Orange Flower, Ginger and Rose Macarons

by thomandaimee

Orange Flower, Ginger and Rose Macarons

This has been dragged for too long. November brought the lazy out of us, and the kitchen was left alone for awhile and pending posts were always in progress. Now that 2013 approaches (just 11 days to go!), the familiar feeling of urgency creeps up. I always feel that way at the end of a year. Like there is not enough time to accomplish anything. January 2012: I will lose the extra weight. December 2012: Hello to more lumps!

Note to self: no more New Year resolutions!

Anyway, this was meant to be up in October when a dear, dear friend of mine got married. It is strange and surreal seeing your best friend going up the altar to make a life-changing decision. In that moment, it felt as though I was in a crystal dome looking out. It does make one ponder upon life and one’s future. (The feeling of urgency did not come though. Not yet anyway.)

A union between two separate individuals is magical, and what better way to celebrate this momentous occasion than with a bunch of sweet little pastries. Yes, macarons. The orange, ginger and rose exemplify the sweetness, spiciness and zest of a funny little thing called love. We thought it was a subtle and lovely way to commemorate the special day. Plus, we’d use any reason to make macarons. So here’s me toasting a macaron to the new couple: a beginning to more hugs and tiffs, but stay as happy as you are now and in the future. And stay crazy. You’ll probably need it.

Orange Flower, Ginger and Rose Macarons
By Pierre Hermé

Makes 36 macarons, 72 shells

For the Macaron Shells
150g ground almonds
150g icing sugar
55g liquefied egg whites
0.5g strawberry red food colouring
0.5g lemon yellow food colouring
+
150g caster sugar
38g mineral water
55g liquefied egg whites

For the Rose and Orange Flower Ganache

133g liquid creme fraiche (35% fat)
168g Valrhona Ivoire converture
10g orange flower water
1g rose essence
10g rose syrup
7.5g candied orange peel
7.5g ginger preserved in sugar

Directions

Prepare the template for macaron shells by cutting a sheet of baking parchment that fits inside a baking tray. Draw circles measuring 3.5cm in diameter and space the circles 2cm apart.

To make the macaron shells, sift together the icing sugar and ground almonds. Stir the food colouring into the first portion of egg whites. Pour them into the mixture of icing sugar and ground almonds. Do not stir.

Place sugar and water to a large saucepan under low heat. Dissolve sugar before bringing it to a boil over medium heat at 118C. Do not stir the sugar mixture when it starts bubbling as it will create sugar crystals. Have a pastry brush with a bowl of cold water at hand. When the sugar boils, clean the sides of the saucepan with the damp brush.

While sugar is bubbling, simultaneously start whisking the second portion of egg whites to soft peaks. When the sugar reaches 118C, take the saucepan off the heat and pour the hot sugar in a thin stream over the egg whites. Whisk egg whites at high speed for 1 minute before reducing to medium speed. Continue to whisk for 2 minutes then allow meringue to rest until it cools down to 50C.

Tip meringue into the mixture of icing sugar and ground almonds. Fold the batter and stir outwards from the middle to the sides, rotating the bowl as you stir. Continue stirring until the batter is just starting to turn glossy, like slightly runny cake dough.

Scoop a little batter and scrape into a piping bag, fitted with a plain nozzle. Fill the bag with half of the batter by scraping it on the side of the bag. Squeeze batter into piping bag so it ends up to the end of the piping bag, to prevent any space or air bubbles in the batter. Twist the end of the piping bag several times and start to pipe the batter out.

Lay the macaron template on the baking tray and cover it with a sheet of baking parchment. Hold the piping bag vertically, about 2 cm above the baking tray. Squeeze the top to pipe out the first shell. The shell should be smaller than the template circle, just short of 3.5cm in diameter as the batter will spread during baking.

Continue to pipe the shells out onto other baking trays with the template until all the batter is piped out. Flatter the points that have formed on the shells by rapping the baking tray on a work surface with a moist kitchen towel.

Allow the shells to stand at room temperature (or in an air-conditioned room) for about 30 minutes until a skin forms on the surface. To test when it’s ready, gently touch the shell; the batter should not stick to your finger.

Pre-heat oven to 180C and bake the shells for 12 minutes. Open the oven door after eight minutes and after 10 minutes, to let out steam. Once baked, slide the macaron shells out of the baking tray and onto the work surface to prevent the shells from baking further on the baking tray. Allow the macarons to cool on the baking parchment as taking them off when it’s warm will tear the bottom.

When cooled, carefully unstick the shells from the baking parchment. They are now ready to be filled. You can store them for 48 hours in the refrigerator or freeze them.

To make the Rose and Orange Flower Ganache, rinse the pieces of ginger and candied orange peel in warm water. Pat dry and chop them finely.

Chop up the chocolate and melt it in a pan of barely simmering water. Bring the cream to a boil – be careful as the cream might overflow. Pour the cream over the melted chocolate a third at a time. Add the orange flower water, rose essence and rose syrup and mix. Add the chopped ginger and orange peel, and mix thoroughly. Pour mixture to a gratin dish, press clingfilm over the surface of the ganache. Place it in the refrigerator to allow ganache to thicken.

Spoon the cooled ganache into a piping bah fitted with a plain nozzle. Pipe a generous mound of ganache on half of the shells and top with the remaining shells. Store the macarons in the refrigerator for 24 hours before serving.

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