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!”
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!
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.