I’m sure a lot of you have been wondering where I have been, and even a few of you lovelies have reached out to me to see how I am doing. Gosh my readers are so sweet. My last post seems like forever ago, and um, well, it was! Two months today. I feel like I am always saying, where does the time go, but – where does the time go?
A week after my last post, I went on holidays for a couple of weeks, had my last birthday before I move up an age bracket and – I GOT ENGAGED! Yes, such an exciting time.
Not long after I got back from my vacation, I received my advanced copy of the Paleo book I was shooting all of April-May with Lizzy Marsh from Primal Junction, and now we are in the promo stages. I’ll be sharing some recipes on here, as well as a portfolio update and book give-away just before its release date on 1 September.
We are already shooting more books, and so I have quite a bit of work on.
Any spare time that I have, I’ve been making wedding plans and holy moly is that a lot of work in itself. Women dream about their wedding days their whole lives, and the more we start to make plans, the more I feel like it’s really not my cup of tea. Which is why we are ‘making our own rules’, one of my favourite lines from Sex and the City.
Talia and I met up after my vacation to brain storm what we wanted to work on next. We have been toying with the idea of macarons for some time now, and thought this was the perfect opportunity to have a little celebration for the release of Paleo, the up-coming publications we are working on and my engagement. Talz, you’re amazing.
We played with a few more stylised concepts than we usually do, which I enjoy the most. Plus I have been dying to use this little tin I found, and so glad the macarons did it justice.
The idea of the Persian Fairy Floss Roses was kind of a spur of the moment thing. We had always planned to incorporate it in some way, and it made sense to have them as a quirky feature. Talia has some pretty kick-ass fondant flower making skills for her cupcakes, so this was a cinch for her. If you are not up to that fiddly business, and not all of us are, you can always invented your own style with the fairy floss.
Talia also has some love notes for the recipe at the end of this post, so always good to check those out first if you are tackling macarons.
It’s lovely to have you back here, let me know what you have been up to!
Liquorice Macaron with Persian Fairy Floss Roses
Makes approx. 35-40 shells (15-20 macarons)
120g (4.2oz) almond meal
230g (8.1oz) icing sugar, (powered sugar)
4 egg whites (125-130g/ 4.4-4.5oz)
60g (2.1oz) caster sugar
Yellow and red food colouring
Black sesame seeds
330g (10.5oz) soft liquorice, cut into small pieces
600ml thickened cream (2.5 cups US measurement)
Rose Persian Fairy Floss
Place almond meal and icing sugar in a food processor and blend on high-speed for 30 seconds. Pass through a sieve into a bowl.
Place the egg whites into a clean and dry mixing bowl and beat with electric beaters on high-speed. When soft peaks start to form, slowly add the caster sugar until firm and glossy. Then add your food colouring. (To get the desired colour for this recipe add 8 drops of yellow and 2 drops of red, however feel free to colour as you like).
Add one-third of the dry ingredients into the whipped egg whites (meringue) and fold with a spatula, being careful not to lose too much air. Combine the remaining dry ingredients into the meringue in 2-3 batches until well combined.
Line flat trays with baking paper and preheat the oven to 150 C (300 F) fan forced. Place the mixture into a piping bag with a 10mm (0.4″) diameter round tip. Carefully pipe 4cm (0.15″) rounds onto a baking tray, leaving room between each circle as they will spread a little bit on the tray.
Sprinkle the shells with black sesame seeds, and allow the shells to rest for minimum of 15 minutes. The shells should form a ‘skin’ and if touched lightly will not leave any mixture on your finger.
Bake the shells for 4-6 minutes (until they rise and the ‘feet’ set) at 150 C (300 F) then drop the temperature to 120 C (250 F) for another 6-8 minutes. The timing and temperature may vary depending on your oven, so do one tray at a time (you will have about 35-40 shells). Watch the first tray carefully to see how the shells react in your oven and time your baking, then you can follow suit for the remaining trays.
Once baked, remove the baking paper with the shells on it from the tray onto a cooling rack. This will prevent the shells from drying out.
Once cool, carefully peel the shells of the baking paper (or lift off with a metal spatula), match up the similar sized shells and line them up in pairs (flat side up), ready for the filling.
Place liquorice pieces and thickened cream in a saucepan. Place over a low heat on the stove and stir until smooth. If you find there are still small pieces of liquorice you can place into a blender and blitz it until smooth. Allow it to cool before piping.
Place the filling in a piping bag with a 10mm (0.4″) round tip.
With the shells still flat side up on the wire rack, pipe a generous amount of filling on the inside of one of the shells. Keep the tip fairly close to the shell when piping to allow the mixture to spread outwards.
Pick up both shells with your fingers around the perimeter and gently push together so that the filling spreads the edge of the macaron. Voila! You have a delicious liquorice macaron.
The persian fairy floss roses
To make the persian fairy floss roses – mould a small piece into a ‘bud’ shape, like a small balloon. Then grab a ‘strand’ of the fairy floss and attach the end to the bottom of the bud. Carefully loop the remaining length of the strand up, over and around the outside of the bud, making sure you turn it as you go, until it looks like a flower. This is just a guide, so be creative with the fairy floss. You can get Persian Fairy Floss from fine food or middle eastern stores.
Please note your egg whites will not whip properly if there is any egg yolk or shell in it, so be careful when separating your eggs.
Use liquid food colouring, as gel based colours don’t agree with egg whites.
Before placing the meringue into the piping bag, twist the end of the bag closest to the nozzle and push it into the piping tip. When you are ready to pipe, untwist the end and push the meringue through the bag.
Some people like to use a template to assist getting the perfectly sized circle macaron. You can do this by tracing circles onto the baking paper (i.e. tracing around the rim of a shot glass) and then flipping it over onto your baking tray. Make sure the pencil side is facing down!
If your shells get air bubbles once piped, pick up the tray about 30cm (1 ft) off the bench and drop flat back onto the bench, or a hard surface. This will pop the bubbles and make your shells extra smooth.
Black sesame seeds are available at most delicatessens or fine food stores.
When assembling the macaron, some people prefer to place one shell on top of the other once the filling is piped and then push down gently for the filling to spread.