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

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.

56 replies
  1. elisabeth@foodandthrffinds
    [email protected] says:

    Hi Jill-Just received your amazing Mad about Macarons giveaway book that I am so excited about!
    You most certainly are the “Queen of the macarons”…seriously, I have never…ever seen such beautiful creative macarons in my life. Everything you make is so gorgeous and so creative.
    Thank you so very much for offering your amazing book, and thanking Marsha for hosting the giveaway. I am so, so lucky to have won!

    I must admit, I have never made any macarons. and now I will be wanting to try it. It is so CHIC, and such talked about fancy dessert, and so light and yummy!
    Loved your post of your B&B travel, and all the beautiful photos you shared…the lovely macarons, as well. The wild strawberry macaron is one of my favorites…actually they all are!
    I will be posting your blog on my side-bar on my blog list. I want to share your blog, and your enourmous “talent” with all:DDD

    • Jill
      Jill says:

      Gosh, what an absolutely gorgeous comment. Thank you so much, Elisabeth. You have made my week! Makes everything seem worthwhile.
      Hugs, Jill xo

  2. Kim - Liv Life
    Kim - Liv Life says:

    Jill… just saw these guys on the Foodbuzz Daily Special! Love ’em! We are just starting to get local cherries at our Farmer’s markets and Brian peers at them longingly every time we walk by. I haven’t made anything cherry in a while!
    Love the two fillings you have in those macs.
    Hope the back is feeling better!

  3. spcookiequeen
    spcookiequeen says:

    I love the color these came out. I agree, I’ve been dying for the cherry basil. I have to see if we still have cherries around here. I was wondering if a wetter topping like the compote oould be used. I think I need more macarons this week. You have turned me into an addict, lol.

  4. Lisa McDonnell
    Lisa McDonnell says:

    What a deliciously beautiful post of all things cherry! You are so clever, Jill. Cherry almond are so so good together. This was worth the stained fingernails for sure!

  5. Sue
    Sue says:

    Oh to have that many cherries! These look delicious and I am sure they tasted delicious too! I am sitting here imagining and feeling rather peckish now!

  6. parisbreakfast
    parisbreakfast says:

    Simply gorgeous!
    I must get cracking, but perhaps I should go cherry picking in Provence first…hmmm
    Anything to procrastinate baking 🙂
    I am saving every tip you give out here Jill…
    Perhaps it could be yr second book?

    • Jill
      Jill says:

      Don’t worry, just DO IT! No need for a second book (even although that would be fab) but I’ve given everything in the first book! One of the most important lessons, though, is having the confidence. Relax and have fun! So, if it doesn’t work out the first time since you’re “getting to know” your oven? The 2nd batch will rock. Let me know how you get on, ok?

  7. Deeba
    Deeba says:

    Both of these are absolutely inspirational Jill. One day I hope to turm out ‘feet’ as beautifully as you do. Love, love,love the flavour combination {cherries are one of my favourite fruit}, and love the beautiful colours. Thank you for joining Jamie & me at MacTweets!

    • Jill
      Jill says:

      Deeba, I am thrilled to hear from you and thank you for letting me join in MacTweets – it’s so much fun plus fantastic to see so many “macaronivores” together!

  8. Manu
    Manu says:

    These are so pretty and I love cherries, it’s my favourite fruit! I’d love to make these next summer! I just found out that I am one of the VERY lucky winners of a copy of your book at The Harried Cook!!!! I am soooo excited as I tried to find it around here with no luck! I can’t wait to get it and try out ALL your recipes!!!!!!!!!! 🙂

    • Jill
      Jill says:

      What’s the difference between Bing Crosby and Walt Disney?
      Bing can sing but Walt disnie (sorry, this is just a TERRIBLE Scottish joke but can’t resist!)
      Oui, bing cherries 🙂

  9. Roxana GreenGirl
    Roxana GreenGirl says:

    These are just so pretty. I love cherry desserts, but macarons … I love love them if someone else make them for me. I kinda new, nut know is official, I’m a clumsy person 🙁

  10. The Harried Cook
    The Harried Cook says:

    Oh Jill… These macarons take my breath away! What a gorgeous color those dark cherry ones are… love the idea of the cherry & basil too.. Yum! The pictures are beautiful too. I wonder how my first attempt at macaron-making is going to go! I wonder if they’ll look even half as pretty! Gorgeous post, gorgeous macarons, gorgeous flavors… Thanks for sharing!

  11. Anne
    Anne says:

    I would never tire of cherries! The macarons are beautiful as usual! And I love cardamom…so the panna cotta caught my fancy as well! : )

  12. Heavenly Housewife
    Heavenly Housewife says:

    These are just completely stunning! You are the macaron master daaahling! I have given up on macarons out of sheer frustration. Mine are always hollow inside the shells. Any tips?
    *kisses* HH

    • Jill
      Jill says:

      Please, please don’t give up, HH! Even if they are slightly hollow, it shouldn’t matter too much. Could be a number of reasons: I would suggest that you bake them slightly longer, as they could be under cooked; perhaps also you’re over-mixing the the meringue until dry, rather than stiff, glossy peaks. Also could be to do with the oven: is it saying what it says it’s doing? (Have you got an oven thermometre to check?) It could be that the temp is a bit too hot. Try one of these at a time and see what happens. Hope this helps! Don’t give up, ok?

  13. Lora
    Lora says:

    I think this has to be the best and most creative use of fresh cherries I’ve ever seen. The macarons = WOW! Color, flavor..everything is just gorgeous.

  14. Liz
    Liz says:

    Oh, look at all those fabulous cherries! And you did them proud with both gorgeous macarons, a cake and a duck sauce! Amazing! I’m impatiently waiting for my book to arrive…I will be attempting my own little gems soon 🙂 xo

  15. Tiffany
    Tiffany says:

    Cherry almond macarons! Cherry, basil, and vanilla macarons! Darjeeling tea! THIS IS LIFE! Happy Monday Jill! Thanks for sharing your wonderfully creative flavors with us! 😀

  16. Amy
    Amy says:

    Jill, these are beautiful! I am drooling looking at all of the lovely photos! It must be wonderful to have fresh picked cherries! I know how it goes having to pit them all by hand, so worth it though ;)! I am loving these macaroons, perfect for summer!

  17. Kim Beaulieu
    Kim Beaulieu says:

    Oh my, I wish I lived near you. I’d just happen to stop by and act all surprised when you offered me one or three. These are so impressive. Just love the pics. Anything cherry is my fave!

  18. BigFatBaker
    BigFatBaker says:

    Oh my gosh, the color of those macs is amazing! I haven’t had the chance to buy any cherries yet this summer. I am hoping I can find a farmer’s market somewhere close by and pick up some really fresh ones.
    I don’t have a cherry pitter either, so i’m sure I will have red fingers in the near future 🙂

  19. Thomasina
    Thomasina says:

    I Love cherries and I love the photos, especially the last one. Oh, the colour – yummy. It is so unusual. But it is all so tantalising and I just wish I could eat them NOW.

  20. Stasty
    Stasty says:

    Wow, love these. I am totally addicted to cherries at the moment and made a great Cherry Clafoutis over the weekend. I have the Oxo Good grip cherry pittter, I would highly recommend it. It even has a splatter guard and doesn’t harm the delicate cherries.

  21. Nami @ Just One Cookbook
    Nami @ Just One Cookbook says:

    Wow so many cherries (in first pic)!!! Jill, your macarons are just simply amazing. I adore the color – I mean it’s soooo beautiful! I love the idea of cherry sauce for duck – it must be very good. We’re in sync. I posted a cherry recipe today too. And I’d recommend a cherry pitter. I think it’s worth it even for once a year…the job can be done very fast.

  22. Hester Casey - Alchemy
    Hester Casey - Alchemy says:

    You’d better try get those cherry-coloured fingernails clean Jill, because when they hear about these stunning macarons (and the pretty pink pannacotta and the duck) the Elysée Palace will probably arrive on your doorstep hoping for dinner! What an absolutely delicious post!



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