This past week the weather in Paris has given us hope for Spring. Morning frost has quickly surrendered to Azur skies, sweeter air and rays of sunshine are gradually pulling us out of any winter depressions starting to take hold. Crocuses and electric yellow bushes of forsythia are suddenly announcing that Paris is marching into Spring. OK, I can just hear you breaking into song with Ella Fitzgerald’s “I love Paris in the Springtime”…
With Antoine travelling for a while, there was less motivation to cook, however. Where’s the violin? So I cheered myself up with a bright and cheery bunch of mimosa flowers (Acacia Dealbata).
Many of us know of a Mimosa as a Champagne cocktail mixed with fresh orange juice (in the UK we call it a Bucks Fizz). I personally love a Grand Mimosa with a touch of Grand Marnier in there, too (that managed to cheer me up as well ;-)). There’s even a Grandaddy Mimosa, adding rum and lemon juice… Now that sounds my kind of tipple!
In France, you may have heard of OEUFS MIMOSA: a classic, simple dish served as a starter and great for Easter and nothing to do with the flower or tree. It’s basically hard boiled eggs, halved with the egg yolk scooped out and mixed with mayonnaise, crushed garlic and parsley then stuffed back into the egg cavity. Sound familiar? When I was little it wasn’t as posh as the French version. Two hard-boiled egg halves were turned upside down and dolloped with Heinz salad cream and sprinkled with une touche de paprika. I loved it.
Back to my bunch of mimosa flowers, though. Little did I appreciate just how strong the mimosa scent was and the house smelled of its perfume for days, even though its ephemeral blossom had dried out so quickly. I couldn’t believe how this simple bunch of yellow mini pompoms could also have such a postive mental effect. There’s even a Mimosa Festival in the South of France which takes place mid to end February with spectacular mimosa floats. Can you just imagine how that would smell?
Then I remembered that Ladurée had a beautiful mimosa macaron display in their Champs Elysées boutique window last year. SO why not make some myself? I’m now on a roll to make new flavours and experiment again!
Surfing on meilleurduchef.com I was excited to see they even had a mimosa aroma. So I added a few drops to the macaron shells.
Using the tutti frutti macaron recipe (p.83) as a basis for the filling, I instead infused some mimosa (a tiny branch) into the full cream milk for 10 minutes. It was amazing how the milk turned bright yellow. I then added a teaspoon of the aroma to the buttercream at the end. The result?
They were delicious and surprisingly subtle for such a strong-tasting buttercream. After 24 hours, they had turned perfectly soft inside with the characteristic crispy meringue on the outside.
Bliss with a pot of Darjeeling tea, so not to overpower the flavour of the macaron. I would double the amount of mimosa flowers used to infuse in the cream for next time but no more aroma – that was ok. To make a macaron taste of the flavour, the filling does need to be pretty concentrated – but not too much that it’s like perfume.
Alas it’s the end of the short mimosa season, but there’s still time for you to give it a go! Next year I must get to the mimosa festival, though.
Before you go, I’m so excited to annouce my booksigning on Saturday 19th March at Brentano’s American Bookstore in Paris. The next day is the Fête du macaron but as it’s a Sunday the bookstore will be closed. So if you’re in Paris, start off the macaron weekend fun between 3-5pm on Saturday. Brentano’s is just next door to Pierre Hermé if you’re needing a macaron fix. I look forward to seeing you next weekend!