I have mentioned in the past Sydney has loved cherry blossoms since she was a little girl. Living in Colorado there are not a plethora of cherry blossom trees, but we always had a few cherry blossom trees in our yard of each home we owned,we called them Sydney’s tree. Recently Sydney and I were fortuitous to have the opportunity to taste a cherry blossom cake roll. The first thought I had was macarons, cherry blossom macarons. I asked my host where I might purchase cherry blossom flavorings; I was informed Japan. I thought how hard can it be to find cherry blossom extract.. well very. Sydney and I were just about to give up when a friend of mine, from Japan, offered to bring me some back with him (he is a Japanese native). I have waited almost a month, but on Monday, we finally received a wonderful package of not only cherry blossom extract, but pickled cherry blossom, cherry blossom compound, and cherry blossom sugar. I am not quite sure what Sydney and I will create with the pickled cherry blossom, but am thrilled to have the chance to try!
If you are intrigued by these specially flavored macarons please leave me a comment and I will try to send you some cherry blossom flavorings; both Sydney and I believe in “sharing forward” karma!
Cherry Blossom (Sakura) Macarons:
- 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
- 22 grams/ 2-Tablespoons grams Cherry blossom compound
- 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 cherry blossom sugar
- 1grams/ 1/16-teaspoon rouge food colorant
- 1 Vanilla Bean
- Sakura cherry blossom essence, about 3 drops
Prepare your mise en place.
Place the almonds, powdered sugar, cherry blossom compound, and food colorants in a food processor and give them a good pulse until the nuts are finely ground.
Sift the tant pour tant in two batches (almond flour, sakura compound, and icing sugar) and set a side.
Prepare the Italian meringue mise en place.
In a small pot over low heat, combine water, sugar, and vanilla skins. 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 walls 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 cherry blossom essence, 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 the fluffed egg whites. Beat until the egg whites are stiff, shiny, and glossy. Do not over beat 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. A vented jellyroll pan edge free is perfect. Rap the jellyroll pan on the counter to allow air bubbles to be released.
Let the macarons to 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. Let the piped batter rest for 30 to 60 minutes, check for a skin to develop and place in the oven.
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 5 minutes 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 5 minutes (check the macarons after a couple of minutes, as the baking time will vary by the oven).
Remove the silicone mat or parchment paper with the macarons still attached to a cooling rack; so they do not become soggy. Once the macarons are freely loosen from the silpat/parchment paper transfer to another cooling rack for a good 2 hours.