I was seeking
a chocolate recipe that would pair well with a unique liqueur I have from the
Abbaye de Lérins, on the Île Saint Honorat just off the coast of Cannes in the south of France.
is bursting with herbs, and is most similar, in my mind, to Chartreuse, or
another, very obscure monastic bottle we picked up in rural Tuscany, Centerbe
(100 herbs). The recipes for these sorts of things are, naturally, secret.
When I sought
good desserts to pair with this type of liqueur, chocolate surfaced as the
number one flavor. I'm good with that.
And the vanilla picks up on the floral essence of the liqueur.
A dessert to
go with a digestif shouldn't be heavy or cloying. Simple. Light. Cookies.
To find out how
these "Black & White Macarons" paired with the Liqueur Sénancole,
you can read about it on the Provence WineZine.
adapted from Michel Richard
ground vanilla bean, or 1/4 teaspoon vanilla paste
2 large egg
superfine (caster) sugar
1/4 cup heavy
unsalted butter, softened
almonds in a food process till the "almond flour" is of a uniform mealy
texture. Add the confectioner's sugar, and process until combined and even
finer. Add the vanilla paste and pulse to combine. Transfer to a medium bowl.
In the bowl
of a standing mixer, whisk the egg whites on medium speed till soft peaks form.
With mixer running, add half the sugar. Increase speed to high and add
remaining sugar. Continue to beat until stiff peaks form. Scrape beaten whites
onto the almond mixture, and gently fold to combine.
baking sheets with parchment. I found it helpful to trace 28 circles (1 1/4 inches in diameter) on the back side of the parchment - 7 rows of 4 - so that when I pipe on the batter, I can gauge how much is the right amount. Transfer batter to a pastry bag fitted with a
3/8-inch tip. Pipe 28 cookies onto each sheet (total of 56). Tip: hold the bag
1/4-inch above, and at a 90° angle to, the parchment. Pipe 1-inch round
macarons, leaving 1 inch between rows. Let them sit for 15 minutes to air dry;
meanwhile, preheat oven to 325°F. Clean the pastry bag.
for 12 minutes, rotating the pans once, halfway through the baking. Remove
from oven and let cookies cool on the baking sheets (on top of a cooling rack) for
3 minutes, then remove them with an offset spatula directly to cooling
racks. Cool completely.
Once they are cool, prepare the ganache. Place the cream and chocolate in small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until chocolate is completely melted, then stir in the butter until it, too, has melted.
Place saucepan in a bowl of ice water and whisk until the ganache is thickened to spreading
consistency. Remove from the ice water and let stand at room temperature until
ready to use.
ganache in a clean pastry bag fitted with a 3/8-inch tip. Pipe about 3/4
teaspoon on the bottoms of half the macarons, then top them with the remaining
cookies. Press lightly until ganache comes just to the edges of the cookie.
keep for 2 days refrigerated in a sealed container. Makes about two dozen. (Depending on your circles, it may make up to 28, or as few as 24.) Note: these made very tiny macarons - bite-size ones, really. I think I might make fewer and make larger cookies - perhaps 1 3/4 inch circles. The cooking time might increase very slightly.
Me, wearing my apron from Colette of Coco in the Kitchen www.cocointhekitchen.com