Posts

French Rose Geranium Macarons

A Parisian window without geraniums is like a macaron with no filling.

Even starting out as students in our first Parisian apartment, geraniums brightened up our rickety shutters. It was one of the first things a girl-fresh-from-Scotland just had to do to feel a little French. The other Frenchie things: the discrete bum-wiggle walk, the designer handbag, the slender figure – “le look”, quoi – would need rather more time (20 years on, I’m still awaiting this transformation), but at least this was something easy in the meantime. Le quick fix.

Along by the Parisian quays, it’s also de rigueur.  Geraniums are beautifully decked out on peniches, or houseboat barges moored along by the Seine.

Outside Paris, geraniums are coordinated with more colourful shutters for le country look.

So pretty, jolie, French. But have you heard of the rose geranium or pelargonium? When you rub their velvety leaves, a strong lemony-rose scent perfumes the fingers and can pack a powerful punch. Can you imagine the next scene?  No, not Rocky – more a French garden scene, peut-être.

Pop in for a rose macaron with a pot of darjeeling, mes amis

Rose geranium leaves can be used to perfume your baking. For your macarons, follow the rose recipe on page 45 of Mad About Macarons. Omit the rose water, using 100ml (3 1/2 fl oz) cream and infuse a few pelargonium leaves in it. Turn off the heat, cover and leave to infuse for an hour. Turn the delicately scented cream back on the heat and follow the recipe. Adding just a few drops of rose geranium aroma just gives it that extra je ne sais quoi for a most delicious macaron sensation.  It tastes of rose, but it’s not.

Anyone for a rose-geranium macaron?

Sue, of Tales from the Giantswood, also has an interesting tip with rose geranium leaves: put the leaves in a sealed jar of sugar and when you bake a cake, place the leaves at the bottom and when it’s baked, peel them off and your cake has the lovely scent of rose geranium. Why not place the rose geranium leaves in caster sugar and use the sugar later in your macaron making?

So sit back and relax with a pot of Darjeeling tea and a few rose geranium macarons.  You deserve it.  It’s decadent but don’t forget that macarons are gluten free and if they’re homemade, you’re saving for that designer handbag, n’est-ce pas? Now, where was I on that bottom wiggle? No question about it: I shall always be behind on that one.

Rose geranium macarons

Time has come, my friends, for me to take a small blogging break. Well, most of Paris is shutting down for the holidays so I may as well join them. 😉 I can’t thank you enough for all of your wonderful support via your comments on Le Blog and for sharing in the fun of macarons in macaronivoreland. I shall see you again on 29 August for more mad macarons, French recipes, and foodie adventures in Paris and around my local haunts.  I have so much in store for you so stay tuned.

Great Party Times Giveaway

Don’t forget the Mad About Macarons! competition over at Pippa Middleton’s site, ‘The Party Times. You have until 13th August (2011) to post your entry – you could be one of the 10 lucky winners to receive a copy of the book.  The competition is open to everyone – no matter where you live – so head on over and join in the fun! Good luck.

Egg Yolk Recipe Series

It’s a real pleasure to have my friend, Carolyn – otherwise known as FoodDreamer – as my guest this week.  She has shared her wonderful recipe for Rum and Toasted Coconut Ice Cream.  It’s not just a dream to taste – it’s also sugar free, low carb and gluten free.  How cool is that?

March into Spring with Mimosa Macarons

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”…

forsythia bush

Forsythia giving their electric glow for Spring

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.

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.  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 hb egg halves were turned upside down and dolloped with Heinz salad cream and sprinkled with une touche de paprika.  No comment.  Well, perhaps yes.  Sorry, Mum.  I now owe you a box of mimosa macarons…

box mimosa macarons Jill

Anyone for a mimosa macaron?

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!

mimosa macaron pompom Jill

Mimosa macarons: a touch of Paris in the Springtime

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.

infusing mimosa

infusing mimosa for the buttercream filling

Using the tutti frutti macaron recipe (p.83) as a basis for the filling,  I instead infused some mimosa 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?

bitten mimosa macaron

Crispy meringue on the outside, fondant in the middle

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.   As a perfectionist, however, I would double the amount of mimosa used to infuse in the cream for next time.  To make a macaron taste of the flavour, the filling does need to be pretty concentrated.

pompom macaron mimosa Jill

Mimosa pompom macaron

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.

Opera near Brentanos

Brentano’s bookstore is on the Avenue de l’Opera, Paris (see Events)

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!

Macarons can be addictive

You will discover that making Parisian macarons can be the most gratifying and addictive of life’s little luxuries to make at home yourself.  WARNING. Once you start making macarons you’ll be hooked.  Just put aside these egg whites and let your creativity take over. Have fun!