As the sweet queues became out of line via Pierre Hermé’s pâtisserie and macaron boutique in rue Bonaparte this summer, it was time to make a sharp exit. Out of Paris. Direction? Home in the quieter, bird-singing banlieue outskirts of the City of Light.
After a winter that well overstayed its welcome into summer, our raspberry crop hadn’t been as plentiful this year. Meanwhile, the burstingly ripe and competitive redcurrants next to them were eager to feature into some pots of homemade jam, just to help us reach the quantity readings on the digital scales. The redcurrants’ presence was so tart, yet alluring, that they nudged and reminded me when it was time to make a batch of raspberry macarons. But, thinking Hermé, raspberry macarons needed just a hint of rose for that extra, sophisticated je ne sais quoi.
Imagine tart, yet tantalisingly fruity; acidic yet counteracting with the velvet vanilla sweetness of white chocolate with a hint of rose petals, and you have sweet – yet not overly sweet – macarons: crisp meringue-like on the outside and compact, compulsive-eating squidginess in the inside.
This, of course, comes from the macaron magic: after leaving the filling to infuse in the macaron shell for at least 24 hours.
Many people use jams in their macarons. It’s less time consuming but somehow, I find it a bit too sweet. I even tried making macarons with my own homemade, reduced-sugar, raspberry and rose jam. They were good but the kind of macarons I could buy at the French supermarket or at our local pâtisserie, to be honest – and at a price. What was missing was a bit of creaminess, without the cream and butter this time; just good, fresh produce with the sugar and creaminess from white chocolate, without it tasting too much of white chocolate.
OK, do you think I’m fussy? Well, for a macaronivore, it’s allowed.
If you’ve been to Angelina’s in Paris (and also braved the queues at prime tourist season starting in June), you may have seen their Macalongs. Just pipe your macaron shells as the book describes in the basic recipe, but in longer strips (like an éclair). Richart chocolate boutiques also showcase their macalong version, with 3 macarons ‘stuck’ to each other, as above. Just pipe out your macarons according to the book, but don’t leave much space between them.
If you don’t have redcurrants, just use 200g of raspberries.
To make the macaron shells, simply follow the instructions in the book, Mad About Macarons: How to Make Macarons Like the French.
Raspberry, Redcurrant and Rose Macaron Filling
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes
Cooling Time: 1 hour
150g fresh (or frozen) raspberries
50g fresh (or frozen) redcurrants
1 tbsp rose water
180g white chocolate, broken into bits
1. Blitz the raspberries and red currants in a food processor for about 3-4 minutes, until the seeds are well and truly crushed. (If you really don’t like seeds, you can filter the seeds through a sieve at this point.)
2. Heat the fruit purée in a saucepan with the rose water – over a medium heat – and gradually stir in the white chocolate bits and, with a wooden spoon, stir slowly until the white chocolate is completely melted and blended with the fruit.
3. Set aside to cool then refrigerate for an hour before piping out the filling on to your macaron shells.
To ‘macalong’ story short, these are fresh and fruity delicious!