French Macarons flavored with Cherries
After posting recipes for almost 5 years, I realized I had never paid homage to the most famous French pastry: le macaron. Today is my attempt to correct this oversight. I made cherry-flavored macarons since this delicious red fruit is finally available in the market.
Making this delicate confection is very time-consuming but so rewarding. I'm not as good at it as I would love to be. They really should rise a bit more in volume, but the meringue still looks decent and the taste is there. The elements of the macaron are egg whites, powdered sugar, granulated sugar, almond flour and a bit food coloring. This assembly is also tricky as the shells can be crushed very easily. I simply add a small mound of cherry-flavored white chocolate ganache and then holding them by the base of the cookie, gently press the two shells together against each other to form the beautiful sandwich cookie.
Yields: 20 sandwich cookies1 cup whole almonds, blanched (see tips)
1¾ cups + 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
4 egg whites
4 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 pinch red food coloring powder (optional)
½ cup heavy whipping cream
1¾ ounces white chocolate, coarsely chopped
¾ teaspoon honey
¼ teaspoon cherry extract
3 fresh cherries, pitted and very finely chopped
For the almond flour: Coarsely chop the almonds then grind them with a food processor or spice grinder (I use the VitaMix Dry Blade Container) until they turn into a powder. Make sure you stop before it turns into almond butter. The result should be a fine white mill. Set aside or bake a few minutes in the oven to ensure a dry product (see tips).
Sifting the flour: Gather 20 tablespoons almond flour. Using a coarse-mesh tamis (or sieve), sift the almond flour with the powdered sugar. Remove and discard the solids (about 1 tablespoon).
For the egg-whites: Place the egg whites in a mixing bowl. Whisk until you get soft peaks then, adding 1 teaspoon granulated sugar at a time, whisk until you get stiff peaks (don't over-mix or it will become grainy). The egg whites should stick right up. Using a spatula, gently fold the almond flour mixture and a pinch of red food coloring into the egg whites until just combined and smooth (don't over-mix).
Once cooled, gently lift the halved shells from the parchment paper. Pipe the filling onto the flat side of half of the cookies and top with the other halves, forming a cookie sandwich. Be very gentle as the shells are very delicate and can break very easily.
Little reminder on how to blanch almonds: Place the almonds in a saucepan. Cover with water and bring to a boil for about 2-3 minutes. Drain and remove the skin.
You can buy ready-made almond flour. You can use Bob's Red Mill brand flour or the flour at Trader Joe's. I prefer to make it myself. Remember to get a little more than 4.5 ounces of whole almonds (I buy them at Costco) to get the correct amount of almond flour.
To guarantee a dry product, spread the almonds (once turned into almond flour) onto a baking pan and bake in the oven at 300°F for 10 minutes.
If coloring the macarons, it's important to use powdered food coloring so as not to change the texture of the shells. You can find red food coloring powder in most Indian markets.Published By: on May 31, 2013.