Besides the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas, summer has to be my favorite season; I love the high temperatures (92 degrees and I am in heaven), long days of sunshine, warm nights, and the aroma of herbs and flowers. Lavender, Poppies, Roses,Peonies, Amaranthus, and Calla Lily; I could go on and on, but I am enthralled with the flowers that I can use in my baking.
This summer has gone by so quickly, I can’t believe it is already August. Between celebrations, graduations, and weddings I had not realized Sydney has been macaron deprived; she had been reminding for a few weeks,(actually six weeks), we were “macaronless” in our own home, OH MY.
Since vanilla is her favorite flavor I thought adding lavender, a wonderful flower to use in cakes, marshmallows, and of course French Macarons would be the epitome summer.
Macarons are a special french pastry for Sydney and I; we spent six months perfecting our own macaron recipe. We wanted to design a recipe that would be conducive for all climates, living in the high altitude of the Colorado Rockies and the sensitivity to delicate pastry biscuit we felt compelled that our recipe works for everyone where ever they live. In order to proclaim, with integrity, our macaron recipe could delivery we traveled to 92 percent humidity of Hawaii , the Caribbean, Sydney was able to test the master macaron recipe in Illinois while visiting colleges, and we both were able to test the recipe while we were in Paris, France. By no means am I complaining; I have spent close to nineteen years teaching Sydney, your word is who you are. When I proclaim anything I am as sure as I can be and it is important Sydney learned your reputation relies on trust…There I go again jumping off track…
I can say in all honesty there were many recipes that, though might have been tasty did not work well: some never developed the crinkly feet, some hand “pimpleie tops,” and then there where the ones that look correct, but lacked the meringue texture. I kept telling Sydney mistakes are how we learn, but being the perfectionists I am it was excruciating for me to look through the glass and see a mishap.
Finally one day in June (a summer month) Sydney grabbed me to look as the feet forming, still I was skeptical , it was not until they completely cooled and we cracked a biscuit open, that I knew we had finally developed the right chemistry..now we had to test the recipe outside Colorado, which we did and it is proven to work!
Lavande Vanille Macarons:
For the macaron shells:
66 grams/2.5 egg whites, divided in half, at least 1 day old separated
1 grams/a pinch egg white powder, optional & helpful
1 vanilla bean, scraped for seeds keep skin
138 grams/ 1 1/8-cup icing sugar
117 grams/ 1 1/8-cup almond finely ground
11 grams/ 1-Tablespoons grams freeze dried dehydrated lavender flowers, pulsed into a powder
11grams/ 1- Tablespoon vanilla powder
36 grams/ 1/8-cup water
135 grams/1 1/8 cup sugar
Vanilla bean, skins only
66 grams/ 2.5 egg white, about 2.5 eggs whites
1 grams/pinch egg white powder
7 grams/ 2-teaspoons superfine sugar
2 grams/ 1/8-teaspoon violet food colourant
1 Vanilla Bean
Lavender essence, about 3 drop, or lavender syrup
Prepare your mise en place. Divide half the egg whites and set aside.
Place the almonds, powdered sugar, Lavender powder, vanilla powder, and food coloring in a food processor and give them a good pulse until the nuts are finely ground.
Sift the tant pour tant (almond flour, Lavender powder, vanilla powder, and icing sugar) and set a side.
In a small pot over low heat, combine sugar, vanilla skins, and water. Swirl the pot over the burner to dissolve the sugar completely. Do not stir. Increase the heat and boil to a softball stage (235 to 240 degrees F/ 113 to 116 degrees C). Use a candy thermometer for accuracy. Wash down the inside wall of the pot with a wet pastry brush. This will help prevent sugar crystals from forming around the sides, falling in and causing a chain reaction.
Meanwhile, prepare your meringue.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the other half of eggs whites and egg white powder on medium low speed until foamy. Add the lavender essence or syrup, increase the speed to medium, and beat until soft peaks and add vanilla seeds, and begin to slowly add super fine sugar to the egg whites. Whisk egg whites to medium firm.
With the mixer running, pour the hot sugar syrup in a thin stream over fluffed egg whites. Beat until the egg whites are stiff, shiny, and glossy. Do not overbeat your meringue or it will be too dry. The meringue should resizable a whipped cream texture, as my daughter says.
Take the bowl with your tant pour tant (almond mixture) and add the reserved half of egg whites.
Add a third of the meringue to the tant pour tant, give it a quick fold to break some of the air, keep folding till the almond mixture is mixed into the meringue, and then fold another third of the meringue into the batter, continue to vigorously fold till there are no white streaks. Now add the last third of meringue to the batter fold till thick, shiny and ribbons fall from the spatula. Fold the batter carefully until you obtain a batter that falls back on itself and resembles shiny cake batter. There is no magic, I am not going to tell you that the batter should look like magma, I doubt you have ever seen it up close, I know I haven’t!
Fill a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip with the batter and pipe small rounds (1.5 inches in diameter) onto silicone mats lined baking sheets or parchment paper lined baking sheets.
Let the macarons sit out for about 1 hour to make sure the shells are hard. A well-made macaron features a crinkly “foot” on the bottom of each shell (look at the above diagram for a reference). Let the piped batter rest for 30 to 60 minutes, and then rap the sheets on a tabletop to help them set properly. And stack two baking sheets together, so the delicate cookies are sitting atop a double- or even triple-thick baking pan.
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F/ 149 degrees C.
Right before placing the macarons in the oven reduce the heat to 280 degrees F/ 138 degrees C.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, depending on their size.
Bake the macarons for 5 minutes, then quickly open the oven door, turn the pan, and close the oven. Bake them for another 5minutes and open and close the oven again. Continue to bake the macarons until the tops are rounded and firm and a craggy ridge, the foot, has formed around the base, about 5minutes (check the macarons after a couple minutes, as the baking time will vary by oven).
White Chocolate Whipped Cream Ganache:
112 grams/ 1/2-cup Valrhona white chocolate, finely chopped
60 grams/ 1/4-cup heavy whipping cream
1-Tablespoon corn syrup
½ vanilla bean, scraped for seeds
2-teaspoons white chocolate liqueur
120/ 1/2-cup grams heavy cream, cold
1-Tablespoon crème fraiche
7 grams/1-Tablespoon icing sugar
60 grams/ 2 egg whites
15 grams/ 1-Tablespoon
Prepare your mise en place.
Place the bowl from a standing mixer along with the whisk attachment in the freezer.
Chop the white chocolate finely and place in a food processor.
In a medium saucepan over medium heat scald the cream stirring often. (Heat it to the boiling point; small bubbles will form around border). Do not let the cream form a skin or boil beyond bubbling on the edge of the pan!
Pour the hot cream into a large measuring jug.
With the motor running of a food processor, pour the cream through the feeding tube in a steady stream and then pour corn syrup. Process for a few seconds until smooth. Scrape the ganache into a glass bowl, stir vigorously until the white chocolate ganache is shiny and glossy . Cover it with plastic wrap and allow it to cool, at room temperature,until the ganache reaches a frosting consistency. Allow the ganache to cool to between 20-22 degrees C/ 70-73 degrees F.
Using a hand mixer whisk egg whites to soft peaks, slowly add the sugar and whisk to stiff peaks, set aside.
When the white chocolate has cooled remove the bowl and whisk from the freezer, begin whipping heavy cream and crème fraiche, start on medium and elevate the speed to high, slowly add icing sugar. Reduce speed to medium-low add the white chocolate ganache slowly. Bring the speed to medium-high and be careful not to whip too far.
Fold the meringue into the whipped chocolate crème.
Line the biscuits on the cooling rack, match them as closely as possible, I prefer this step so each bottom fits perfectly with each top.
In the meantime prepare a piping bag with tip of choice; fill with the white chocolate ganache.
Begin with one macaron, layer the beautiful white ganache and than top with another macaron. Continue this processes till all macarons are filled sandwiches. Place the filled macarons sandwiches in an airtight container and allow the biscuits to macerate overnight for optimum taste.