I love tea. I love it for its warmth, for its light and cleansing, calming effect. I always drink it without milk and unsweetened. I love good green tea.
Luckily for me, there is a gourmet tea emporium nearby. They have loyalty cards, and I just got my eleventh box free. What fun!
This is one thing on which my husband and I disagree. He does not like tea, not in the slightest. I wonder, if maybe I could change his mind…by adding tea to one of our favourite things. Macarons.
Tea is not an unheard of ingredient in macarons, and I have the perfect variety to make them sing. Japanese Morning Dew - green tea with lime blossoms, rose petals and a fruity aroma.
I am concerned, however, that the flavour will be too subtle, and the complex flavours of my tea will be lost…let’s see, shall we.
José Marechal’s Macarons
200g almond meal
200g pure icing sugar
2 x 80g egg whites
200g white sugar
75g water (I’m going to try exchanging this for well-infused tea. I haven’t seen this anywhere before, and I’m not sure if it will make a difference to the flavour or not)
Process the almond meal and icing sugar together in a food processor, then sift into a large bowl.
Place the sugar and water into a small saucepan with a candy thermometer at the ready, and bring to a simmer.
Begin beating 80g of the egg whites on medium speed in a mixer to soft peaks.
When the sugar syrup reaches 105C, turn the mixer up to high. At 115C, take off the heat and pour in a thin stream into the egg whites, continuing to beat for 10 minutes, until cooled.
Add the other 80g of egg whites to the almond and sugar mix (tant pour tant), and combine to form a smooth paste. Add any colouring to this mixture, with compensation for the addition of all that white meringue. I added just enough to make a very pale green.
Mix in a quarter of the meringue to the tant pour tant to loosen it, then add the rest. To complete the macaronage, use a flexible spatula to fold under and over and into the centre - until the mixture relaxes and the surface is rather smooth when left for 10-20 seconds.
Pipe with a round 8-10mm nozzle onto baking paper, on a flat baking sheet (if your sheets have edges, like mine do, you can use them upside down so that the paper stays flat).
Rest, to form a skin, for 30 minutes or until the mixture does not stick to your finger when touched lightly.
Bake at 150C for 14 minutes. If your colouring is light, you may need to turn the oven down a little and increase the time by a few minutes, to avoid any browning.
Leave for a minute once out of the oven, before lifting gently off the paper. It pays to use an icing spatula or similar to slide under the shells.
For the filling, I’m going to adapt a white chocolate ganache by infusing tea into the cream. The ideal temperature for green tea is 85-90C, so if you want to ensure the best flavour, bring the cream to the boil and then bring it to this temperature before adding the cream and infusing for at least 10 minutes.
150g white chocolate
1 Tbsp tea leaves
Once the tea is infused, reheat the cream and add to the chocolate, stirring together until melted and smooth.
Oh, she of little faith. The flavour is subtle, but it’s there, and it intensifies over time. That floral resonance.
But what to call them? Fruity Green Tea, Rose and Lime Blossom Macarons is a tad too descriptive. Morning Dew Macarons, perhaps. Whatever I call these ones, I know that any other tea will yield a completely different taste sensation. Don’t be afraid to try.
And the boy’s opinion? He eagerly gave it a try (this is a macaron, not a cup of weird hot liquid, why wouldn’t he!)…The look on his face said it all. His eyes popped and the eyebrows went up. He chewed, then he positively gushed with wonderment. Apparently if I am going to get him to taste tea, this is the acceptable form.
Wait, what is that in the background? Well, because one batch of macarons is never enough, and I needed these to share with people over two nights, on two separate games nights (yes, I’m quite the socialite), I decided to make another.
These ones are Peanut Butter and Cocoa Macarons.
To add the cocoa to the shells, the quantities are changed a bit. It will now be:
180g almond meal
200g icing sugar
Apart from that little addition to the tant pour tant, nothing changes. You also don’t have to worry about colouring, unless you want a deeper brown than this. I sprinkled some finely chopped peanuts onto the top of mine, as I’ve seen elsewhere. Be warned, a lot of mine cracked because of this. I will have to investigate how to stop that happening.
(This is the start of macaronage, by the way)
If you really want to, you could probably just fill these with peanut butter.
I made a peanut butter buttercream.
3 egg yolks
90g caster sugar
2 Tbsp water
125g butter, softened and chopped
100g smooth peanut butter
60g roasted peanuts, chopped
Whisk the egg yolks in a mixer for ten minutes on high speed. They should be pale and creamy by the end of this.
Simmer the sugar and water in a small saucepan until it reaches 121C. Take off the heat and pour in a thin stream into the mixer, on medium speed.
I want a KitchenAid. My ancient Kenwood is the noisiest thing on my street, and having it on for 20 minutes can send you batty.
Add cubes of the butter, one at a time.
Add peanuts and peanut butter and you should have a lovely, crunchy, light buttercream.
This flavour is so very comforting. There is something about chocolate and peanut butter. It is so huge in the USA, and there are so many recipes online, but I am only just beginning to discover the sheer breadth of possibilities for this combination.