The hibiscus has found its friends: Campari and blood oranges... Cheers!

A Party Macaron for Macaron Day: Hibiscus, Blood Orange & Campari.

When Jamie and Deeba announced the latest MacTweet Challenge it was time for more inspiration. That’s what I also adore about macarons: with an empty canvas in front of you, it’s easy to experiment with flavours using the basic recipe. For the challenge, macaronivores were to come up with a new macaron creation to celebrate la fête du macaron (Macaron Day) on 20 March. All the signs were there to do something a bit different. The result? A macaron that’s not really sweet as such; neither is it savoury. One thing is for sure – it’s a party macaron and as addictive as ever!

I’m fascinated by this sprawling hibiscus plant. Ever since we moved it indoors during the chilly months, it didn’t seem to appreciate our company. It’s next to the TV and the piano for goodness sake, so what’s been going wrong since October with no flowers? Suddenly last week, it blooming sprouted! Could it be that my piano students are progressing so it’s getting more tunes – or is it the Six Nations’ Rugby at weekends?

I first discovered hibiscus in Egypt many moons ago when my parents-in-law were living in Alexandria. It was in the form of carcadé – a bright red infusion made with dried hibiscus flowers. I loved this thirst-quenching drink in such a heat, as long as some sugar was added to sweeten its alluring bitter taste. Then the other day when I was cleaning out a cupboard (yes, this happens sometimes), these pretty dried hibiscus flowers pleaded, Infuse me; this bottle of Campari suggested, Finish me; and the blood oranges in the fruit bowl pressed at me, Squeeze me; so I poured myself a glass with a little carcadé, Campari and finished it off with blood orange juice. I highly recommend it while preparing risotto to gradually generate a party mode, especially during the week.

Then bingo: this cool drink just winked at me and begged, “Macaron me, baby.”

I know, I know. This macaron is perhaps not quite in focus. Neither are my eyes just now but I’ve ordered new glasses so patience is the word. What’s incredible about this macaron is that it’s not really that sweet. Before Julie tried one, I warned her about it being a bit bitter but my daughter is a keen taster: no, Mum. Don’t add any more sugar but hang on, can I just have a few more to confirm?

I simply followed the filling recipe on p84 (Whisky macCoffee) but replaced the liquid with 50ml blood orange juice, 30ml hibiscus infusion and 20ml Campari.

Julie is right; the filling’s bitterness and the macaron shell’s sweetness is intriguing and what makes it addictive. You can even enjoy this macaron as an apéritif and it wouldn’t be out of place (except if you call it macarooooon.) I took to drinking it with a pot of Darjeeling at goûter time. Don’t you just love trying out new concoctions? Thanks to MacTweets for the inspiration and Happy Macaron Day to all you macaronivores on 20th March. If anyone is in Paris, contact me and we’ll go on a macaronathon together to try out the goods! Kick-off at 10am at Pierre Hermé, Opéra…

68 replies
  1. Amrita
    Amrita says:

    You’re hilarious, Jill, but I think you did well with your new glasses too since the pic was pretty much in proper focus! When I grew up in India, hibiscus was extremely common, the plant, so this post was really intriguing for me. And I so wish I was in Paris so I could join you on your macaronathon…actually, I would pretty much like to be in Paris any time of the year. Sigh.

    Reply
  2. thoma
    thoma says:

    Jill, you’re a whiz, and so funny you…getting epiphanies from flowers and bottles…wowee…should tell your family to keep a better eye on you ;p

    the pics are so bold and beautiful in the bigger canvas!!

    i dunno when can i taste your addictive and non-addictive (;p) macarons!

    Reply
  3. HI Cookery
    HI Cookery says:

    Love the vibrant color of your macarons and the creative way you infused a tropical flower (Hawaiian hibiscus) into the flavor. Aloha and Happy Macaron Day!

    Reply
    • Jill
      Jill says:

      Hi Charlie
      Yes it’s gloriously sunny in Paris just now!
      You want my opinion on the molds (or silicone mat with raised rings for that matter too)? There’s no need to spend money on these. Nothing to beat baking paper or a silicone flat mat like Silpat. You’ll get perfectly round macs by just following the recipe to the letter then piping them out. They’re naturally round without gadgets. I’ve even noted that feet can be difficult to produce using these new molds. Just my opinion.

      Update! Read my macaron mat review for the full monty.

      Reply
  4. Ivy
    Ivy says:

    Hi Jill, love the new look of your blog! What a great idea to make these beautiful red macarons and love the picture with the plant!

    Reply
  5. Juliana
    Juliana says:

    Jill, what a beautiful color…so vivid and “happy”, like the flavor too…so exotic…blood orange and Campari…Love the pictures…I am so “chicken”, still gathering courage to make macs…
    Thanks for this wonderful post and hope you have a great week ahead :)

    Reply
    • Jill
      Jill says:

      Juliana, why are you needing courage to make macarons? They’re really not difficult and with all the delicious goodies I’ve seen you make on your blog, they’d be a piece of cake for you!

      Reply
  6. Jamie
    Jamie says:

    The macaron is gorgeous and the flavors stunning! Wow I wish I could taste that one – I know how fabulous and unusual savory-sweet macs are but bitter-sweet? I am more than intrigued… and what an amazing color! Yes, so much like a Campari-Blood Orange drink (very cool) but so like an hibiscus! You are so creative! And I grew up in Florida with hibiscus in every color all around me and I love the flower…

    Reply
    • Jill
      Jill says:

      Imagine growing up in Florida surrounded by all of these beauties? Wow, Jamie. Yep, you should try this one. I was a bit scared of mixing Campari with Hibiscus as each on their own are bitter enough. But it works with the sweeter macaron shell.

      Reply
  7. Vicki Bensinger
    Vicki Bensinger says:

    I recently purchase a jar of dried hibiscus for cooking but haven’t used it yet. Now that you’ve given me some inspiration I may have to try something similar. The color of your Macarons are beautiful. I like how your creative mind works. No wonder your book is so successful.

    Reply
    • Jill
      Jill says:

      You’re so sweet, Vicki, thank you. Stay tuned for my guest post tomorrow, as I have a couple more ideas for your dried hibiscus flowers.

      Reply
    • Jill
      Jill says:

      Good question, Priestess. It was just “officially” in France but see that it’s celebrated around the world. Then there are other macaron days in Australia. Basically it’s a promotion push for the well known macaron boutique shops but great excuse to have fun!

      Reply
  8. Hester @ Alchemy in the Kitchen
    Hester @ Alchemy in the Kitchen says:

    Jill, you are such a creative lady. I love the idea of the hibiscus soaking up the tunes from the piano. It is one of my favourite flowers and you’ve gone and immortalised it in macaron form. Wonderful photos. Hope you are having a great weekend, Hxo

    Reply
    • Jill
      Jill says:

      You know, Hester. You’ve just made me realise that the hibiscus looks like the gramophone in His Master’s Voice! Had a super weekend in Scotland thanks. Next time I need to come to Ireland. Everyone is just so friendly. Been in Paris for so long, you forget…

      Reply
  9. Nami | Just One Cookbook
    Nami | Just One Cookbook says:

    I was thinking of you today. I bought macarons from Bouchon Bakery when I went to Napa today. They are really, really good but it is $3 each! I really want to make macarons at home! As always, you are amazing macaron specialist. :-) Beautiful post Jill!

    Reply
  10. Paula
    Paula says:

    I know you make a mean macaron but I didn’t know that you taught piano! The colour of this macaron is just lovely and the flavour combinations are truly unique. That hibiscus is gorgeous!

    Reply
    • Jill
      Jill says:

      Merci beaucoup, Michèle. I wished the hibiscus flower lasted as long as a macaron can in the fridge! The flowers drop off after 3 days, boohoo, so glad I took their pics!

      Reply
  11. Martyn Dickson
    Martyn Dickson says:

    Wow a fantastic combination, a great cocktail to boot, as for inspiration, i like a cocktail made similar to yours, but replace passion fruit juice/pulp with the blood orange!! now i reckon that would also make a cracking Macaron!

    best wishes
    Martyn

    Reply
  12. Amy @ FragrantVanillaCake
    Amy @ FragrantVanillaCake says:

    These sound delicious to me! I like things that are slightly less sweet and the combination of flavors you have here is intriguing! Hibiscus and blood oranges are two ingredients I love to see use in creative ways! Hope you have a wonderful weekend Jill :)!

    Reply
    • Jill
      Jill says:

      Thanks Amy. Just back after weekend in Scotland – great fun. I’m like you: not too sweet, please. Got some other ideas on this theme coming up this week…

      Reply
  13. Tina@flourtrader
    Tina@flourtrader says:

    The flavors that you infused this with-very creative and no doubt delicious. The bitter and sweet contrast does sound like it would make for a wonderful bite. Also, your presentation is stunning as well as eye catching. Another winner! Have a great weekend.

    Reply
  14. Choc Chip Uru
    Choc Chip Uru says:

    Your description is enticing and I just want to escape reality and fantasise of this wonderful macaron! Thank you for a wonderful post and happy Macaron day :D

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru
    Latest: Brown Butter Surprise M&Ms Ultra Chewy Cookies

    Reply
  15. Sandy
    Sandy says:

    Hi Jill, adorable and what an idea to take the pictures in *that* way! I’m planning a macaronathon for Jour du Macaron. Last year I have baked 300 pieces and gave them to the “unknown” (there are people outside which have never heard about). They donated and we raised 350€ for a charity organisation.
    If I would be in Paris, I would join a macaron- party with you. Warmly, Sandy

    Reply
    • Jill
      Jill says:

      Wow! Bravo to you for your great charity macaronathon, Sandy. Impressive stuff! Hope there’s another time for an excuse to have a macaron party.

      Reply

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