Life is a Bowl of Provençal Cherry Macarons

Life last weekend changed; it changed with five huge bowls filled with the largest, juiciest dark cherries I’d ever seen. Antoine and the girls picked them chez les beaux-parents in Provence.  I suppose it was compensation for not going.  Now I had to make something from them and although jam was on the list, I’m sure you know what was on my mind.

Cherry-coloured macaron shells were first (raspberry pink mixed with indigo blue powdered colouring), then a few drops of almond extract were added to the macaron shell mix.

Then came the task of pitting the cherries with no fancy cherry pitter; just a knife and fingers. You’re not getting the photos to show the lovely fingernails afterwards:  I’m so glad I wasn’t invited to the Elysée Palace this week. 😉

Then time to simmer 500g cherries with 40g sugar and cinnamon (I used double quantities).

Don’t forget to skim off the foam that forms at the top.

Then I blitzed the cherries using a hand blender, added 10g gelatine (pre-soaked in cold water for 5 minutes), 20ml Kirsch mixed with 15g cornflour; then let the compote cool and set in the fridge until transferring to the piping bag and set again (this part is important, otherwise the compôte will be too soft and make the macarons too wet).  Meanwhile, an almond filling was made using my recipe on pages 38-39 from the book.

Time to “dress” the macaron shells – as the French so fashionably put it – after some inspiration from watching the pastry chefs in action at ‘Pain de Sucre’ with Adam.

dark cherry macarons with almond filling - recipe Mad About Macarons

Leave them in the fridge for 24 hours.  Next afternoon, stick your feet up with a pot of darjeeling tea and a bowl of cherry-almond macarons.  This is the life! 🙂

There was still plenty of cherry and cinnamon jellied compôte, so it helped make the the base for a quick and easy dessert of rose and cardamom panna cottas.

There were still more cherries!  By simply carmelising them with a few cardamom seeds and a splash of balsamic vinegar, they were transformed into cherry sauce for some juicy duck…

No macarons here but jings was it good with frites

…carmelised again with slightly more sugar and vanilla and then dribbled on top of choux pastry waffles.

cherry almond macarons MadAboutMacarons.com

Life is a bowl of cherry almond macarons

It was easy to get carried away since I still had 100g of egg whites and, as they were defrosted, I just HAD to use them! So, more cherry macarons with the same jellied compôte, but this time a different colour (to match Napoleon cherries), some vanilla buttercream filling (on p.35 of the book) and with a touch of basil.  Basil?  Well, after seeing Kitchen Confidente’s amazing cherry and basil sorbet, who couldn’t be inspired?

almond macarons with cherry compote

Adding just a leaf of my miniature globe basil plant to put on top of the vanilla cream. Oops, I forgot to take the photo with the basil, sorry: too busy getting carried away being “arty” with the cherry look using the compôte!

Cherry, vanilla & basil macarons

Who said life was a bowl of cherries?  They forgot les macarons… Don’t forget that macarons are gluten free, too.

I’ve added this post to the MacTweet Challenge for June.  Cheers to my fellow macaronivores, who are currently coming up with the most gorgeously tempting, fruity macarons.  I get so excited seeing so many macarons together, don’t you? 🙂

black cherry compote and almond macarons MadAboutMacarons

Life is a bowl of cherry macarons

Egg Yolk Recipe Series

My guest this week for the egg yolk recipe series is Hester Casey of Alchemy in the Kitchen.  She came up with a cracker of a recipe for a White Chocolate and Raspberry Paris-Brest.  Absolutely stunning. Shhh, don’t tell anyone, but hers are far more enticing than the original ones that were created by the Durand Pâtisserie in Maisons-Laffitte.

Guest Recipe: White Chocolate and Raspberry Paris-Brest

Today is an extra special Guest Post. My lovely Irish guest, Hester Casey, is not only sharing a cracker of an egg yolk recipe with us, but it’s also the first anniversary of her blog, Alchemy in the Kitchen.  Congratulations on your first blogversary, Hester!

When Hester revealed she was making Paris-Brest, I immediately took a trip down memory lane with my girls this week to Maisons-Laffitte.  We lived there for 5 years just around the corner from THE Pâtisserie that created the Paris-Brest back in 1910.


This happy Monsieur, Louis Durand, was obviously over the moon!  What a clever idea, creating a pastry in the shape of a wheel especially for the famous bicycle race.

The girl serving in the shop saw us taking pictures outside. When I explained that I could mention it on le Blog and link up to them, she stared at me blankly with,”Oh, I don’t know if you can do that”. Well, voilà: check out the official Paris-Brest website at www.paris-brest.fr.

We bought a few mini Paris-Brests but would you believe, none of the minis were in the shape of a bicycle wheel!  They were more like a shell.  I’ll post the pic up on Facebook, if you’re interested.

These people need to market themselves, for goodness sake. Even the pastry box uses an email address rather than the website address.

They NEED YOU, Hester! Here she is now to show us her white chocolate and raspberry Paris-Brest.

Hester, Alchemy in the Kitchen

I’m Hester of Alchemy in the Kitchen. I’m one of seven siblings, and postcard Irish with auburn hair and a sprinkling of freckles. My home is Wicklow, “the garden of Ireland”, with my husband Chris, chief taster-in-residence.

Growing up in a large family meant our house was like a restaurant, with starter, soup, main and dessert each evening.  It was noisy, with everyone conducting at least three conversations simultaneously. Even though it was crowded, room could always be found for whoever happened along at mealtimes. How could I help but love food and the conviviality it brings!  To this day, I find it hard to prepare meals for fewer than 10 people.

When Jill invited me to guest post on Le Blog, I was thrilled. I’m a huge fan of Mad About Macarons and it is a real honour and pleasure to accept her invitation. Jill conveys her passion for great food and for Paris in equal measure, with a large helping of humour. I know when I read each of her posts they will have me drooling, or laughing,  or both – that gets messy. 🙂

White Chocolate and Raspberry Paris-Brest

The egg yolk challenge is a great idea because who hasn’t – at some stage – got a bowl of forlorn egg yolks sitting in the fridge. Having been parted from their whites – who have gone on to star as Magnificent Macarons, Marvellous Meringues, or Superb Soufflés – the poor old egg yolk tends to be forgotten.

Egg yolks can achieve greatness too. After all, Botticelli painted The Birth of Venus using egg yolk-based paint. Botticelli provided a feast for the eyes – here is something you can get your teeth into.  Gateau Paris-Brest is a delectable choux pastry, named after the famous Paris – Brest bicycle race. The shape represents a wheel. Here it is in miniature, my Summery version with raspberries and white chocolate pastry cream.

L’inspiration…le vélo

White Chocolate and Raspberry Paris-Brest

For 10 – 12 gorgeous little pastries you will need…

Pastry Cream (crème pâtissière)

300mls fresh milk
50g caster sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
a pinch of salt
15g plain flour
15g cornflour
4 egg yolks
50g good quality white chocolate, chopped

  1. Heat the milk in a medium saucepan until simmering.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks together with the vanilla extract and sugar until thick and paler in colour. Add in the salt, plain flour and cornflour and whisk until incorporated.
  3. Slowly add the simmering milk to the egg yolk mixture, whisking all the time (never add cold eggs to hot liquid unless you want scrambled eggs). Mix well and return the liquid to the saucepan. Continue to whisk over a low heat until the liquid has become a thick custard. This will take about 3 or 4 minutes. Make sure not to boil the custard or it will become grainy and may scramble. The custard is thick enough when it coats the back of a wooden spoon and a finger pulled though this coating leaves a clean trail.
  4. Add in the white chocolate and stir until it has melted into the custard.
  5. Transfer to a bowl and cover with clingfilm, making sure the clingfilm makes contact with the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Chill until ready to use. This can be prepared ahead and will keep in the refrigerator for several days.

Egg yolks – with the right company – are capable of greatness too

Choux Pastries

150mls water
50g butter
70g strong white flour/plain flour
A pinch of fine salt
2 eggs beaten

25g flaked almonds
You will also need a punnet of fresh raspberries
Pre-heat the oven to 200°C (fan oven) at step 8
  1. Heat the water and butter together in a medium saucepan until the butter has melted and the liquid is simmering
  2. Carefully tip the flour and salt into the liquid in one go. Stir with a wooden spoon until the mixture comes together in a soft ball of paste and no dry flour remains. Spread the ball of paste over the bottom of the saucepan and leave to cool to room temperature.
  3. When the paste has cooled, add in the beaten egg a little at a time, whisking well between additions. An electric whisk is best for this job. You want a smooth glossy soft paste that will hold its shape so check the mixture as you go along as you may not need to add all the egg.
  4. Transfer the mixture to a piping bag and pipe circles of the mixture (approximately 8cm/3 inches in diameter) onto a lightly buttered baking tray, leaving 5cm/2 inches between circles. Scatter the tops of the circles with almond flakes and transfer to the oven. Bake for approximately 15 minutes or until evenly golden brown. Remove from the oven and poke 2 horizontal slits in the side of each pastry to release some steam. Return to the oven for a further 2 minutes before removing to cool on a wire rack.
  5. Assemble the little pastries just before serving: slice them in half horizontally. Beat the cooled pastry cream until smooth. For a really decadent touch, I sometimes stir a tablespoon of mandarin brandy into the pastry cream at this stage. Pipe onto the lower half of the pastry wheel and add fresh raspberries. Replace the top and dust with icing sugar.

We taste wheel-y wheel-y delicious!

These little pastries are perfect accompaniment to a daydream where you might cycle from Paris to Brest, or perhaps paint a Renaissance masterpiece – using egg-yolk-based paint of course!

Don’t you just love it? They really look wheel-y, wheel-y light-as-a-feather gorgeous, Hester!  This “rounds” up this month’s guest posts just beautifully. Merci beaucoup!

Don’t forget to cycle over to Hester’s blog, Alchemy in the Kitchen.  She is certainly creating plenty magic: have you seen her latest simple ingredient tricks? She transformed a normal tzatziki into an apple and lime tzatziki with lamb kofte.  Would you believe she also coaxed some Bramley Apples to talk to some vanilla fudge and pastry? Agracadabra: it became a Walnut Fragipane Tart with Apple and Fudge! Enjoy her blog, and please say congratulations from me!  Happy Blogversary, Hester!

Creamy Lemon, Prawn and Asparagus Spaghetti

This has to be one of my favourite pronto pasta dishes after home-made pesto.  It’s “fast food”, easy, scrumptious and what’s more – it uses up egg yolks!  I mentioned this recipe briefly in the egg yolk pages in the book’s annex, but here it is in more detail.

I played about with a fish recipe for John Dory with Sorrel in my tattered and splattered Crème Fraîche Cookbook (Boutron/Ager) one night, since the photo had fresh noodles and called for egg yolks and lemon.  And since I only had prawns to hand and some fresh asparagus, this just evolved.

Vegetarians can omit the prawns and have a lovely lemony cream sauce with the asparagus.  I’m using asparagus, as it’s the end of its season here, but you can omit this and toss in fresh or frozen peas instead. It’s as simple as that.

My sincere excuses to my Italian friends for this photo.  As you can see, I do love pasta with my parmesan. Parmesan isn’t normally served with seafood pasta dishes, but I personally adore it.  Each time I sprinkle it on, my Corsican Mother-in-Law reminds me. Constantly; with that disapproving half-eye cringe. But I still love it, even if my feet shuffle under the table.

prawn lemon and asparagus spaghetti

Serves 4

Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 12 minutes

12 giant prawns
3 egg yolks
2 lemons, untreated
20 cl tub crème fraîche
50g freshly grated parmesan
1 tbsp fresh lemon thyme
bunch of green asparagus (optional)

1. Firstly, get some freshly cooked prawns and shell them.

2. Cook dried spaghetti in boiling salted water for about 10 minutes or until al dente.

3. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, mix the yolks, the juice and zest from the lemons, crème fraîche (or cream if you’re feeling decadently creamy), the parmesan and herbs, then season.

Mix lemon zest/juice, yolks, cream and parmesan

4. If using, break the stems off the asparagus (where they break naturally, about quarter up from the bottom) and cook them for about 5 minutes until al dente in boiling salted water.

5. Drain the pasta and in the same pasta pan, add in the sauce and toss the pasta in it.  Add the prawns, asparagus and decorate with extra fresh herbs such as lemon thyme or chives.

Serve pronto with a chilled glass of Chenin Blanc or Chardonnay.

Here I omitted the prawns and tossed in some roasted chicken leftovers…

Creamy lemon spaghetti with asparagus, lemon thyme & chicken

Et voilà. Keep the egg whites for a batch of macarons!

A huge thank you to my friend, Manu, from Manu’s Menu: she has been very generous in passing on a Versatile Blogger Award, plus others.  It means so much coming from Manu, as I’m always in awe of her fabulous Italian recipes:  her detailed step-by-step guides make it possible for us all to recreate her perfect dishes in our own kitchens.  Merci, Manu!  Congratulations to you, on winning the May Recipe Challenge at Food Frenzy with your Macarons with White Chocolate and Mint Ganache!  They are amazing. 🙂

Azay le Rideau Castle and l’Auberge du 12éme Siecle, Loire Valley

Welcome to a weekend away in the land of fairytale castles, vineyards, and gastronomic pleasures. Antoine whisked me away for 2 guilt-free days: no children to worry about, no cooking, laundry, shopping, homework, and above all – no computer. Ouf! We all need a wee breather now and again, don’t we?  Thanks, Mum and Dad, for making this possible!

It was only 3 hours’ drive from Paris – albeit that the back was playing up again and so I had to lie completely flat out in the car.  I discovered every inch of our car’s interior details but it was worth being patient.  Look what greeted us on arrival in Azay le Rideau…

Azay le Rideau Castle, Loire

I picked my bedroom out: that one with the pretty tower, please.  I’ll let down my short, dishwasher blond hair and Antoine can serenade me below, with a kareoke version of Lady in Red from his Blackberry.

 Not so sure if I liked the kitchen, though.  Imagine cooking with that “oven”?  Pretty hot work, n’est-ce pas?

Fancy this for your kitchen oven?

On the other hand, the drawing room was rather civilised.  Draw in your chair for a game of cards in front of the fireplace with the salamander symbol of François 1st, sip tea from a royal porcelain cup, and nibble on a macaron, peut-être?

Anyone for tea and a macaron?

The beds were always so small.  Did they really sleep upright?  Jings.  That couldn’t have been comfortable. The concrete mattress was possibly the same original that we had in our B&B up the road: back-breaking!

On the way out, a lovely large bottle of the local Bourgeuil red was just sitting saying bonjour.  The red wines here are served chilled. Each time I’ve had the Loire reds, though, I’ve not been as keen as the whites; something I have to work on…

 The wee town of Azay le Rideau is picture postcard material.  Walking over the bridge, there were a few people fishing in amongst the lily pads.

Just a 10 minute drive out of of Azay-le-Rideau, however, there is a gastronomic restaurant in the village of Saché: L’Auberge du XIIème Siècle.  Balzac lived in Saché (now a castle museum), and just up the road in Monts is where the abdicated Edward VIII married Wallis Simpson at the Château de Candé in 1937.

L’Auberge du XIIème siècle

Antoine and I couldn’t help ourselves.  We ate there two nights in a row.  Put a gourmet Frenchman and a Scot together to pick a restaurant and the best value for money element comes into play. 😉 We went for the normal dinner menu at €35.  Are you sitting comfortably?  Then I’ll show you the highlights as one meal, as we both tried absolutely everything, just for you

 The sommelier suggested a local sauvignon blanc for an apéritif.  This is perfect to get the appetite going, especially to accompany the five little amuse-bouches.  I’m apologising now, as I’m difficult in restaurants like this; I dare say that the cheese straw clashed with the langoustine mousse and the carrot-chive sorbet was a bit too sweet for my liking before a meal.  Now if they’d put spices in the carrot to react with the sugary sorbet, that would be totally dynamite…

The apéritif continues…

The rabbit confit (tasted just like roasted chicken bits) in the shot glass was tasty but so dry, accompanied by a little pancake with no sauce.  Wetting it with the sauvignon was the thing to do, I think.  The other pastry with snails was better. Time to go to our table indoors for the main meal…

Another amuse-bouche arrived.  This time a warm port caramel was sitting on a crème brûlée of foie gras.  I honestly would have preferred this for dessert.  It was far too sweet and the wine hadn’t arrived yet.  Why do I get so irritated when the sommelier has all the wine bottles in the centre of the room and you have to beg to be served?  Or am I just a wine artist?

 Now you’re talking.  A beautiful starter of sautéed giant prawns with asparagus, crispy potatoes on a lemon thyme jus arrived – enfin with a Chenin blanc, produced locally by an organic winegrower.

The crispy potatoes were revealed under the prawns – but they’d lost their crispiness.  Lovely idea, though; cut finely with a mandoline and in clean-cut, even rounds.

Filet de canette au jus d’ollives, confits d’été et sa tapenade – for one?

The main course of small duck (canette) arrived.  This was perfectly pink inside, the confit tomatoes and red peppers a perfect match, as was the tapenade – once I’d found it underneath the pile of chervil.  You can see from the lighting that service was slow but after seeing the cheese trolley (extra 12€ supplement), it was worth the wait.  I’ve never eaten so much chèvre (goat) cheese in my life!  The best over the weekend was goats’ cheese that was more mature and dry.  The flavour was powerful and was perfectly matched with the fig jam.

Still room for some Loire cheeses…

I couldn’t help putting the strongest chèvre under this lady’s nose on the plate.  On the palate, I preferred sticking to the Chenin blanc.  Antoine’s red chilled Chinon just didn’t have the same reaction.  It certainly went with the cheese ok (go for something outside the region and the cheese tastes like washing powder and no – I haven’t tried eating it, if you ask) but the Chenin brought out floral honey notes.

Superpostition de nougat glacé, soup aux fruits rouges

Oops.  Photos, Jill?  Wine and photos don’t go together, as I’ve shown my knack of camera shake like this before, remember? 😉  Da-dada-da-da-da: dessert!  Hm.  Lovely.  It was a bit disappointing, though. Antoine’s puff pastry flute to accompany the strawberries and green mint sorbet was the same they used for the apéritif, I’m sure.  I don’t like overly sweet desserts, but this seriously lacked sugar.

And, since we obviously looked like we were still hungry at this point, a verbena infusion (verveine: see blog post for verveine macarons) arrived with some mignardises: an orange fruit jelly, a mini crème brulée (see what I mean about the port caramel? That would have been fantastic at that point to finish up, although perhaps not with the foie gras!), an almond financier (excellent), and a beautiful raspberry mousse.

still room for mignardises?

I took one spoonful, but then the spoon wouldn’t fit into the glass to fetch out the rest.  Ah well, I think we really did well by that point.  Time to order a crane to lift us out of the restaurant, Monsieur?

All in all, I would give it 14 out of 20.  Where were the macarons? It was funny seeing clients order from the other menus – they had more or less the same things from the main menu, dressed up with bigger or smaller tasting portions. Antoine gets 20 out of 20 for taking me out – let’s face it, we don’t go out that much but when we do, I love getting ideas and inspiration for entertaining when my light fades in ze kitchen.

Or should I say he gets “vin sur vin”?   Speaking of wine, the chenin blancs were so good that we popped in to the cellars to find out more and stock up.  The winemakers were so passionate about their babies as they explained the much longer process of making wines organically.

Visiting the local organic wine cellars

First stop was at Château de la Roche en Loire.  Our favourite was the one in the restaurant: the 2009 Cuvée Céline. It’s so intensely fruity and “oily” that it can easily cope with partnering a meal from start to finish.  A real blockbuster that could even take on the toughest of highly flavoured dishes, was La Noblesse d’Aziaum 2006, from Pascal Pibaleau’s cellar.  Like all organic wines, you’ll see a lot of deposit at the bottom: c’est normal.

I’ll finally finish off with an image of one of my favourite trees, full of perfumed scents.  It greeted us on arrival at the B&B and we had breakfast underneath it.  Such inspiration for macarons, my friends!  I’ll show you next week. Any guesses?

Egg Yolk Recipe Series

I am so proud to welcome Marsha, the Harried Cook.  When her email arrived with her recipe and photos, she literally dropped a bombshell.  If you haven’t seen it already, drool over her Strawberries and Cream Mousse Pie, using pâte à bombe – a French term for a base of egg yolks and sugar.  What’s more, she’s offering a Giveaway of 2 Mad About Macarons!” books; hurry, the giveaway ends on Sunday 26 June.

Discover France Feature Article

Discover this super website, Discover France, for all of you who are mad about Paris and everything French.  If you have a moment, please read my first feature article for them.  

I’m so proud to be listed amongst their featured authors. They also include an excerpt from the book:

Discover the Decadent Fashionable Pâtisserie: The Parisian Macaron

Ouf ! I’m finished now, promise…


Guest Recipe: Strawberries and Cream Mousse Pie

How often have you felt harried or harrassed?  My guest this week is a full-time busybee: a part-time work-from-home, full-time wife, mother, obsessive foodie and, although “tends to be a worry-wart”, she still manages to have an adorable sense of humour while producing that harried magic in her kitchen.  I’m sure many of us can easily relate to Marsha; that’s what draws us to Marsha’s addictive blog, The Harried Cook. Would you believe The Harried Cook has only been going since March?  It’s with great pride to introduce Marsha Thompson as my guest on Mad About Macarons, as part of the egg yolk recipe series.

When Marsha emailed me with her recipe and photos, she certainly dropped a bombshell.  You’ll see what I mean.  Just look at that pie and read on.

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, and macaronivores: let me hand you over to Marsha.

Marsha, The Harried Cook

When Jill asked me if I would do a guest post for her, I literally jumped out of my chair. Not only was it my first ever guest post invitation, it was from THE Jill Colonna! How cool, right?

I took my own sweet time getting my post out to her. This was because every time I made something, I felt it wasn’t good enough for Jill’s blog! She’s got such a beautiful space here! Jill is also the funniest blogger I know! If you’ve interacted with her, you will know what I mean. She really cracks me up! Pun intended.

Speaking of which – the whole idea of cooking with egg yolks really egg-cites me! (You dared me to say that, remember Jill?) I have a lot of egg yolks left over quite regularly. Not because I have been brave enough to make macarons like Jill and so many of you wonderful bakers out there. I wish! Nothing that glamorous! It’s just that my husband loves his egg white omelettes -hence the spare yolks.

Now, on to the recipe. Pâte à bombe is a base made using sugar and egg yolks. I first read about it in a borrowed copy of Gordon Ramsey’s Passion for Flavor, and I noted it down in a little notebook. I made a few modifications from the original recipe, and I find it works for me. Using pâte à bombe gives the mousse fabulous texture!

This makes about 2 cups of pâte à bombe. You need only about half for this recipe, but I like to make double & save the rest for later. You can refrigerate for up to 2 days or freeze it up to 2 months! This base can be used to make excellent chocolate mousse, French buttercream and parfaits too! It is a great thing to have in your freezer!

First I would like to share with you how I made the pâte à bombe, and then how I used it to make this mousse pie. I do hope you will bear with me, because the recipe is quite long!

Pâte à bombe

1 cup sugar
2 tbsp liquid glucose/corn syrup
1/3 cup water
4 egg yolks

Mix the sugar, glucose and water in a heavy based saucepan. Bring to the boil and cook them together until the syrup reaches 250 degrees (soft ball stage).

Meanwhile, beat the egg yolks in a large bowl until creamy and fluffy. When the syrup has reached 250 degrees, start pouring the sugar into the egg yolks, all the while beating at low speed.  Make sure you pour on the side of the bowl and let it run into the yolks, to make sure you don’t end up with sugar strands.

After all the sugar has been poured in, turn the mixer back on high, and continue beating until the mixture has cooled down, and is thick, light and creamy. Stop beating and lick the beaters. Yes, it is that delicious!

Set aside and try not to eat all the pâte à bombe with a spoon. Refrigerate in a dry jar if not using immediately.

Strawberries & Cream Mousse Pie

This pie is not difficult to make, but has a few stages and a LOT of waiting in between. In fact, if you use a store bought crust & have the pâte à bombe in your fridge or freezer, this could be called a no-bake, no-cook pie!

Biscuit crust

2 cups of digestive biscuit crumbs, crushed fine in a food processor
¾ tsp cinnamon powder
8 tbsp melted butter

Mix all these ingredients together well, and press into a 9-inch pie dish, covering the base and the sides.

Bake at 180°C for about 10 minutes. Allow to cool, and refrigerate for at least an hour before using.

Strawberry Mousse

170g (6 oz) hulled strawberries
4 tsp powdered gelatin
2 tbsp cold water
1 ½ cup heavy cream
115g (4 oz) pâte à bombe
(approximately a generous ½ cup)

Puree the strawberries, and strain if desired. I didn’t. Mix in the pâte à bombe.

Sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water and allow it to soften. Melt it by heating it very briefly, and add it to the strawberry puree. Don’t let the gelatin get too hot, it will affect its setting ability.

Whip the cream till the soft peak stage, and fold the whipped cream into the strawberry puree.

Pour into the pie crust and allow it to set in the fridge for 4-6 hours.

I made a smaller portion of the white chocolate mousse, because I wanted the strawberry mousse to be the star of the show. Also, white chocolate is pretty sweet and I hate overly sweet desserts! The strawberry mousse, being sweetened only by the pâte à bombe, is only mildly sweet. The sweetness from white chocolate mousse balances that out really well!

White Chocolate “Whipped Cream” Mousse

85g (3 oz) white chocolate
2 tsp gelatin
1 cup heavy cream
2 oz pâte à bombe (approximately a generous 1/4 cup)

Prepare the gelatin like you did for the strawberry mousse.

Melt the white chocolate in over a double boiler. Stir in the pâte à bombe while the chocolate is still very hot.

Stir in the gelatin & set aside to cool.

Whip the cream to soft peaks. First, fold a third of the cream into the chocolate mixture to lighten it. Then, gently fold in the cooled chocolate mixture.

Refrigerate till semi-set, about 2-3 hours. Then, whip it lightly and transfer to a piping bag. Pipe the ‘whipped cream’ over your strawberry mouse in whatever pattern you like. Allow to chill for a few hours before slicing. Garnish with fresh strawberries & serve chilled.

This pie is light & creamy, not too sweet and an absolutely perfect dessert for warm weather!

I hope all of you enjoyed this recipe from my tiny little kitchen. I am so sorry I was not able to get a better picture of a slice of the pie. Between taking pictures of the pie and walking to the kitchen to get a knife to slice it, there was a small accident involving me, the pie, a whining toddler and a nosy dog. 🙁 The crust and the strawberry mousse layer took most of the damage, but we salvaged most of it, and it tasted delightful!

It was light and tasty to eat on a hot summer’s day.

Thank you once again, Jill for asking me to write this post, and thanks to all you wonderful people for taking the time to read this!

Didn’t I tell you that she dropped a bombe-shell with this one?  See, she’s got me started, too. Poor thing, dropping it after all that work – at least we can still get to have a slice with that last photo. Thank you so much for sharing this glamorous crème de la crème of mousses with us, Marsha – and also for the lovely comments.

I don’t know about you, but after making that gorgeous pâte à bombe, I’m not sure there would be any left in our house to even make the strawberries and cream mousse pie! It’s great that you can make it in advance and use it for the pie later, or for more mousses, buttercreams etc.-  plus it uses up the egg yolks.

Don’t forget to check out Marsha’s blog, The Harried Cook.  This week she has been making the most delicious homemade boursin cheese, a fruity tropical smoothie, and check out her latest Lime & Pepper Cookies.  Yes, that’s right: lime and pepper.  Amazing!  I also hear she’s doing a giveaway of Mad About Macarons… so head on over and say hello from me.

French Poppies: A Macaron Impression

Think of French poppies and often Claude Monet’s impressionist painting comes to mind, n’est-ce pas?

Monet painted Camille and Jean strolling amongst the poppies near Argenteuil – not far from where we live.  I couldn’t stop thinking about Monet’s impression of the poppy field as we took a drive to the country recently. En route, poppies were out in all their glory – fields upon fields – to say bonjour.

There was this urge to make French poppy macarons as soon as I got back home.  I had found an intense poppy essence (arôme coquelicot), which was like tasting pure bonbons as a child.

As the poppy flavour was so sweet – and it’s still the rhubarb season – I added a touch of rhubarb compôte.  A classic is to pair poppy with strawberry, but the rhubarb just gave that tiny touch of tartness that brought out all the memories of poppy coquelicot sweeties.

Some poppy macarons with a touch of rhubarb

As you can understand, I’m not allowed to publish my macaron recipes on the site.  So, to make the filling, grab a copy of the book and use the recipe for orange blossom macarons on p.77.  Simply replace 5 tbsps orange flower water with rhubarb compôte and use 1 tsp of the poppy extract and follow the rest of the recipe as in the book.

french poppy macarons by the Seine by Jill @ Mad About Macarons

 

And what better way to eat them?  Sitting in a poppy field with Parisian poppy macarons in a basket, served with a chilled bottle of fizz: fizzy water – or what about Macaron Prosecco?

There’s perhaps some things missing:  the easel, paints and Monet’s pipe.  Let the dream live on: wear a panama hat. That way we can take our hats off to all Dads out there and wish you all a very Happy Fathers’ Day on Sunday.

Cheers to your good health!


Egg Yolk Recipe Series

I am so proud to welcome my talented guest, Nami from Just One Cookbook.  Just in case you missed it, see what she has prepared for us, using 4 egg yolks: a gorgeous recipe for Crème Caramel, or Japanese Purin.   This has to be the best crème caramel I’ve ever seen.  Thank you Nami for sharing this with us!

Visit to Pain de Sucre Pâtisserie in Paris with ParisPâtisseries

Join us on our mad macaron adventure at Pain de Sucre Pâtisserie in Paris.  I recently went with Adam Wayda of Paris Patisseries fame, to watch them making macarons using their new macaron-making machine.  Please don’t forget that this is on a large scale (about 2000 macarons a day) and don’t let that put you off making them yourselves at home.  Remember, they are a lot easier than you think!

Pain de Sucre making macarons Part I

Pain de Sucre making macarons Part II

I’m so inspired by Adam’s photography and so many of my blogger friends’ photos, I’m trying to work on enlarging my own just now, as they are all too small on the site (you’re right, Thoma ;-)).  This last photo is blown up but have no idea how it will look on your screens (possibly too big?)  By next week, I’ll have it sussed – I hope.

Bonne semaine and macaron making!