I was working on a new cake recipe for the Christmas 2015 edition of a magazine, using orange, cranberry and white chocolate as the key flavours. However, I had a fair bit of ganache left over….so macarons were called for!
Besides, I need no excuse to make a batch of macarons!
The basic macaron recipe:
The recipe for the macarons is here; one of my first ever blog posts.
There is nothing original in the post’s ingredients as it is a standard macaron recipe (using the French meringue method that I usually go for), but the post itself arose after my many attempts to get them just right and I wanted as near a fool-proof approach as possible after many trials at dozens of recipes and approaches.
The post is not short but it has detailed notes and key tips for making perfect macarons, along with my comments on the many different approaches there are for making them. So make a pot of tea, pull up a chair and read through the post in a leisurely way!
A point about flavour:
Macarons should not be just about the look, I feel: both the filling and the shells really must taste great, and the shells should ideally be flavoured to represent or hint at the filling: fruit powders, cocoa powder, coffee powder etc….are great for achieving this.
That said, an unflavoured shell is hardly an abomination by any standards, and quite frankly I would not pass up on any such macaron! But the filling absolutely must pack a flavour punch.
I feel the same way about cupcakes: as colourful and decorative as they can be, there has to be more to them than just very sweet topping or dry sponge: both should be well flavoured and complement each other……surely?
For these macarons, to the main recipe for the shells I added a couple of teaspoons of dried orange powder instead of the raspberry powder in the main recipe.
The filling is white chocolate ganache (see below), into which a little reduced orange juice, grated orange zest and chopped dried cranberries were added.
For the reduced orange juice, which has a wonderfully intense flavour, boil freshly squeezed orange juice in a small pan until reduced by at least half and it becomes syrupy: the slight bitterness and the warmth you get from the reduced orange is, I think, heavenly.
For a simple ganache, bring about 60ml double cream to the boil in a small pan. Remove from heat and pour it over 100g chopped white chocolate, stirring until it has melted.
Mix in the flavours suggested above and leave to cool: it will thicken as it cools and use it to sandwich pairs of macaron shells when the filling holds its shape.