Green Macaron Shells and Ideas for Fillings

No, it’s not St Patrick’s yet. This week I wanted to treat hubby’s colleagues to macarons at tea time. Shh… you know the company that brought the Rolling Stones to Paris for the Biggest Secret Event of the Year just last month?

Their company colour is dark green, so with half a teaspoon of powdered green colouring the macarons turned out green alright!  Turning to our Facebook MaM friends for motivation with the filling, these marvellous macaronivores had many interesting flavour ideas: Thai Green Curry; Pistachio (see my pistachio colouring post on this); and wasabi. They’re great, but the recipes are already in the book! I needed something a bit different for the next book. Green Tea and Mojito popped up – that was it! Hm. I wonder what green tea would be like in a Mojito? Have you ever tried it?

With only some incredibly dark rum rather than white rum in stock, there was no choice. In it went with the lime, lime zest and mint from the garden (sorry about this photo, as discovered the tiny holes from a wee friend in the decor leaves after I put this up!) Just sniffing Appleton Estate’s rum is enough to dream of sunnier climes. If you love your rum cocktails, head to the Cayman Islands with Carsley of the Deep Dish for plenty of inspiration.

For macarons rather more sober at afternoon tea, then Rose and Green Tea was colourful. I simply followed the recipe for rose macarons (page 45) but infused green tea in the cream first. You don’t get much of the green tea since the rose dose was quite powerful. Perhaps I need to tone it down a bit for next time.

If you want to be glitzy for the holiday season, then rub on some metallic food colouring or lustre with a brush or even better, with your fingertip. There’s something so therapeutic in doing this part. I have some wonderful rose lustre (see 2nd photo) but my favourite is the bronze one from Deco Relief (rue Montmartre.) As I was preparing these caramel colour shells, I was dreaming of that rum island again for inspiration for the next flavour.


Speaking of gold fingers, I’m relieved to have found a wizard of an Osteopath in Paris to sort out my back. Thank you all so much for your lovely well wishes. I’ve discovered over the last couple of years that back pain is tougher than giving birth and just as embarrassing when the coccyx has to be straightened. It’s nearly over – hopefully – but the Osteo is good.

Like all French doctors, he’s also good at answering the ‘phone; right when you’ve stripped to your undies and feeling vulnerable before examination. Standing waiting until it’s over can feel long, especially when the conversation is not about how to deal with an urgent pain relief situation but about the bin management on the street with a neighbour. “Did you know that the Sushi restaurant is selling up?  So will the new sandwich bar have the same kind of clients, do you think?” Fascinating. Speaking of clients, hello?  Shall I get dressed again?

Enfin, the call ends then brrrrrring; excusez-moi, I have to take this as it’s coming from out of town. Hello?  I’m from out of town and I’m Here. In this room. Feeling rather bare. I should look on the bright side; at least it wasn’t at the gynaecologist! I’ll spare you with that story as it’s one I can only tell after a few glasses and it’s far too early in the evening here.

I’ll leave you with the image of the bronzed shell, looking forward to a glass of rum. Cheers to you and have a wonderfully, panic-free week. Christmas is ages to go yet! 😉

Le Challenge!

Some of you perhaps heard about my latest challenge last week on Facebook. Just when I needed to make 200 macarons for my first signing event in France, my oven packed in. Not typical of my old oven – reliable and German. Now if it was French … I would have just shrugged it off comme les français and said it had gone on strike.

Taken by surprise but thankful for a speedy installation of a new one (I guess that’s now my Christmas present), I suddenly felt like a total novice, armed with a thick instruction manual and with the daunting task of having to produce perfect macarons in the space of a few hours. Easy? I couldn’t even find the fan setting at first glance, like my previous oven. All the latest gadgets are so fancy, digital and downright confusing.

As if that wasn’t enough I gave myself a double challenge. Due to time constraints I had “cheated” using a carton of egg whites. They didn’t quite act like my organic, fresh-but-aged whites.

The whites whisked up very quickly, but then it came to the actual mixing stage (macaronnage). The mix was thicker than usual and so I mixed for a lot longer. The result was even thicker! As you can perhaps see from the first batch of green macarons, they’re a bit rougher. No problem. I knew I could to do better on the next batch, so decided to make a duo-colour macaron with a vibrant cheery pink colour and hide the green one underneath 😉 The rose ones were better after shaking the carton this time.

Et voilà: green tea and rose macarons were born, using Matcha Green Tea and rosewater for the buttercream. The next batch of crème de cassis & violet shells were even better. I couldn’t resist playing, though, by flickpainting the shells with dark food colouring before they went in the oven…

So what did I learn about using carton egg white?
To 1) shake the carton well before weighing it out and 2) don’t mix as much as you would normally with fresh (but aged) whites at macaronnage stage. Otherwise follow the recipe as normal.

My first step for the oven was to check that it was actually the temperature it was saying it was. I checked with an oven thermometer and all was ok. 160° was actually 160° (unlike my previous oven which was 20° hotter than the dial said it was – and so I had to adjust.)

I added a further challenge for my oven and myself! As this machine was new and supposed to be an improvement on my previous model, I took the plunge and put in 3 trays at a time on the fan setting, “multilevel” (I wanted to follow Zetta’s supportive comment on FB, but didn’t have time!) After 4-5 minutes, the feet formed. Why do I ALWAYS get such a kick out of that pied part? (No pun intended.) It never fails. But after the 8 minutes, I touched them to test the readiness and they wobbled more than usual. It would take more than another 2-4 minutes, I thought. Meanwhile, the 3rd bottom tray had mostly cracked shells while the top two were not cooked enough. In the end I accidentally kept them in for too long. After about 15 minutes they browned slightly.

What next? I’ll limit myself to two trays in future but at least I now know I can do 2 trays at a time! That will really speed things up. In the end I discovered that the top and middle shelves in the oven were the best positions for the trays and that the temperature was still best at 160°C for about 12 minutes as it says in the book for picture-perfect macarons.

Apologies if this all sounds a bit technical. It has just confirmed to me that the recipe works – even in challenging circumstances!

Now that’s a relief 😉 It just takes some experimenting with your own oven: to discover how many trays you can put in the oven at the same time, how evenly it cooks, to check if the temperature is just right and to have confidence that you can produce perfect macarons!

This blog post was published before the site was made into a blog in the  Spring 2011.  Nobody could comment.  Not even Mum.
Then again, not even Mum knew I had a blog.
If you’d like to leave a comment, it’s not too late – show me that someone read it, at least!