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Passion Fruit and Raspberry Macaron Filling

Standing in the buzzing queue of many of Paris’s best pâtisseries, I often realise that decision-making has never been one of my strong points. Well, how can you blame me? With such sumptuous choices to ponder over, there are a number of pastry classics that look up from the shiny museum-like glass counters, saying “Go on – don’t forget me! Pick me!”

raspberry giant macarons with passion fruit cream

Admittedly, picking one or two out has become quicker, thanks to taking around eager testers in the  chocolate and pastry groups with Context Paris. What a responsibility it can be to choose a wide enough variety of fabulous samples without them all floating off into a sugar coma.

One of the lighter popular classics is a giant pink macaron garnished with pastry cream and surrounded with fresh raspberries. What’s more, it’s gluten-free. However, it’s not that easy to cut up into sample pieces!

macarons ispahan style in local patisseries

Pierre Hermé, dubbed by Vogue Magazine as the Picasso of Pastry, christened the most famous of giant raspberry macarons the Ispahan, named after a tender, fragrant Iranian rose. The giant pink macaron is filled with a rose and lychee cream and finished off with beautiful fresh raspberries.

So many pastry shops in Paris have drawn on his inspiration with their own take on it. Even our local pâtisserie had their version (above) with the bottom macaron shell upside down…

Raspberry passion fruit giant macaron

As you can imagine, such Parisian pâtisserie temptations are a constant source of exciting inspiration.  For this dessert classic I replaced the lychee and rose with a zingy passion fruit filling, adding that extra acidic touch to the raspberries.

Truth be told, I ran out of passion fruits as I thought two would be enough. But after tasting the cream, I felt it needed another passion fruit for that extra fruity punch.  So instead I added some extra passion fruit purée as an emergency back-up. I use an excellent passion fruit purée from Monin. Incidentally, I also love their floral syrups to quickly and easily add that delicious fragrant touch to pâtisserie recipes such as rose, elderflower and violet for a summery Teatime in Paris.

Giant raspberry macaron with passion fruit cream

Passion Fruit Cream Filling for Giant Raspberry Macarons

I used the basic macaron recipe in “Teatime in Paris” adding a pinch of deep raspberry pink powdered colouring (if using “Mad About Macarons”, use the measurements specified in the Annex of the book, under “Egg White Reference Chart” based on 100g egg whites).  This will make 12 large macarons.  The filling is based on a classic pastry cream (recipe also in “Teatime in Paris”) but I’ve adapted it here based on the liquid of the passion fruit.  Don’t forget that macaron shells can be frozen, so I often prepare them in advance and defrost them the day of a dinner party and the rest is easy to put together.

Serves 6

Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: about 15 minutes
Chilling Time: 1 hour (minimum)

250 ml full-cream milk
1 vanilla pod/bean, seeds scraped out (optional)
3 egg yolks
50 g sugar
30 g cornflour
juice of 3 passion fruits (the equivalent of 4 tbsp once seeds removed)
2 punnets of fresh raspberries

1. In a medium saucepan, gently heat the milk with the vanilla seeds, if using. Meanwhile, using a balloon whisk, mix the egg yolks and sugar in a large bowl until creamy, then whisk in the cornflour until smooth.  When the milk is hot (but not boiling), add half of the hot milk to the beaten egg yolk mixture. Whisk vigorously then quickly add the mix to the rest of the milk in the saucepan while whisking continuously.

2. Continue to whisk over the heat until the mixture thickens. Cover with cling film so that no skin forms on the surface and leave to cool for about 10 minutes then chill in the fridge for at least an hour.

3. Meanwhile, using a sieve, strain the juice and remove the seeds.

4. When chilled, whisk in the juice of the strained passion fruits and continue to chill until closer to serving time.

Spoon or pipe out the filling into the middle of 6 giant macaron bases and arrange about 8-10 raspberries (according to size) on the outside and finish off by topping with a macaron shell.

passion fruit cream

Speaking of passion fruit, have you tried the passion fruit and lemon meringue tartlet recipe from Teatime in Paris yet? My lovely friend, Christina, of Christina’s Cucina has just made them and posted the sample recipe!  You must pop in for a Parisian teatime in California – and please say hello from me.

Pascal Caffet in Paris

Don’t be fooled by McDonalds on the corner of Place de Passy in Paris’s 16th arrondissement. It perhaps marks the start of Rue Duban, where the Marché de Passy indoor market adds to the hustle and bustle with delivery vans and florists, but this street has more to it than at first glance.

Last month, as an occasional pilgrimage to stock up on some M&S British goodies for Antoine and the girls, I was  immediately drawn across the road by a most impressive Chocolatier and Pâtissier.

Rue Duban Paris 16

It was the signature of Pascal Caffet en plus that lured me right in. The name rang a curious bell. Nearly 12 years ago, Lucie’s christening cake was personally delivered to Paris by Antoine’s uncle, Tonton Claude, who lives near Troyes. I remember how proud he was, showing off his local pâtisserie’s talents by one of France’s most prized pastry chefs, Pascal Caffet, who now has 3 boutiques in Troyes alone.  Since then he has opened yet another 2 boutiques in the Champagne region, two in Burgundy, plus in Italy and Japan. Thankfully for us there are now two in Paris.

Pascal Caffet Patisserie Paris

Entering the boutique, it was everything I love in a top pâtisserie and chocolate shop: not just the products and knowledge about them, but also the warm welcome. The owner, Charles Benchetrit, couldn’t be a more friendly and passionate ambassador of Pascal Caffet’s creations.

Last week, returning to buy more, I was in for a huge surprise.  Smartly casual wearing a cheeky smile, Pascal was there himself – totally modest for such a prizewinner, most notably for being the youngest ever Meilleur Ouvrier de France (aka MOF, the highly coveted Olympian of French craftsmen in France) in pâtisserie at age 27 in 1989, and in 1995 as world champion of pastry-chocolate-ice cream in Milan.

Pascal Caffet, Meilleur Ouvrier de France Pâtisserie Paris

What better excuse is that for us customers to taste? Previously I’d particularly loved the Paris-Troyes (top left), based on the classic praline-filled round choux, the Paris-Brest. This is his take on it using an almond praline cream, a light Madagascan vanilla cream and dribbled with a 66% dark chocolate. The ultimate pastry to try is his Las Vegas (bottom left), which earned him the title of MOF with chocolate biscuit, dark chocolate mousse (Venezuela 70%), Madagascan vanilla crème diplomate, crispy almond and raspberries. You can see why.

Las Vegas and Paris Troyes pastries

This time I was treated to a small tasting in the shop with the Exotique (above), with a soft exotic fruit mousse, wild strawberries and sponge. My favourite part was the crunch of the pineapple in syrup at the end…

Pascal Caffet, winning pastry chef and chocolate maker in Paris and Troyes

Did I mention that Pascal is also extremely down to earth and fun, too? I want to frame this shot of him sneaking in at the last second. For all his prestigious line-up of awards, it hasn’t gone to his head!

Macarons in pastry shop window in Paris

He’s also mad about macarons: with 20 different flavours to choose from, they’re all made with the most delicate chocolate ganaches, making them how we love them: ever-so-slightly meringue crispy on the outside and beautifully soft in the inside. Charles let me taste Chocolat passion, Vanille framboise, caramel à la fleur de sel. What is it with salted caramel?  I have to say this one was my personal favourite.

Macaron tasting Paris

Chocolates are another passion: this pure origine Brésil was striking for a 100% cacao ganache in that it wasn’t bitter, just a pure chocolate sensation with a long aftertaste. Oh, and it’s made with Criollo, one of the rare cacao varieties which makes up only about 5% of global production, so it’s the Grand Cru Classé of chocolate. If you love pralines, this is the place to come!

Pascal Caffet chocolate Paris

At first I thought these round nutty chocolate disks were mendiants. They are instead given the tongue-in-cheek name, Croqs’Télé, as they’re perfect for munching in front of the TV (ahem – we don’t munch in front of the telly, do we?).  Filled with praline, they’re topped with caramelised almonds and hazelnuts from Piemonte.

Mendiants, or the praline version by MOF Pascal Caffet

These raspberry caramels hit the spot and would do for Lucie, too, as she has a brace: they’re deliciously clever non-stick caramels on the teeth. Dare I say, she would also appreciate the pots of salted caramel and recognise the huge difference between Nutella and his range of artisanal chocolate-hazelnut spreads (pâte à tartiner) or Chocopraliné, as he calls it.

French caramels

The family have done his éclairs proud.  After tasting so many of them, you could say we’re experts of les éclairs au Caffet! Intense coffee, passion fruit, pistachio, Paris-Brest, hazelnut praline, Chocotartiné®, acidic lemon and salted caramel.  Not bad, eh? Oh, and the Fraise Gourmande is missing since we tasted it in the shop. Gourmande and strawberry it certainly was.

French eclairs

I wonder if we get a tasting medal?  Well, no – we still have many more treats to try out – but in true French style, avec modération… I thoroughly recommend you help me out and taste them for yourself.

Pascal Caffet and Charles at the Paris patisserie in rue Duban

Pascal and Charles – you rock! Thanks for coming to Paris.

Pascal Caffet
13 rue Duban75016 Paris

Tel: 01 – 45 20 08 04
Metro: La Muette


 

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. I was not asked to write anything about the store and all comments are entirely my own.