The MacTweets challenge #17 for March 2011 was Sugar & Spice and Everything….Fruity… with a requirement to make sure the macarons incorporate both a spice and a fruit, at least one of each.
I have to admit I nearly didn't make this challenge, I have been a bit busy and although I had quite a few great ideas I just wasn't feeling spicy this month.
Then I noticed poppy seeds in the spice section of the supermarket and I was inspired.
Poppy seed macarons filled with an orange curd based buttercream, just the perfect thing for a refreshing afternoon pick me up.
I'm sure the rest of the MacTweets crowd will have a great bunch of macarons in the end of month line up, looking forward to seeing what they come up with on this one.
Recipe after the jump.
Poppy Seed Macarons (makes about 40 joined macarons) recipe based on Pierre Herme's recipe.
190g (6 5/8 ounce) ground almonds
190g (6 5/8 ounce) Icing (powdered) Sugar
140g Egg Whites, (5 ounce) aged at least 3 days, separated into 2 lots of 70g (2 1/2 ounce)
190g (6 5/8 ounce) Granulated Sugar
48g ( 1 5/8 ounce) Water
2 tsp poppy seeds
few drops orange food colour (I used americolor orange)
1. Mix the ground almonds and icing sugar together and pulse a few times in food processor to make almond meal finer. Do not over process as the meal can become oily. Sieve into a large bowl. Add poppy seeds, colour and 70g (2 1/2ounce) of the egg whites to the sugar/almond mixture but don’t mix in.
2. Place remaining 70g (2 1/2 ounce) of egg whites in bowl of mixer fitted with the whisk.
3. Pop granulated sugar and water into saucepan stir to combine and cook without stirring to 118C. If required brush down the sides of the pan to stop crystallisation from occurring. Once the mixture reaches 115C start mixing the egg whites on high (The eggwhites should be quite stiffly whipped before the syrup is added). Once the sugar syrup reaches 118C remove from heat and immediately pour in a thin stream down the side of the mixer bowl continuing to whisk on high.
4. Continue to whisk the meringue on high until the side of the bowl is only a little warm to touch, around 50C.
5. Add meringue mixture to almond mixture and using a large spatula fold the mixture together until it starts to shine and forms a ribbon that stays visible for about 30 seconds.
6. Add the mixture to a piping bag fitted with a plain tip and pipe small circles in lines onto parchment lined baking sheets. To make the macarons as even as possible I apply a constant slow pressure to the piping bag and count a few numbers like up to 3 for each one.
7. Set aside for about 30 minutes or until the macarons have formed a skin that doesn't stick to your finger. If the weather is humid this will take longer. If the weather is very humid it is best to make these in an area with an air conditioner which reduces humidity.
8. Preheat oven to 140C (285 F). Once ready bake the macaroons for around 13 to 15 minutes depending on size, they should not be browned. To test if the macaron is cooked you can open the door and gently press on the side of the macaron. If it jiggles on the 'foot' it is not cooked close the door and cook for another minute or 2 and repeat the jiggle test.
Remove the baking trays and immediately slide off the macarons and the parchment onto the work surface and let cool completely before removing the shells.
Orange Curd Buttercream
Make Orange Curd
juice from 1 orange (aprrox 1/2 a cup)
zest from 2 oranges
100g sugar (3.38 oz)
80g butter (2.7 oz)
Combine all ingredients except the egg in a saucepan over low heat and stil until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and whisk in egg. Return to love heat and stir continuously until the mixture thickens. Pour into another bowl and cover with plastic wrap (pressing down onto the surface) to prevent a skin from forming.
Mix together 60g (2 oz) unsalted butter with 2 cups sifted icing sugar until well combined and creamy. Mix in the cooled orange curd. Pop into the fridge until cool.
Pop the orange curd buttercream into a piping bag and use to join macaron shells together.