This was the recipe I had planned to make while Shuna from Eggbeater was here in Florida visiting her family. As soon as I read in her blog that she was coming, I contacted her and asked her if she would like to join me in my kitchen for a baking session. All I could think about were the beautiful photos that would come out of that encounter. I always feel sort of lonely in the kitchen. I like company and often times I wish I had a photographer buddy that could accompany me in my experiments. I couldn’t wait to meet Shuna. I love her blog… she makes me think. So Shuna kindly responded to my email and we agreed to meet on a Friday morning at my house.
But Thursday night, life took a turn, my son got sick and we were never able to meet and bake. I was really looking forward to it and felt very disappointed but it was nobody’s fault. We did meet later that weekend but no baking was involved. Just great conversation and the best sweet kugel I have ever had.
I came up with the idea of pink peppercorn macarons while walking by the meat counter at Whole Foods. It had been a long time since I had thought about or cooked with pink macarons but as soon as I laid eyes on the little jar, I remembered their slightly sweet and spicy aroma. Perfect, I thought, I will fill them with strawberry sorbet. Remember my post for strawberries and pepper? That’s where the inspiration came again.
The smell that came out of the oven while the macarons were baking was incredible. I couldn’t wait for them to cool down enough to try them. I tried one by itself and it was perfect. Sweet, crunch, chewy but a little spicy kick at the end. Subtle.
Pink Peppercorn Macarons
180 grams almond flour
240 grams powdered sugar
140 grams organic egg whites, aged
3 grams egg white powder
2 grams fine sea salt
80 grams sugar
a few drops of all natural red food coloring
Pink peppercorns, ground
Make sure that the egg whites have been separated from the egg yolks the night before. This bit of aging really makes a difference in the macaroons.
In a large bowl, sift together the almond flour, powdered sugar and sea salt. Set aside.
Whip the egg whites with the egg white powder until very fluffy, almost fully whipped. Start adding the vanilla sugar slowly while whipping. Whip to stiff peaks but not too much or the meringue will dry out. We want semi soft “ripples” still in the meringue. Add as much food coloring to the meringue as you like. I tend to like soft colors but some prefer really vibrant ones.
Add the meringue to the almond flour mixture and fold with a spatula until a shiny mass forms. We want to achieve a batter that makes ribbons. You might have to test it to see if it’s done. Pipe a small amount on your sheetpan. If it keeps a little bit of a top when piped, then you have to mix it a bit further, if it spreads really fast, you have gone too far and your macaroons will turn out flat.
When you have the right consistency, place the mass in a pastry bag with a number 5 tip and pipe small rounds onto sheetpans lined with parchment or silpat. While the tops are still wet, sprinkle the ground pink peppercorns on top. Let them dry at room temperature for at least 45 minutes to an hour.
Have the oven preheated to 350 degrees. Place one sheetpan in the oven at a time and reduce the temperature to 300 degrees. Bake for 10 minutes and rotate sheetpan and bake for another 10 minutes. Test to see if they are done by picking one up and seing if it still sticks to the paper or not.
1 1/2 cups fresh strawberry puree (I didn’t strain it)
Juice of half a lemon
1/2 cup sugar
Make a syrup with the water and the sugar by quickly boiling it until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat right away. Let the syrup cool in the refrigerator. Add the strawberry puree and the lemon juice and churn in ice cream machine. Freeze.