag and lining 2 cookie sheets in parchment or a silicone mat. Stand a piping bag in a tall glass with the edges rolled outward like a sleeve; this makes filling the bag much easier later. In a food processor, pulse together your almond flour and powdered sugar until well combined. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until foamy. Gradually add the granulated sugar as you beat the whites. Once the whites have formed a medium-peak meringue, add in the food coloring until you achieve a relatively vivid pink/coral color and beat the meringue to stiff peaks.
2. Sift about a third of your almond flour mixture onto the egg whites, and carefully fold them together until just incorporated. Sift in the remaining flour and fold it until just incorporated. Now you need to fold to get the batter to the correct stage. Fold slowly and rotate your bowl often. You want your batter to be thick and lava-like. I typically judge the batter by how long it takes for the fold mark to begin to disappear. If the batter does not begin to smooth out at all, it has not been folded enough. If it looks shiny and and forms a thick, continuous stream when you lift the spatula, it’s perfect. Remember it’s better to undermix than overmix macarons, especially since piping them continues to liquify the batter.
3. Fill the batter into your piping bag. Pipe your macarons to about 1 1/4″ in diameter, at least 1 1/2″ apart. Once you’ve piped your rounds, sharply tap the cookie sheet on your counter a few times to get rid of air bubbles. If you see any bubbles the tapping didn’t take care of, pop them with a toothpick. Allow your macarons to rest for 20-60 minutes, or until the tops are no longer tacky and have become matte. This may take longer if your kitchen is humid.
4. Bake your macarons for 14-16 minutes. You should be able to pull one from the parchment without it sticking. Allow the macarons to cool completely.
POACHED “NOCHI FRUIT”
1 large starfruit (alternative: 1 large, peeled pear), cut into very small cubes (1/4″ or smaller)
300ml (1 1/4 cups) lychee syrup, from canned lychee
100g (1/2 cup) sugar
3 large strips of buddha’s hand citron zest (alternative: zest of 1 lemon, cut into strips)
Red and purple food colorings (liquid, powder or gel are all fine)
1. In a saucepan, combine the lychee syrup, sugar, and zest. Add the food coloring a few drops at a time, at a ratio of 3 drops of red for every 1 of purple. Don’t overdo it; just add the dye until the liquid is the color of a clear fruit juice.
2. Heat the mixture to a simmer and add the starfruit. Keep at a simmer for 20 minutes, then turn off the heat and allow to cool. Strain off the poaching liquid (keep it around for mixed drinks!), discard the zest strips and pat the cubed starfruit dry gently with a paper towel. Use immediately.
DARK CHOCOLATE GANACHE
75g (2.5oz by weight, not volume) heavy cream
75g (2.5oz) dark chocolate
1. Bring the heavy cream to a boil in the microwave, then pour it over the chocolate. Stir until a smooth ganache forms. Fill into a piping bag. When ready to drizzle, simply snip off the very tip of the bag to pipe thin streams of chocolate. (If making ahead of time, simply rewarm to liquify.)
White candy Melts
Green food coloring, powdered
Red and Yellow food coloring, powdered
Pearl luster dust
Everclear or vodka
1. Use a small amount of ganache to glue your macaron shells onto a cookie sheet. This will keep them from shifting around as you paint.
2. Place 1/2 teaspoon red food coloring in a small bowl and 1/2 teaspoon yellow food coloring in another. Add 1/4 teaspoon of pearl luster dust to both. Add 1 teaspoons lemon extract to both bowls. Paint your macarons shells red (using either an airbrush or paint brush). Paint a yellow highlight along one side of each macaron shell in the same fashion. NOTE: if using an airbrush, double the lemon extract. Either way, go fairly easy on the paint and paint in thin layers to avoid getting the shells too moist. Allow to dry.
3. Pair up each shell with another shell similar in size and shape. Pipe a ring of ganache onto a shell (leaving some space along the edges for it to squish down) and place a few cubes of poached fruit into the center. Sandwich on the second shell and press down slightly. Repeat. ALLOW TO MATURE IN FRIDGE FOR 24 HOURS.
4. Make the leaves. If you’re confident in your freehand piping skills, don’t worry about a template and pipe directly onto a silicone mat or piece of parchment paper. Otherwise, print this guide out to a size that matches your macarons and place it under a sheet of parchment as a guide.
5. Melt the candy melts gently in a microwave (heat in 20 second increments, stirring between each one). Stir in a bit of green food coloring powder a bit at a time until you achieve a light green color. Fill the chocolate into a piping bag and snip a tiny bit off the end. Pipe the shape of the leaves and allow them to firm up. Using clean fingers, gently smooth bumps from the piped leaves. The warmth of your fingers will soften the chocolate just enough to acheive a smoother surface.
6. Using everclear and green coloring powder, mix a liquidy medium green and a thicker, dark green. Paint the outer leaves medium green as shown below, then use the dark green to paint the little lines. Allow to dry, then insert the leaves into the macarons. Finally, drizzle some melted dark chocolate ganache over your macarons/plate using the dark chocolate ganache piping bag and serve!
NOTE: To make the alternate colored (white and purple) macaron, I simply painted a pair of shells with white food coloring instead of red and dyed a bit of ganache.
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