Every time I go home, I come back with a spare suitcase full of food and ingredients. This time was no different. A few blocks of Idiazabal cheese, over a dozen large cans of tuna in olive oil, jars of cooked beans, spices, recycled yogurt containers and a large bag of freeze-dried raspberry powder. This was a bit of a surprise since this is not a common ingredient in our traditional cuisine, but a good surprise nevertheless.
So this week when I had a request for macarons, I decided to put it to good use and pair it with the sweet and delicate spiciness of pink peppercorns.
Last year, I made pink peppercorns macarons served with strawberry sorbet that ended up being a hit.
If you have never had red berries with a touch of pepper, you should definitely try it. It adds a new dimension and brings out the flavors. The pink peppercorns are so mild that when mixed with the sweet buttercream and the raspberry macarons shell, it just becomes more like an aromatic layer rather than a spicy flavor. Hard to explain, but definitely a must-try. Even my little guy loved them and he is a picky one.
You can definitely make your own raspberry powder by drying some fresh raspberries and processing them, but this stuff I brought back is very, very fine with an amazing red color.
I will be sharing some of it with you. All you have to do is leave a comment from now until Friday June 5th and I will be choosing the random lucky number over the weekend. And maybe I will throw a couple of more goodies in there as well. Good luck!
140 grams egg whites
3 grams egg white powder
80 grams sugar
180 grams almond flour
240 grams powdered sugar
2 grams salt
7 grams freeze-dried raspberry powder
2 drops red 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, sea salt and raspberry powder. 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 the red food coloring and continue whipping to stiff peaks.
Add the dry ingredients 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. 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 8 minutes and rotate sheetpan and bake for another 5 minutes.
Let the macarons cool on the sheetpan.
Pink Peppercorn Buttercream
100 grams egg whites
200 grams sugar
300 grams unsalted butter, room temperature
2 tsp (or to taste) finely ground pink peppercorns
In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk together egg whites and the sugar lightly. Place over a water bath until sugar is dissolved and the mixture is warm to the touch. Bring bowl to the electric mixer and whip until stiff peaks form.
Continue whipping until the bowl feels cool. Add butter, a tablespoon at a time while whipping. It might look like it is separating but continue whipping and it will come together.
Add the ground pink peppercorns and taste.