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Another Year and Even More Mad About Macarons!

Happy New Year!  Wishing you the best of health, happiness and may all your sweet dreams come true in 2018.
To kick off the year, here’s a batch of dark chocolate macarons made with a splash of Whisky Liqueur (Drambuie) just to have an excuse to say Cheers to you! Santé ! Sláinte!

chocolate whisky macarons

It’s easy to reproduce them yourself at home. Grab a copy of my book, Teatime in Paris, then simply flick to the Macaron Recipe chapter and follow the instructions for the Chocolate, Honey & Orange Blossom Macarons. Just replace the orange blossom with a Whisky Liqueur (I used Drambuie, which has a herbal honey flavour to it) or your favourite Whisky for a wee kick.

Are you a keen baker, love macarons but haven’t yet made them? Then make 2018 your year of le macaron!

The Auld Alliance: France & Scotland

As some of you may have seen on Instagram/Facebook, I’ve been looking for many ways to celebrate since in December, I became a French citizen.  Do I feel different? Well, yes. Bah ouiii! I should have done this years ago but now I’m finally able to vote full-monty-on in France; like many of my fellow ex-pats, it’s something I wasn’t able to do as a British citizen abroad during the UK Brexit elections. So now I have more of an identity, including an official French Carte d’Identité and been so emotional, that I’ve had quite a frog in my throat. As I’ve kept my British-Scottish nationality, it’s leading me to post more French and Scottish recipes here – it’s surprising how much they have in common.  Although I’m called Mad About Macarons, don’t be put off – I post all kinds of different recipes here, including the ‘sweeter’ recipes reduced in sugar.

cannele cakes from Bordeaux

Look, I’m not as ‘tweet’ as you think…

The Scots particularly loved their Bordeaux wines, known as Claret or Clairet, as the much-awaited barrels arrived in Edinburgh’s Leith Docks.  But Bordeaux is also just as famous for their Canelé teacakes, found in many Parisian bakeries. Made with egg yolks (the whites were used for the wine), vanilla and rum, you’ll also find an easy recipe for them in Teatime in Paris.

Edinburgh’s Christmas

Before I post the first recipes and blog articles for 2018, here are just a few snapshots while spending Christmas with my family in Scotland.  We were lucky to arrive on Christmas Eve and enjoy the ambience of Edinburgh’s award-winning Christmas Market.

edinburgh Christmas Market Scotland

The Christmas Market flows over not just one but THREE levels in East Princes Street Gardens, around the Scot Monument. Stalls of fragrant festive spices in all shapes and forms greet passers-by, along with tartan reindeer and other beautiful crafts, plus ample opportunities to stop for a mug of mulled wine or cider in between rides for all ages.

Edinburgh Christmas Market

If you haven’t been to ‘Edinburgh’s Christmas‘, then mark it on your bucket list: it includes shows, free events, Santa’s Grotto, ice sculptures – just to name a few. Following on to George Street after ice-skating in St Andrew’s Square, this dazzling construction below – again encasing more opportunities for a Christmas tipple from a Whisky Liqueur to RumChata Hot Chocolate – lures the more adventurous to the Drop Tower next door.

Last year my daughter, Lucie, was so excited to be whirled around high above the Scot Monument on the Star Flyer but this year the even more daunting tower certainly made our jaws drop – and that was just looking on!

Edinburgh's Christmas

As we looked on in disbelief at her few minutes of screaming and waving her legs about towering over Edinburgh, cocktails beckoned in one of the many chic establishments in George Street before heading back home to continue the festive fun with the rest of the family.

The following days involved plenty of flambéd Christmas Puddings with brandy butter and custard from talented dessert whizzes Auntie Catherine, and my adorable sis-in-law – who laid on extra entertainment of chasing chickens off the road back into the neighbours’ garden in Kinross.

Christmas Cocktails

Epiphany in France – A Feast of the Kings

Now that we’re back in France, the festivities continue with Epiphany, the Feast of the Kings or Twelfth Night this weekend (what January diet? I never diet!)  Traditionally, this puff pastry almond-frangipane-filled dessert contains a lucky favour (fève), and the person who gets it becomes King or Queen for the day.  Perhaps that’s why we don’t just celebrate it this weekend only: like most of the French do, we’ll no doubt be continuing with this cutting, tasting and crowning until the end of January!  There are so many different creative versions to try out.

For more explanation on the Galette des Rois and a line-up from many top pastry chefs in Paris, see my post here. Although written two years ago, many of the galettes remain the same in the Parisian bakery windows – including my own homemade recipe. You knew it was coming … the recipe is in Teatime in Paris!

galette des Rois for Epiphany

 

Keep in Touch

As I was writing this for my monthly Newsletter, I shared it here as a once-off on le blog too in case you don’t receive it. So, if you’d like to have a copy in your inbox next time, then simply sign up to the Newsletter here. Don’t worry, I never share your details with anyone.

You can also subscribe to receive notification of the latest posts and choose from daily, weekly or monthly too!
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Comments

Please also don’t be shy about leaving a comment below any posts here. Your email is never shared publicly. I’m so thrilled to hear from you, whether it’s just a hello, a question, or telling me you’ve made the recipe (that’s always the BEST!). Your motivating comments make this blog worth continuing this year as I don’t monetise my blog.  Until the next, à très bientôt !

 

Spring Around Paris with Oranges for UK Mother’s Day

Somebody responded to this photo of an orange tree on Facebook by saying, “Thanks Jill but I don’t have to be Parisian to enjoy oranges”. Of course she was right. But she didn’t get the point.

Clementines in a Florist in Paris

For a start, I’m not Parisian – although I do have a French-Parisian diary.  It’s useful to note that Mother’s Day in France is on Sunday 29 May but each year I’m taken by surprise and suddenly remember what my diary doesn’t tell me: in the UK, Mother’s Day comes on 6 March.  So now we know I’m dead for forgetting my Mum’s day on time for Sunday, let’s walk around Paris together and talk about oranges.

At this chilly time of year, orange trees feature in many Parisian florists, decorating their entrances to brighten the path.  I always dream when I pass them, wishing I was living in Versailles with an Orangerie to look after them in style. We don’t live far from Versailles, but I’m sure if I took an orange bush home, they would just wilt and die on me so I prefer to window shop.

Oranges florist Paris winter

Just around the corner from this little florist off Rue du Bac, is a rather highbrow gourmet patisserie, Hugo & Victor on Boulevard Raspail.  The decor is stunning: dramatic black walls highlight their exquisite pastries which all centre around a seasonal theme. Oranges being the sweet seasonal jewels of the day, I know Mum would be so impressed watching the chic assistant pack this glistening blood orange tart into a simple black interior pastry box. The black box emphasises that this is pure pastry art, decorated with supreme segments and cubes of marshmallow.

Hugo & Victor orange tart and oranges in Paris

Back home, tasting the tart’s sumptuousness with different layers from compote to cream to its shiny glaze, I wanted to rustle up something with orange too – but a LOT simpler.  The signs were all there: our local market (Mum loves coming here each time she visits) was piled high with clementines and untreated oranges, begging to be grated, juiced and segmented for some kind of citrusy dessert.

While a creamy orange curd is just perfect as a topping on crêpes, I couldn’t help opening up Teatime in Paris and playing around with a few recipes.

Dessert Ideas from Teatime in Paris

The idea behind Teatime in Paris is to mix and match some of the recipes and I give ideas for variations throughout the book. One of my favourites in the Tart Chapter is a Lemon and Passion Fruit Meringue Tartlet. As the orange doesn’t have the same tart zingy taste as lemon, there was no need to add the sweet meringue and so the tartlet was even quicker.

It’s also just as simple to change the citrus juice – as I weigh the juice in the book rather than give it in volume (I give the exact amount needed for the juice which is far more exact). So I added just one passion fruit and made up the rest in orange juice to create an orange and passion tart.  It’s certainly not as arty and professional looking as the tart in Hugo & Victor here but I can tell you the acidity of the passion with the orange was divine.

Orange and passion fruit tartlet with macaron

I show you how to make crumble choux puffs in Teatime, with discs of craquelin or crumble before baking. This time, I added a pinch of orange powdered food colouring as I creamed the butter for the crumble and this was the result: Orange Crumble Choux puffs.

orange citrus French patisserie ideas

Filled with the passion fruit and orange tart filling, these crumble puffs are given the macaron hat look with a few macaron shells stored in the freezer bank.

Orange choux craquelin crumbles with macarons

Orange and Passion Fruit Crumble Choux Puffs

There are perhaps no orange primroses at the Eiffel Tower, but these white and yellow primroses have been cheering us up with their bright colours while we’re now dashing in between les giboulées de mars (rain storms of March). Our UK “April showers” are in March in France: again, our French vs UK diaries are reversed! Yesterday in between sunshine, we even had snow and today a hailstorm! Which reminds me: my Mum always looks beautiful in scarves.

Primrose flowers at the Eiffel Tower winter spring Paris

There’s something warming and exotic when you add a touch of orange blossom to cooking or baking. I guess  it’s too late to send Mum these Chocolate, Honey and Orange Blossom macarons from Teatime in Paris.

Chocolate and orange blossom macarons Teatime in Paris

So if you’re in the UK and live near your Mum, spoil her like mad this Sunday. I know my Mum would love these lusciously rich and buttery chocolate chip Financiers from the first chapter of Teatime in Paris. I simply added the grated rind of an orange to them for some extra zing with a cup of tea.

Chocolate and orange financiers from Teatime in Paris

I know you don’t need to be in Paris to enjoy oranges or daffodils at this time of year, but here’s wishing all of you wonderful Mums the most lovely Mothering Sunday this weekend in the UK – and with a copy of Teatime in Paris, why not bring a touch of Parisian spring to your kitchen?  And to my own, dearest SuperMum, I look forward to spoiling you on your next trip. Hurry and spring back to Paris soon!

Apple Oat Crumble – A Scottish French Alliance

Who would have thought that the good old Apple Crumble would be so popular in Paris these days? And trust the French to make it sound so romantic as “crrum-belle”!

Caramel Jasmine Macaron Filling

Let’s celebrate International Tea Day by adding some tea to one of the macaron recipes from Teatime in Paris to make a caramel jasmine macaron filling.

I love adding tea to baking and cooking: it’s my lazy gourmet way to make certain simple recipes sophisticated.  As ever, Paris has been my inspiration, as many fancy pâtisseries and tearooms offer tea-infused pastries for that extra chic Parisian teatime.

Tea-infused Recipes

Some tea-infused recipes on le blog have not been confined to teatime. One of my favourite main dishes is this easy yet elegant fish recipe with a beurre blanc sauce infused with Lapsang Souchong smoked tea.  Try it and you’ll see how it takes a simple John Dory fish dish to another level. I love the crispy topping but the sauce is the always the winner of compliments at dinner parties – so thank you Chef Vincent David for this one!

Cooking with tea recipes

Top: Herb-hugging John Dory with Smoked Tea Beurre Blanc;  Below: Tea-infused chocolate macarons; Green Tea Rice Pudding

I had so much fun remembering these One Night in Paris-Bangkok (Mariages Frères) tea-infused chocolate macarons and partying with a wig. Moving on to more recent comfort food was this rice pudding recipe infused with Theodor’s latest aromatic green tea called Little Bear, with notes of ginger and mandarine. I see the Insolent Parisian has yet another delicious tea-infused vanilla cream recipe.

Tea-infused recipes are also included in my new book, Teatime in Paris, such as these Honey, Rose and Green Tea Madeleines from the first chapter – and ending with the final Tea Party recipes, made to mix-and-match, including this Chocolate-Earl Grey Tart with Cointreau Crumble Puffs.

tea infused recipes in Teatime in Paris

Now, thanks to Waverley Books, I can share the recipe for the salted caramel cream filling from the new book – although instead I infused jasmine tea into the cream and omitted the salt to let the tea shine through to make this Caramel Jasmine Macaron Filling.

caramel and jasmine macarons

Caramel and Jasmine macaron filling – with a cup of Jasmine tea …

Caramel Jasmine Macaron Filling

Caramel Jasmine Macaron Filling
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
12 mins
Cooling Time
40 mins
Total Time
42 mins
 

Recipe adapted from Salted Caramel Macarons in Teatime in Paris by Jill Colonna - the salt has been omitted and the cream is slightly increased to allow for the infusion with the Jasmine tea. First, follow the basic macaron recipe (pages 146-150 in Teatime in Paris - or from Mad About Macarons) and add caramel colouring. The macaron recipe makes 70 shells (35 macarons).

Course: teatime
Cuisine: French
Keyword: caramel macaron filling recipe, jasmine tea macaron filling
Servings: 35 macarons (75 shells)
Calories: 50 kcal
Author: Jill Colonna
Ingredients
  • 110 g (4oz) cream warmed
  • 12 g (0.5oz) jasmine tea
  • 1 2g sheet gelatine
  • 100 g (3.5oz) sugar
  • 60 g (2.5oz) butter
  • 150 g (5.5oz) mascarpone
Instructions
  1. Heat the cream in a small saucepan and add the jasmine tea.  As soon as the cream boils, take off the heat, put a lid on and leave to infuse for 20 minutes. Filter out the tea, pushing as much of the cream out of the tea as possible using a wooden spoon. Set aside.
  2. Soak the gelatine in cold water for 10 minutes and reheat the cream.
  3. Heat the sugar with a tablespoon of water over medium heat in a small saucepan until a golden, syrupy caramel forms. Stir only when it starts to change colour and watch that it doesn't colour too much (i.e. it can burn quickly - and there's nothing worse than bitter burnt caramel, so keep you're eye on it!). This should take no more than 10 minutes in total. Turn down the heat and add the warmed cream gradually (ensure it’s warm, otherwise you’ll have the boiling caramel spitting at you!)
  4. Take off the heat and melt in the butter, stirring the tea-infused caramel with a wooden spoon.
  5. Add the gelatine (squeezed of excess water) and stir. Leave to cool on the counter for 15 minutes.
  6. Whisk in the mascarpone vigorously (or use an electric whisk) until you have a smooth texture.
  7. Chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  8. Transfer the caramel cream to a piping bag, pipe on the filling to each macaron couple, topping off with the other macaron shell to assemble.
Recipe Notes

Jill Colonna

MadAboutMacarons.com

Caramel and jasmine tart with Parisian macarons

I’ll leave you with this Caramel, Walnut and Maple tart, another of the recipes from Teatime in Paris I made this weekend to accompany the macarons (I did say I was looking for excuses to bake!).  Here I also infused Jasmine tea into the cream before pouring into the caramel. I also infused the tea into the melted butter for these almond tuiles, another of the recipes. It’s easy to adapt so many varieties of your best recipes to celebrate your favourite teas.

caramel jasmine macarons with caramel-maple and walnut tart from Teatime in Paris

All that’s missing is a cup of tea and some company. So, what’s your favourite tea and do you bake or cook with it?

PIN me for later!

Caramel Jasmine macaron ganache filling

The Teatime in Paris Pastry Walking Tour!

It’s great to be back in Paris and settle into a good old routine! As I’m starting to get organised around a more serious school year’s schedule, this rentrée is different.

Thanks to my lovely colleagues at Context Travel, I’m thrilled to be leading a brand NEW macaron, pastry and chocolate walking tour to coincide with my new book.

Welcome to the Teatime in Paris Pastry Walk!

Macarons chocolates and teacakes in Paris for teatime

If you love Paris, pastries, chocolate, macarons and like to bake at home, then this walking tour is right up your street.

Just as I do in the book, I’ll be walking you around some of the finest pastry and chocolate boutiques, pointing out some of the lesser known spots along the way.

Madeleine area and rue saint honore in Paris

Don’t come after a large lunch: we’ll also be tasting many of the finest and award-winning éclairs, tarts, financiers, canelés, madeleines, macarons, chocolates and pralines, just to name a few.  With Autumn on us, it’s the perfect time to enjoy a taste of decadent hot chocolate too.  As we sample, we’ll talk about their Parisian history and how they’re made – so for budding bakers, your questions are welcome.

Patrick Roger Chocolate Madeleine

The tour will take place on Mondays and Tuesdays until end October – ideal for that long weekend trip – as these days are best for enjoying the boutiques at our own pace during 2.5 hours and avoiding the more hustle and bustle of the 8th arrondissement at peak times. And with no more than 6 people in the group, it’s a personal experience.

To finish off, included in this one-off exceptional tour is your own copy of my new cookbook and armchair sweet travel guide. For an idea what’s inside, see About Teatime in Paris.

Teatime in Paris: A Walk Through Easy French Patisserie Recipes

For those of you not in Paris, don’t worry; it doesn’t stop here. With Teatime in Paris you can make your own Parisian-style hot chocolate, teacakes, macarons and pastries for a special teatime at home.  Thanks to Waverley Books, there’s a special offer until the end of September on Amazon.co.uk.

It’s also competition time in the UK over at Party Pieces. So hurry – you still have until noon on Monday 14th September to enter the Teatime in Paris UK giveaway. You could be one of the 4 lucky winners… good luck!

Teatime in Paris pastry recipe book and guide to patisseries in Paris

Have you tried these Chocolate – Earl Grey Tarlets with Orange-Liqueur Crumble Puffs yet from the Tea Party chapter? I’ll be continuing to make recipes from the book on my FB page or instagram feed.

In the meantime, I hope to see you very soon on the Teatime in Paris Pastry Walk with Context Travel .

Jill x

P.S. I forgot to tell you the most important part: it’s also simply great fun!

I Love You Macaron Tea – Theodor Paris

I didn’t think I’d actually fall in love with tea. Can you imagine a tea with scents of macarons and pistachios? Heaven. On top of it, this unique brew is called “I Love You” – Je t’aime.

Macaron tea Je t'aime by Theodor Paris Teatime

The teas of Theodor Paris have been a very recent discovery of mine thanks to my friend, Francis for introducing me to Monsieur Leleu’s new creation, the Absolu Oolong.  And when I say discovery, it’s not just that his speciality teas are so different to anything else I’ve ever tasted; like drinking good wine, they’ve helped me learn to appreciate teas’ deliciously complex aromas; take the time and pleasure with my cuppa; (I know, I know –  this sounds corny but it’s true…) even evoke a smile.

I’m so glad I popped in to the original boutique where Theodor started in the 16th arrondissement. It’s just a few minutes walk from Trocadero and I thoroughly recommend a visit with the charming Sylvie. Previously a creamery, the decor is still testament to such a location with the ceiling and wall panels by Anselm in Rue du Roi Doré (golden king street) in the 7th.

Theodor Tea Paris

Guillaume Leleu started up this first shop here in 2002 and since then has been taking the tea world by storm with his Theodor creations, now in 30 different countries. Each year about 100 tons of teas personally selected from around the world (mostly from Asia) are transformed in his zen-like laboratory in the previous Singer factory in Bonnières sur Seine, within rowing-boat distance from Monet’s gardens at Giverny.

Calling himself the Insolent Parisian, Theodor’s founder has us travel with him  – whether it’s through the descriptions of his teas or online – finding beauty in everyday things through his poetic words, embodying the art of tea.

The inspiration of the Impertinent Parisian is embodied in sixteen essences that form the aromatic tea palette in an impertinent and poetic way. Impertinent, because it tempts us to take a shortcut and welcome the unexpected. Poetic, because it makes us discover shifting horizons and jostles our view and senses, provoking us to a game of desire and astonishment in disguise, while inviting us to marvel in front of the revisited daily Parisian routine.

Theodor Paris Tea

Such impertinent essences are represented by 16 colourful satin ribbons that make a statement around each of the characteristic tea tins containing teas of origin, black flavoured teas, green flavoured teas, infusions named “weeds” or herbal teas.

Je t’aime belongs to the “Teas of the Gallantry” essence, represented with a fuchsia pink ribbon. Gallantry expresses “pastry flavours tasting like fruit and candy. They will offer a flattering and indulging pleasure while remaining light and refined.”

The day I visited, Marìa, also from the talented Theodor team, made a pot of this rather special brew.

Theodor Tea Paris - macaron pistachio tea

I Love You‘s pronounced fragrances are indeed pistachio and macaron. Like an alchemist in the kitchen or in a perfumery, Monsieur Leleu creates the macaron flavour by adding ingredients such as pink peony petals (clearly visible), bitter almond, coconut, chocolate, chopped almond pieces, and coconut shavings.

Just as with tasting wine, when the tea was finished I loved swirling around the end of the tea to gather all of the wonderful aromas around the empty, fragranced teacup.

empty teacup of macaron tea at Theodor Paris

This macaron tea has a loving green tea sister, J’aime, flavoured with notes of macaron and strawberry.

As more gigantic tea containers were opened, it was intriguing to sniff revel in the different tea leaves’ bouquets with their added surprises which make up each and every creation.

Theodor tea shop in Paris Trocadero

Jour J (meaning “The Big Day”) is aptly named, as this dreamy white tea (Bai Mu Dan) has astonishing notes to resemble the flavour and sensation of rosé Champagne. Monsieur Leleu cleverly concocts this sensation by adding bits of strawberry, helianthus (or sunflower) petals and jasmine flowers, just to name a few of the magical ingredients.

Likewise, ingredients are added to create a black tea, Sans Complexe (no complex), with lemon and vanilla to arrive at a lemon meringue pie. Tribute, conjures up the most amazing flavours of frangipane, while Oolong Milky conjures up the most buttery and milk fragrances. This list goes on …

Rooibos tea: carpe diem Theodor Paris

This Carpe Diem is red rooibos tea, with “greedy” (that’s another of the 16 essences) notes of red fruits, toasted and sugar-coated almonds. Marìa suggested using this tea to perfume rice by placing just a couple of teaspoons in it while cooking.  Try it.  It’s genius!

Try making this fragranced green tea-infused rice pudding recipe and see what I mean.

Lotus flowers used for making tea

Blue Oolong Lotus is a green tea from Vietnam and the lotus flower is used to impart a scent to the tea leaves by placing them inside the flower just before it closes at night to take on the fragrance of this very special flower. How’s that for creativity?

Theodor Tea Paris

Theodor Tea Paris

The perfect “tea gourmet”: a cup or two of I Love You, rose and chocolate macarons and some almond financier teacakes (the recipes are all in Teatime in Paris).

teatime in paris with macarons financiers and pistachio tea

The only way to have a cup of tea, is by loving it.

I’ll drink to that, Monsieur Leleu. Cheers to discovering the unexpected, new views and senses, and revisiting daily Parisian routine.

THEODOR TEA PARIS
28 Rue des Sablons
75016 Paris

Metro: Trocadéro