Tuesday, 13 July 2010

A delicious thing of beauty

Macarons always seemed to be a mythical type of food to me.  I had heard of them in hushed, almost reverent tones from friends who had been to Paris, and seen them make or break aspiring chefs on TV shows.  Macarons are resplendent on the pages of foodie books and magazines.

Until recently, it never occurred to me that I could actually make such a fancy dessert.  However, my husband and I spent a night together making macarons.  It was our first attempt, and I have to admit that I'm pretty proud of it.  So here's our adventure making violet macarons.

First off, you should prepare in advance if you want to make macarons.  One of the most important ingredients is egg whites, and for macarons it's better if they're old.  Separate your eggs a couple of days before making the macarons.  (For more explanation about using old egg whites and more tips for making perfect macarons, click here.)  You'll want to make sure that you have the right ingredients in advance, too.  The possibilities are endless when it comes to macarons, but I loved these violet flavored ones.  Flower flavors tend to be dainty and elegant in a way that pairs really well with macarons.

I basically followed a recipe from the website Tartelette.  Click here for the full recipe and Tarelette post.  The instructions are really clear and easy to follow.  I added purple food coloring to the macaron batter as it looked even prettier and worked perfectly with the violet flavouring.

When you've made the macaron shell batter, use a piping bag to put them out on baking parchment (not just greaseproof paper) or onto a silicone baking sheet.  Then bash up some crystallized violet flowers and sprinkle over the top as desired. 

Remember to let them sit for about half an hour before baking them.  I forgot on one of the batches, and you could definitely tell the difference in the pastry afterwards.  It is worth being patient and getting better results.

Either while the macaron shells are baking or cooling, you can make the butter cream (see photos above).  Now most of the time I make a cheat's butter cream, but for macarons we did the proper filling.  Just like on the Tartelette website, we did both a vanilla  bean and a violet filling.  It always amazes me how opulent fresh vanilla is, and how strongly you can smell it as you cut into a pod.  The violet water turned the most fabulous bright blue colour.  It was amazing how bright it was.

Then the fun part comes: assembling, serving, and eating.  These are an absolute indulgence.  They are both light and rich at the same time.  The flavours and textures really are a delicious thing of beauty.  They are time consuming, but if you have the time, these are a delicious treat.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for my July Secret Post Club pressie x It's going in tonight's potato salad :-) Thanks for introducing me to something new and I'm sure it will be wonderful. Only ever eaten curry leaves before (being raised in India) and have never heard of curry plant!