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Discovering the Best Orangettes, Rue de Miromesnil Paris

“Do you like orangettes?” My friend, Francis was grinning, almost expecting me to react with a shrug and say, “Yes but I’m not their biggest fan, plus Antoine and the kids are not that hot on them either.”

Before I knew it, determined to convince me otherwise, Francis met me in Rue de Miromesnil (in Paris’s 8th Arrondissement) for a taste of Guy Perault’s speciality, Orangettes or candied orange peel covered in dark chocolate.  If you thought you’d tasted Orangettes before, then just try them again here.

Rue de Miromesnil Paris

Growing up in Scotland, chocolate candied orange peel was my Granny’s favourite, my Mum’s favourite and chocolate gingers were always top of Gran’s list at Christmas. As they generously shared them, I would pass since they were a waste on me.  Do you remember Terry’s Chocolate Orange? Well I preferred stretching my pocket money on these popular flavoured chocolate segments with orange oil, wrapped in crinkly orange and silver paper, resembling a real orange; I thought it looked more appealing (or “a-peeling”?) but it was perhaps the packaging that spoke more than the contents. I can’t imagine there was much real chocolate or cocoa solids going on in that orange – or in these other orangettes, either.

Just opening the door of Orangettes & Co. heady wafts of chocolate and orange hit this distant memory.  With chocolate machinery right at the entrance and dark chocolate oozing out of a continuous tempering machine, this signalled a more sophisticated product – far from the industrial kind I had been used to.

guy Perault orangettes Paris

Monsieur Perault welcomed us into his small manufacturing shop, where his orangettes are considered as fresh products, using no preservatives. He dedicates his time to the laborious job of making the candied citrus fruits himself, selecting the best organic oranges from Spain, Sicily, Corsica and South Africa at the market in Rungis.

Although you can’t tell the difference in the taste of their origin once they’re transformed into candied fruit, the only telling factor is texture as a result of the thickness of skin.

how to candy orange peel

He took us into his tiny kitchen where the candied fruit are centre stage in a giant pot.  The jackpot is to replace as much water in the peel with sugar in order to concentrate the flavour and conserve it.  It can take Guy up to 10 days to make this happen.  It’s a real art: he checks the right proportion of sugar to orange using a simple weighing method called le pesage – Rolling Stones style!

We tasted the orange at the point when it’s just ready to be coated with chocolate. Mon Dieu! The orange wasn’t overly sweet, just concentrated in flavour and so soft that it melted on the tongue.

candied orange peel

At this point he coats the peel with 73% good dark chocolate, which he gets from the Chocolaterie de l’Opéra (Avignon).  After trying different percentages of cocoa solids, he arrived at this one, which he feels compliments the orange beautifully.

Orangettes have a much thinner coating than you normally see for orangettes elsewhere.  He takes a bit of a risk with such a thin coating, as it’s more prone to pearls of sugar arising from the fruit. Guy Perault’s theory is that the chocolate should take second stage, as it should be the fruit that shines through. It’s true: elsewhere I’ve seen orangettes with a thick coating of chocolate: this makes it easier for the manufacturer to sell his product since it has a longer shelf life.

Best chocolate orangettes in Paris

Guy doesn’t just make candy oranges: he uses the same procedure for his lemon peel (citronnettes), grapefruit, mandarine, bergamot, cédrat (Corsican over-sized, thick-peeled citrus fruits), ginger and also produces chocolate coated figs.  For lovers of After Eight chocolates, you’re in for a treat with the real thing here.  His mint leaves are not with a fondant centre but are fresh mint leaves taken from the middle of the plant, covered in egg white and coated with chocolate.  So thin, so dainty, so chocolatey minty and healthy with it.

 

Guy Perault's office orangette drawers

We tasted a mandarinette here.  I’m not the biggest fans of mandarines since there are so many pips but the flavour was so prominent – and concentrated like this, I’d rather eat them this way from now on!

I’m sure Gran was watching me test the chocolate gingers from above. Crikey! This is how I like my ginger with a real kick!  For ginger amateurs, he uses organic ginger from either China or South America, such as Peru or Chile and I can second that they have more concentration of flavour!  As it’s pretty strong, only one or two are just enough to have the flavour lingering…

Chocolate drawers

I love the drawers in his chocolate office. Now this is my kind of filing!

You can’t help but be impressed with the filing system here.  What about this for a shoe or handbag drawer? Sorry Antoine, but this is my kind of football.

Chocolate-maker Guy Perault in Paris

I couldn’t resist getting as much as possible for the family to try. Antoine’s first reaction was, “Why did you buy so many? You know I’m not that keen on chocolate orange peel ….”
Then he tasted them. It just goes to show that you can’t say you don’t like something until you try!

Although Guy recommended that we eat them all within 3 weeks, we were still nibbling on them 2 months later.  Not a sugar pearl in sight and I can tell you, I now love orangettes – particularly the citronettes, chocolate gingers and the wafer thin mint leaves.

So, if you like Orangettes, you must taste them; if you love Orangettes, this is a must stop in Paris!  And if you fancy taking part in a 2-hour workshop on Saturdays (up to 8 people max.), who you gonna call?  Monsieur Perault!

Orangettes & Co
110 rue de Miromesnil

75008 Paris

Tel: 01 – 42 65 53 05

Metro: Villiers

Chocolate Coffee Fondant Cakes

“I’m starving!” Lucie flew in the door with the rain blowing in with her. “Canteen was terrible today so I only ate some baguette.” It was just as well I had some of these chocolate coffee fondant cakes in the oven.

Normally my bunnies are flexible eaters at school but somehow there are a few days in the year where apparently la cantine doesn’t even meet the I’ll-just-eat-it-because-I’m-hungry mark. I wasn’t much better: if that had been the kids, I’d have scolded them. I’d just returned from an extra bendy weekly yoga session (feeling wobbly and stretched to 2 metres) and, having only downed a yogurt for lunch in a rush, suddenly thought of a warming yet healthily wicked, quickly-made pick-me-up. Besides, Lucie needed energy before disappearing again for a fencing practise. Enough excuses?

chocolate coffee cakes using briochette moulds

Then Julie arrived like clockwork: dump rucksack, throw off Converse – shoelaces still done – blocking the front door and stairs. “What’s for goûter, Mum? Canteen was rubbish, so I ended up …. oooooh, what’s that amazing smell? Chocolate?”

We like plain and simple chocolate cake, or perhaps a layered chocolate cake with ganache, but we love squidgy individual chocolate cakes when they’re fast to prepare and, even better, packed with good quality chocolate (no less than 64% cacao solids) and less sugar. Over the years we’ve surprised ourselves, as gradually we’ve become used to reducing sugar with more bittersweet tasting chocolate in recipes after some happy sampling of the likes from the wonderful pâtisseries that Paris has to offer.

chocolate coffee fondant cakes

No fancy food photo props here. Luckily I had a couple of minutes (yes, that’s far too long for hungry teenagers!) to attempt to focus on them with my modest telephone camera!

I also make lighter chocolate moelleux (lava) cakes for dessert (see recipe HERE) with more eggs.

What I love about this recipe, is that it’s easier on the butter than in most fondant cakes I’ve tried plus it has a more intense chocolate taste, with the coffee bringing it out even further. A little goes a long way but boy, it’s packed with fatigue-fighting and stress-bashing magnesium! They’re dense: a perfect warm and rewarding teatime treat.

chocolate coffee fondant cakes with mocha glaze

Chocolate Coffee Fondant Cakes with Mocha Glaze

Adapted from part of a recipe by Jonathan Blot (one of my favourite pastry chefs, of Acide Macaron in Paris) in the 4th issue of Fou de Patisserie magazine.

Makes 6 using a non-stick silicon muffin tin or briochette mould

Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 6 + 10 minutes
Calories per serving: 221 Kcal

70g butter
100g good quality chocolate (64% cocoa solids)
1/2 tsp instant coffee granules
2 eggs
50g caster sugar
30g plain (all-purpose) flour

Chocolate & Coffee Glaze

45g chocolate
20g/20ml espresso coffee

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°fan (Gas mark 6). Measure out the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and place over a pan of simmering water. Add the coffee powder and stir until just melted.

2. Take off the heat then add the sugar and beat in the eggs until mixed together. Add the flour in one go until completely mixed. Place the moulds on a baking tray then spoon into non-stick (I used flexipan silicone moulds – briochette shaped) moulds. If you’re using regular muffin moulds, butter them lightly before filling with batter.

3. Bake for only 6 minutes (yes, I know it’s exact but don’t cook any more than this if you prefer them squidgy).

4. Meanwhile, make the glaze: make a small cup of espresso coffee (ideally directly into a small measuring cup). Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Add the hot coffee and stir until melted then spread over each cake.

The cakes are even better eaten next day after overnight maturing. They can last in an airtight container for up to 3 days. You’ll see how they are dense in chocolate!

chocolate coffee fondant cakes with mocha glaze

Chocolate Coffee Fondant Cakes with Mocha glaze

Chocolate Coffee Fondant Cakes
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
16 mins
Total Time
31 mins
 
Adapted from part of a recipe by Jonathan Blot (one of my favourite pastry chefs, of Acide Macaron in Paris) in the 4th issue of Fou de Patisserie magazine.
Course: Dessert, teatime
Cuisine: French
Servings: 6
Calories: 221 kcal
Author: Jill Colonna
Ingredients
  • 70 g butter
  • 100 g good quality chocolate 64% cocoa solids
  • 1/2 tsp instant coffee granules
  • 2 eggs
  • 50 g caster sugar
  • 30 g plain all-purpose flour
Chocolate & Coffee Glaze
  • 45 g chocolate
  • 20 g/20ml espresso coffee
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°fan (Gas mark 6). Measure out the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and place over a pan of simmering water. Add the coffee powder and stir until just melted.
  2.  Take off the heat then add the sugar and beat in the eggs until mixed together. Add the flour in one go until completely mixed. Place the moulds on a baking tray then spoon into non-stick (I used flexipan silicone moulds – briochette shaped) moulds. If you’re using regular muffin moulds, butter them lightly before filling with batter.

  3. Bake for only 6 minutes (yes, I know it’s exact but don’t cook any more than this if you prefer them squidgy).
  4. Meanwhile, make the glaze: make a small cup of espresso coffee (ideally directly into a small measuring cup). Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Add the hot coffee and stir until melted then spread over each cake.
Recipe Notes

The cakes are even better eaten next day after overnight maturing.  They can last in an airtight container for up to 3 days.  You’ll see how they are dense in chocolate! 

Jill Colonna

MadAboutMacarons.com

 

Paris Gourmet Chocolate Museum – Choco Story

The French school mid-term holidays just came and went.  So did the wonderfully sunny weather we had: it was a surprising bonus to be in T-shirts at the end of October so we jumped on the RER train into Paris to the Museum of Chocolate.  Are you ready for a quick virtual choco-story tour?

The Paris chocolate museum is well ‘spread out’ and presented on 3 floors.  When we arrived, we could sense it was the school holidays: groups of youngsters and really young ones were being taken around.  Whether they grasped the story of chocolate beats me, as the poor things seemed to be told off more than given the chance to listen.

history of chocolate beginnings from Mayans to Aztecs

Why the name Chocolate?

The museum’s ground floor covers the Mayans and the Aztecs,  starting out with questions where chocolate came from.  For example, “Why the name cacao or cocoa?”  Well different Mayan ceramic pots are decorated with glyphs which have been interpreted as ka-ka-wa.  Hence the word cacao or cocoa in English.

Then why the name “chocolate”?  In Nahuatl, a language which is still spoken today by ore than 1.5 million Indians in Central America, cacahuatl is the word for chocolate: kakawa = cocoa, atl = water.  In the second part of the 16th century, the Spanish however used the word chocolatl, taking the Mayan word chocol to mean hot and the Aztec word atl to mean water, which later became chocolate.

Drinking pots Aztec period - Paris Chocolate Museum

How Chocolate Comes to Spain

The Mayans traded with cacao beans and so when Christopher Columbus saw this, he brought back the beans to Spain then, thinking they were bitter almonds, chucked them over his shrugging shoulders, thinking there wasn’t much they could do with them.

In 1519 it was the Spanish explorer, Cortez, that discovered the Aztecs drinking this bitter drink, chocolatl, from ceremonial pots.  King Motecuhzoma Xocoyotzin (I need a hot chocolate just to pronounce that one!) managed to produce 2000 large goblets of cocoa for his warriors.  It was a drink to fight fatigue and build resistance.  The drink wasn’t just bitter (vanilla and honey were added to sweeten slightly) but it was also spicy using mexican pepper, chili and allspice.  Thinking that Cortez was a feathered serpent god, the King offered him some of the royal potion and the story began…

Cortez finally brought cacao back to Spain in 1528.  Up until 1580, the Spaniards managed to keep this special drink pretty quiet by forbidding it to be exported and in 1580 opened the first cacao processing plant.  By this time they also added sugar and cinnamon to the spicy drink.

chemist chocolate bottles Paris Chocolate Museum

Chocolate – the best medicine!

Fast forward to 1753 and the the Swedish scientist Carolus Linnaeus names the cocoa tree Theobroma Cacao.

In Spain, cocoa products were originally sold in pharmacies. When it came to France, it was given the same treatment.  Cocoa butter was also sold as ointment.  I was just thinking about that as I was rubbing in my favourite cocoa butter moisturiser after my shower this morning – it’s just as good!

sugar cone pouring stand - Paris Chocolate Museum

Sugar

Sugar was obtained only from the sugar cane.  The sugar cane was pressed and the juice thickened into a very sweet liquid, which was poured into conical moulds.  After crystallisation, a cone of sugar was obtained.  This is how sugar was sold at the time, as it still is today in certain regions of Morocco.

Sugar cone cutters - Paris Chocolate Museum

Chocolate tools look more like Hallowe’en torture implements!

The sugar cones – also known as sugarloaf – or pain de sucre, needed some rather sinister looking implements to cut them!  For Facebook friends who tried to guess what this was over Hallowe’en, here’s your answer!

It was only by the beginning of the 1800s that sugar beet came to be used in Europe.

The juicy bits of history – when the chocolate drink comes to France via the royal courts and is then consumed as chocolate today – is missing here as this would end up being a mammoth post!  My colleagues and I talk about this during our chocolate and pastry walking tours in Paris via Context Travel.

Bonbon presentation boxes - Paris Chocolate Museum

The top floor also covers the first adverts, chocolate in France and collections of pretty chocolate and bonbon boxes, porcelain or ceramic.

chocolate presentation box French - Paris Chocolate Museum

And rather interesting looking chocolate pots.  I particularly like this modern version from Marseille, complete with a Molinillo-style chocolate beater, or moussoir.  Although the pourer does look like a rather long talking point!  Chocolate as an aphrodisiac is also covered – it even goes back to the Mayans and Aztecs.  The kids seemed to spend a long time trying to understand this section… ahem.

French designer chocolate pots Paris Chocolate Museum

The Paris Chocolate Museum finishes with a short documentary film (which is needed, as the actual making of chocolate needs more emphasis, I felt) and a 15-minute demonstration downstairs.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions: my group were either too timid or too busy eyeing the samples offered.  The girls and I were too polite and took only one and missed the others.  Is that a British, “After you”.. trait?

I also bought the tasting of hot chocolate at the end of the visit for the girls.  They had a choice of flavour, including a more Aztec style of drink, full of spices which was more intense in chocolate.  The tasting takes place in the museum shop.  As it was in the holidays, it was quite crowded but nevertheless it’s a visit I do recommend if you would love to learn more about the fascinating world of chocolate.

Le Musée Gourmand du Chocolat – Choco Story
28 Boulevard Bonne Nouvelle
75010 Paris

Métro: Bonne Nouvelle

Open every day 10am – 6pm

20th Salon du Chocolat Paris

How could you resist? Week 2 of the French mid-term school holidays and the 20th Salon du Chocolat Paris kicked off yesterday.

chocolate fashion dress salon du chocolat Paris 2014

The kids ruled (my excuse, anyway) so it was time to head over to the Porte de Versailles for a taste. Arriving in the vast upstairs gallery, most people were making for the chocolate dresses.  Hey, did someone pinch that meringue at the bottom? It wasn’t me, I promise…

chocolate and macaron candy dress salon du chocolat Paris 2014

The fashion show parades at 3pm and 5pm, when the crowds form around the central podium.  That’s when I ventured around to visit other attractions, including the ground floor, full of chocolate from around the world.  The last time I came here was with talented artist, Carol Gillott of ParisBreakfast fame: her fabulous artwork was in full view behind Fréderic Kassel’s pastry stand – although I don’t understand how I missed it.  It’s huge here – and not for nothing I lost Carol last time, too!

chocolate sculpture Paris 2014 court of Louis XIV

Jean-Luc Decluzeau, chocolate-maker and passionate historian put this sculpture together, celebrating how chocolate came to France around the 17th Century.  This represents the court of Louis XIV. It’s made with 500 kilos of Leonidas chocolates – including 2300 pralines – representing 300 hours of sweet labour.

Leonidas chocolate sculpture Paris salon 2014

Personally I had my eye on a leg: I’d be quite happy with the seat alone, weighing in at 35 kilos!
This time, macaron-lovers would certainly be happy.  These gluten-free treats were … everywhere.

macaron displays at the salon du chocolate Paris

And even more macarons from a huge central stand devoted to Pierre Marcolini‘s chocolates – including a White Bar, serving cocktails. I intended to return but became carried away… His chocolate macarons are top of my list, for sure.

macarons by Pierre Marcolini Paris

By lunch time, the kids and I were starving.  Looking around for a sandwich…. all we could find were these savoury macarons from les Macarondises (Paul, the only savoury boulangerie stand had sold out – my 12-yr old daughter Lucie has decided she’s setting up a stall next year).  That was definitely a first: savoury macarons for lunch.  Well, it was a gluten-free sandwich or few: salmon-dill, goats cheese-honey, foie gras and gingerbread and foie gras with chocolate (but of course).   The salmon was our winner with chèvre-miel a close second.

savoury macarons from les macarondises

We followed it off with another box for dessert from Les Macarondises.  Do you know what?  I much preferred the savoury ones – they were so much less sweeter and full of flavour, just enough filling, not too much.  Perfection.

macaron box at the salon du chocolat in Paris 2014

Before I knew it, I bumped into Christophe Roussel, the most friendly chocolatier-pâtissier in Montmartre.  He didnt have a stand this year being busy as a new Dad but was one of the judges – you must check out his new chocolate Eiffel Towers, called iTowers!  Then just around the corner, Philippe Urraca, one of my pastry chef heroes, a Meilleur Ouvrier de France, s’il vous plaît, was demonstrating how to make chocolate truffles.

Philippe Urraca Cemoi chocolate demonstration Paris

Enough name-dropping (and grinning in a photo with him together – more are on Facebook and now on Instagram).
Look at Sadaharu Aoki’s stand: preparing the Tokyo Macaron Yaki – a large chocolate macaron sandwiched in between green tea waffle batter.

Sadaharu Aoki Tokyo macaron yaki for the Salon du Chocolat Paris

Every stand has something going on.  So much to take in, smell, taste, then bring out the wallet and pocket money… this is when I realise my kids love good, dark chocolate.

Japanese chocolate houses at the salon du chocolat Paris

Not only exquisite chocolate, but the best in artisanal lollipops, full of flavours such as the classic of salted caramel, chocolate-pear, green apple, honey, chocolate-nougat, chocolate-pistachio…

Artisanal lollipops salon du chocolat Paris

Chocolate mousse – the traditional chocolate mousse bar run by the famous house, Chapon – here’s Patrice Chapon’s recipe for his 100% cacao Chocolate Mousse.

chocolate mousse bar Chapon

Then the more chocolate, chestnut, coffee, praline flavours of macarons from Laurent Duchêne.  Then I was tempted by his Baba au Yuzu… just finished it tonight, split with the girls to taste.  Thanks to Carol Gillott for tempting me with a photo of it in the morning – this was the final straw and had me legging it to le Salon!

Macarons Laurent Duchene Paris

Not forgetting that pastry chefs and chocolatiers are real artists, there was a huge emphasis also on chocolate artwork as well as the sculptures.  Here, Romain Duclos  demonstrated his artwork, ‘Valse Chocolat’ showing the movements of chocolate through 15-second vibrations every 1.5 minutes underneath the table.  At one point, the vibrations were so powerful, we could have been in Iceland watching some kind of chocolate eruptions.  Wonderful imagination.

chocolate artwork by Romain Duclos Valse Chocolat

Then back to art on canvas – macarons.  Carol Gillott should have a stand of her amazing macaron and pastry watercolours.  Just saying for the next Salon du Chocolat Paris …

macaron artwork

Next door, the kids posed for a Giant King Kong in chocolate, were particularly taken by a chocolate owl who was weeping, then we gazed up at these painters still preparing something for the following few days…

painters in action at the salon du chocolat Paris

Hubby was brought up in Africa and so spooky masks are something I’ve tried to avoid.  Now that these are in chocolate by Chocolats Colas, I could live with that…

african art chocolate masks by chocolats Colas

Suddenly we heard the crowds again: the next fashion show was parading around with chocolate dresses.  Meanwhile, this little girl was up to a few tricks and treats: watching attentively as the strawberries were dipped into the most tempting of melted chocolate.

Godiva-chocolate-strawberries-Paris

By now we were flagging.  I’m sure you are too by now?  There are more photos on the other social network channels (I’m starting to give it a go) for those of you who need more chocolate.

giant macarons

By this time, giant macarons were rather on the big side – even for macaronivores.

chocolate and coffee macarons

What would you go for, now that Autumn is here: lemon, praline, coffee, speculoos (cinnamon), crème brûlée, chocolate?

macaron-tower-salon-du-chocolat-Paris-2014

Next edition of Le Salon du Chocolat Paris: 31 October – 4 November 2018

Pumpkin Spice Macarons & Roasted Red Kuri Squash Filling

I’m back! And to make up for it I’m presenting you with these pumpkin spice macarons!

Oof! It has been a real marathon so it’s good to be back finally on le blog. These past few months have been  challenging. Juggling the stress of house renovations, a new bricolage world of riveting French DIY vocabulary has blossomed and I’ve even dabbled in some interior design (I made the plans for my office). I realised all this work has left its mark when I found myself glancing at the paint and tile colours in a few Parisian pâtisseries before the cakes!

The most exciting project, of course, has been preparing the new book: writing, recipe testing and taking hundreds of photos … all around teatime. I can’t wait to share its progress with you very soon but as it’s now going through edits and design with Waverley Books, I finally have an excuse to take a tea break and make some pumpkin spice macarons, strictly for le blog and perfect for Autumn!

Pumpkin spice Parisian macarons

I’ve never really understood why the French don’t seem to be that much into pumpkin. Last week at the market in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, I even had a lovely French seller – complete with chic body warmer, hair tied back with scarf – ask ME (yes, I kept pinching myself it was unreal) how to cook mini pumpkins (Jack-be-littles) rather than show them off as decorative items for Autumn.

Pumpkin Purée and Pumpkin Spice

For sweet recipes, there isn’t any pumpkin purée in the French shops, an ingredient that appears to be familiar with most of my American blogger friends at this time of year.  When I looked up some macaron recipes, there wasn’t even any pumpkin in them – instead simply ‘pumpkin pie spice’, another ingredient that’s difficult to find here.  So there was only one thing for it: to make my own pumpkin purée and find a quick spicy alternative.

potimarron or red kuru squash spiced macarons

Potimarron Pumpkins

I set out to grab a giant quarter slice of pumpkin, as they’re normally sold here. With Hallowe’en gradually becoming more popular here with youngsters, giant Jack-o’-lanterns are also more available than before, ready to carve for this Friday’s spooky date.  This year, pumpkins seem to be overshadowed by the smaller potimarron, The Autumn foodie fashion item in the French supermarkets and at our local farmers’ markets just outside Paris.  They’re everywhere!

What’s Potimarron in English? Apparently it’s Red Kuri, Japanese Squash or Orange Hokkaido.  It’s darker than pumpkin without the ridges and has a more intense, even chestnut-like texture and flavour (as the French name implies: marron, meaning chestnut).  What I love about it is, unlike pumpkin, you can even eat the skin!

pumpkin spiced Japanese squash macarons

I remembered a post by David Lebovitz about how to roast potimarron or red kuri squash: he dribbled olive oil over the slices, added herbs and roasted in the oven for 20-30 minutes at 200°C.  I tried this method using potimarron in my favourite pumpkin, leek and ginger soup and it really is delicious.

Inspiration knocked for these pumpkin spice macarons when David mentioned that the Red Kuri squash slices could also be roasted with brown sugar and cinnamon. Instead I used pain d’épices or gingerbread spice, perhaps the French’s closest quick answer to pumpkin pie spice (cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger & all-spice powder).  And in case some of you have hands up in horror, wondering why there are no Hallowe’en decorations on these macarons – I’m ridiculously scared of spiders and anything in the least bit squirmish; perhaps I grew up with too many Scottish ghost stories!

roasted red kuri or Japanese squash

Roast me in the oven for nearly 30 mins, covered in brown sugar, pumpkin spice and top with foil

Macaron Fruit Fillings – A Tip!

One word about using fruit purées for macaron fillings: it can make macarons become rather soggy.  One tip is to add ground almonds (almond flour) to soak up the juices which I’ve done here.  The good news with this recipe is that for impatient macaronivores, you can eat this macaron after only 6 hours in the fridge and finish them the next day.  Any longer and they will turn slightly soggy – but the taste is divine and full of healthy, spicy squash! I wouldn’t recommend keeping the pumpkin spice macarons any longer than 2 days or even freezing them as you would for all the macaron recipes in my book.  If you prefer to keep them longer like in the book, use equal quantities of purée, melted white chocolate and whipping cream.

Colouring the meringue for making pumpkin macaron shells

Instructions on how to make the macaron shells are given step-by-step in both my books, Mad About Macarons! and Teatime in Paris! Just add a dash of powdered colouring (I use a pinch of red and yellow) and a teaspoon of pumpkin spice or pain d’épices to the meringue.

pumpkin spice macaron filling with red kuri squash

Top me off with a macaron shell and I’m yours!


Pumpkin Spice Macarons:
Filling with Roasted Red Kuri

This recipe is ideal for serving later in the day.  Just chill in the fridge for 6 hours.  Best eaten within a couple of days. The basic French recipe for macaron shells are well explained in both Mad About Macarons! and Teatime in Paris! (150g egg whites for about 40 macarons).

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: max 35 minutes
Chilling time: min 1 hour

For roasting:

1/2 red kuri squash or Potimarron
2 tbsps brown sugar
3 tsps pumpkin spice or pain d’épices

Cream:

2g sheet of gelatine
2 egg yolks
50g brown sugar
50g whipping cream
100g roasted red kuri purée (half of one red kuri)
2 tsps pumpkin spice or pain d’épices
2 tbsps ground almonds (almond flour)
100g chilled mascarpone

1.  Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan.  Cut the kuri squash in 2 and, using only half of it, scoop out the seeds.  Cut into slices and place on a non-stick baking sheet, sprinkling with the brown sugar and spice.  Cover with aluminium foil and roast in the oven for about 20-30 minutes, depending on the size of the slices.  When ready, set aside to cool then purée using a mixer or by hand with a masher.  Weigh out 100g of purée.

2.  For the cream, soak the gelatine in cold water for about 15 minutes.  In a bowl, hand-whisk the yolks and sugar until creamy.  Heat the cream in a saucepan until nearly boiling, then whisk into the yolk mixture then transfer back to the pan over a medium heat, whisking constantly until the sauce thickens (rather like a pastry cream).

3.  Take off the heat, add the gelatine (squeeze of excess water) to the warm cream, whisking until melted then add the purée, ground almonds and spice.  Set aside to cool then chill for about an hour.

4.  Hand-whisk in the mascarpone then transfer the cream to a piping bag with a 1cm plain tip.  Pipe onto half of the shells then assemble with the remaining macaron shell tops and chill in the fridge.

pumpkin spice macarons potimarron red kuri squash

Are you planning to make spooky macarons for Hallowe’en?

Why not share your pumpkin spice macaron – or Hallowe’en inspired macarons with us?  Post them on the Mad About Macarons Facebook page or tag me on Instagram (@madaboutmacarons).  It’s always exciting to see you baking the recipes from my books.

Happy macaron-making!

Lemon Sauce for Roast Chicken and Stuffed Mini Pumpkins

This week the Autumnal chill has hit abruptly, just as much as returning to school routines after the mid-term holiday. Fumbling for lost gloves, I struggle with a new swift boot walk as my feet are in straight-jacketed shock with thick chaussettes.

I have abandoned the attempt to look like the chic French women with their scarves nonchalantly thrown over shoulders. Instead I gravitate towards the magical sizzling chicken rôtisseries dotted along the street on the way to the market.

That was it; roast chicken for a perfectly quick, comforting dinner. Mention chicken in St Germain-en-Laye and there’s only one place to make for at the market: in the central aisle, you’ll find Monsieur Dee. He’s not difficult to find since he pulls the crowds not just for his graceful service but his produce is in another league – such as the enormous duck filets, paupiettes parcels and saucisses de volaille (poultry sausages.)

By the time I arrive, most of the roasted chickens have disappeared. Before I know it, in pops a few extra chicken filets and a customary ‘bouquet du jardin’ of parsley on the house, as he tells me persil is for les dames, pas les hommes. Adoraaable Monsieur Dee!

Jack Be Little Pumpkins

Just across from Monsieur Dee’s sizzling poulet rôtis is la maison Huet, who always put on such a parade of forgotten vegetables that the conversation in the queue is guaranteed to provide an exchange of interesting recipes. Below left are the round Parisian carrots I talked about in this vegetable soup recipe post, but this time I was determined to do something other than use these mini pumpkins as decoration. They’re called Jack Be Little.

How to cook a Jack Be Little: I was told to simply prick it a few times, stick it in the microwave for 3 minutes on full blast, cut the top off, scoop out the seeds and fill the remaining hole with a mixture of emmental cheese, bacon and crème fraîche. That’s it; ridiculously easy and delicious to boot. Instead I filled each mini pumpkin with a mixture of bacon, cooked chestnuts, parmesan, crème fraîche and parsley.

For each individual pumpkin, briefly fry 4 cooked chestnuts, 1 chopped smoked bacon rasher, 1 tbsp freshly grated parmesan, finely chopped parsley, a tablespoon of crème fraîche and season to taste. Fill the cavity with it, then place under a hot grill for a couple of minutes. Then serve with a spoon and mix the whole thing up with the pumpkin flesh at the table.

And the kids’ favourite part to go with the roasted chicken?  A creamy, tart lemon sauce. I’m surprised that my girls would like such a simple sauce so much. What I love about it, is that it’s another way to use up yolks so it’s now added to the growing egg yolk recipe collection. It’s also a lovely sauce to accompany any leftover turkey!

lemon sauce recipe for roast chicken or turkey

Jack Be Little and Jill Be Quick with dinner …

Lemon Sauce Recipe for Roasted Chicken or Turkey

Serves 6

Preparation: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes

200ml chicken stock
3 egg yolks
juice and zest of 1 lemon (untreated)
100ml cream

1. Bring the chicken stock to the boil.

2. Meanwhile, whisk the yolks with the lemon juice, zest and cream in a bowl and gradually whisk the mixture into the hot stock.

3. Keep whisking until the sauce thickens slightly and bubbles.

Lemon sauce for roast chicken or turkey

Monsieur Dee thought we’d be celebrating Thanksgiving since we speak English. As our American friends are gearing up for next week, we’re instead celebrating la fête du Beaujolais Nouveau tonight in France. Apparently this year it’s another fruity success, with a hint of peaches.

Ah, it reminds us of our student days; 21 years ago, I met my Frenchie over a glass of particularly banana-flavoured Beaujolais Nouveau. Although, if you want my opinion, this lemon roast chicken and the pumpkin would partner well with a Gaillac or a Côte du Rhône white. I mean, look what happens after a glass or two of Beaujolais! I ended up haveeeeing to speak French!

Cheers!