After coping with the humidity factor churning out macarons became a great fun. We amuse ourselves by creating scrumptious combinations of natural colours and flavours. It's always interesting to experiment with colourful ingredients. This time on the spot is the safflower.
Safflower is one of humanity's oldest crops used as a colouring agent. In the past, before the appearance of the cheaper aniline dyes, safflower had been used for colouring foods and fabrics. The colour it gives ranges from yellow to red nuances. We like using it as a food colourant as it has a mild floral flavour. Besides those little flowers are more than adorable.
We've made the macaron shells in the evening and had no idea about what filling to use, or rather we had so many ideas that it was hard to choose from. But after a good sleep the filling came to its place.
The lime zest has more pungent and distinctive flavour than the lemon one and harmonize very zen with the safflower. The addition of the kukicha tea suppress part of the sweetness of the white chocolate and gives a grassy nuance to the flavour complex. And the cream cheese lighten the ganache.
Safflower Macarons Recipe:
Makes 34 3cm macarons (68 shells)
Note: For the meringues we used the following proportions - 1,22 gr almonds / 2,4 gr sugar per every gram of egg whites.
All the ingredients were weighed out after dehydrating.
- 82 gr egg whites (3-days aged);
- 15 gr granulated sugar;
- 100 gr blanched almonds;
- 197 gr powdered sugar;
- 1 heaped Tbsp safflower;
- additional safflower for sprinkling on top.
In a food processor grind the almonds till coarse semolina size. Add in the powdered sugar and grind finely. Add the safflower powder and pulse 2-3 times to blend. Sift the mix to remove any clumps.
In a large bowl begin beating the egg whites on a low speed. When they are foamy gradually add the granulated sugar. If necessary increase the speed to medium (but not high). Beat till glossy meringue.
Remove the beaters. Add the almonds/sugar mixture in two or three times and fold carefully until homogenous.
Line a baking pan with paper. Pour the batter into a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip (we use № 7) and pipe about 3cm large rounds leaving 2cm space between them. Tap the pan on the counter several times to bring up any air bubbles. Sprinkle some safflower on top.
Let the macarons rest for 30 – 45 minutes to form a skin. At the end they should not be tacky on touch.
Preheat the oven to 160º C. When the shells are no more tacky on touch, bake for 10-12 minutes.
Remove from the paper and let cool on a wire rack. (If not using immediately, store the shells in an airtight container.)
Lime – Kukicha White Chocolate Cream Cheese Ganache Recipe:
- 50 gr heavy cream;
- 100 gr white chocolate;
- 50 gr butter;
- 100 gr cream cheese;
- zest of 1 lime;
- 1 leveled tsp kukicha tea.
Bring the cream to a simmer. Then pour the hot cream over the chocolate. Wait for a minute, then stir to obtain a smooth ganache. When the temperature falls to 50ºC add in the butter cut into small pieces. Mix well.
With an electric mixer beat the cream cheese, lime zest and powdered kukicha tea. Add in the ganache and beat till combined.
To assemble: Fill a pastry bag with the ganache and couple the macaron shells with a good twist of ganache. Store the macarons in an airtight container in the fridge. Let them rest for 24 hours before eating.