When I was thinking about my Paris inspired post for Deb, I immediately went to the refrigerator and started separating eggs and scaling the ingredients for macarons. I later decided to go with croissants, but made the macarons regardless. How could I have a dessert related post about Paris without macarons?
It seems like there is always a large crowd of friends ready to taste whatever new flavor combination comes out of my kitchen. Although, I have to say, my macarons are pretty conservative compared to the new trends and all the experimentation that is going on in the world.
The filling on these is a white chocolate, campari and a citrus ganache that I adapted from Pierre Herme’s “Macarons”. I am not a big fan of white chocolate, but I do enjoy it when paired with citrus or any sour fruit. I added a bit of grapefruit zest to the shell along with pistachios.
Because I have been in an inexplicable craze for all things custard, I made small pot de cremes scented with lemon thyme. It is time for me to replant all my herbs. Unfortunately, the chamomile plant I very much love didn’t make it through the winter, but the lemon thyme is still hanging in there.
Grapefruit and Pistachio Macarons
180 grams almond flour
240 grams powdered sugar
140 grams egg whites, aged
3 grams egg white powder
2 grams fine sea salt
80 grams sugar
1 tsp grapefruit zest, finely grated
few drops of red food coloring
few drops of yellow food coloring
Make sure that the egg whites have been separated from the egg yolks at least the night before. This bit of aging really makes a difference in the macarons.
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 sugar slowly while whipping. Add a few drops of red and yellow food coloring and continue whipping to stiff peaks.
Add the dry ingredients and the grapefruit zest to the meringue 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 macarons 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. Sprinkle the tops with chopped pistachios. Let them dry at room temperature for at least 45 minutes to an hour. The tops must be dry when you touch them.
Have the oven preheated to 350F degrees. Place one sheetpan in the oven at a time and reduce the temperature to 300F degrees. Bake for 10 minutes and rotate sheetpan and bake for another 5 minutes.
Let the macarons cool on the sheetpan.
Grapefruit, Campari and White Chocolate Ganache
adapted from Pierre Herme’s “Macarons”
10 grams lemon juice
55 grams grapefruit juice
22 grams orange juice
25 grams campari
210 grams white chocolate
Melt the white chocolate over a double boiler. Make sure not to heat it too much or it will burn.
Combine the juices and campari and warm them to about 110F (45C). Add the juice mixture slowly into the chocolate while whisking. Mix the ganache with an immersion blender for about 3 minutes to obtain a good emulsion. Pour onto a quarter sheetpan or square cake pan. Place plastic wrap directly on the ganache and refrigerate overnight.
Lemon Thyme Pot de Creme
1 liter of heavy cream
10 egg yolks
200 grams sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
2 grams (about 3 Tbs) of fresh lemon thyme leaves
Place the heavy cream, lemon thyme leaves, lemon zest and half of the sugar in a medium saucepan.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and the rest of the sugar. Temper the hot cream over the yolks and whisk until well mixed. Strain the custard through a fine sieve to get rid of any coagulated egg yolk.
Place the ramekins you are using on a roasting pan or a sheet pan. Pour the custard into the ramekins and bring them close to the oven. Pour hot water in the roasting pan or sheet pan and place in the oven.
Bake in the water bath at 300ºF until the center of the custard doesn’t giggle when we shake the pan.
Let the ramekins cool a little bit, cover them with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a few hours.