Every year I say the same thing: never again. But when the January sales come around and friends tell me their great deals, as a Scot, I give in. I even subjected myself to the hungry crowds twice at the shopping centre at Versailles. I must be mad.
Inevitably, we spent and bought much more than planned. Never again. One consolation being stuck in the bouchon en route home was we could actually read the plaque outside Camille Pissarro’s house. It’s on the main road but you can imagine that the Impressionist painter had a completely different view à l’epoque. Pissarro is quoted to have said “I began to understand my sensations, to know what I wanted, at around the age of forty – but only vaguely.” After the sales, I vaguely understand 😉 The best consolation was coming back home to peace, sanity and eating cake. Cake? What? No macarons? Ecoute: even a macaronivore like myself needs a break now and again…
Which makes me realise I finished off my last entry discussing chocolate-beet cakes and I didn’t give you the recipe! Perhaps you thought the combination was just a bit too way out? Well, my macaronivore friends, I have to tell you that even I thought it was a bit weird at first; until I tasted it.
We all love a good carrot cake, don’t we? Lovely shiny orange slivers just give that added touch of earthy sweetness and the grated vegetable ensures a moist cake that – dare I say – make us believe we’re having something healthy by eating our veg! Why not with beetroot? I had heard of the combination a couple of years ago but the cake recipe was not my favourite. Too sweet: way too much sugar/syrup and not enough (good quality) chocolate plus it was even a bit dry. I adore GUNGY, healthier cakes!
So I took my favourite dark chocolate fondant recipe and added some grated beetroot to the mix. Et voilà: my recipe for chocolate-beetroot fondants. A whole new experience was born in our family: soft, decadent and fudgy fondants with the deep beetroot colour making the intense chocolate blush.
I also went on to vary the flavours by adding a touch of orange zest or some slivers of glacé ginger. I personally loved these combinations but my children (who are my fiercest critics) prefer them without the “sophisticated” additions.
Then one typical macaron baking day when the egg whites were ready and I was anticipating my next flavour adventure, it suddenly struck me that the fondants could be easliy translated into a macaron. The laugh is, it ended up being the biggest hit at my younger daughter’s birthday party. I’m still a bit surprised.
What can I say? For this dreary time of year, the humble beetroot can flirt so well on the sweet as well as the savoury side. Talking of flirting, we’re gearing up for St. Valentine’s. Don’t forget to put the whites aside and say it with macarons!