This was another macaron flavor I tested over the previous couple of weeks. I got a bag of dried lavender buds from my friend so I was eager to try it on my macarons. The shells were made with the Swiss method as in my Earl Grey and Orange Macarons. Instead of using Earl Grey tea I threw in some dried lavender buds when I ground the ground almond and icing sugar into a fine powder. I decorated half of the shells with extra lavender buds in the beginning. Sprinkling the buds directly on top of the shells and devouring them resulted in a very strong scent (my son actually didn’t like it and spat the buds all out). Omitting them made the macarons less appealing visually. My solution was to soak the buds in water for a short period of time to get rid of most of the taste, dry them and then use them for decoration.
I have originally planned to use lavender infused white chocolate ganache as the filling. However, it left a slightly bitter aftertaste even only a small amount of lavender was added. Despite the sweetness, it would probably be better if only white chocolate ganache alone was used. I switched to French buttercream that was prepared with egg yolks. It was less sweet and provided the perfect opportunity to use up the leftover yolks so I killed two birds with one stone! French buttercream traditionally has hot syrup poured into the yolks during whipping. I was making only a small batch here so I switched to the Swiss method which involved heating the sugar and yolks over a water bath. I pasteurized the yolks by maintaining a consistent temperature of 140°F/60°C for 5 minutes. To enhance the flavor I also added osmanthus syrup.
When I made my Swiss method macarons last time I combined half of the egg whites, icing sugar, ground almond and food coloring to form a thick paste before incorporating into the meringue. The order was different this time but it made no difference in the shells. So I guess you could choose whichever way that you are more comfortable with.
Lavender Osmanthus Macarons (Swiss Method)
makes 50 shells (25 macarons)
For the Macaron Shells
70 g egg whites, divided
53 g granulated sugar
1/8 tsp cream of tartar (optional)
a pinch of salt
93 g ground almond
93 g icing sugar
1/2 Tbsp dried lavender buds
Purple gel food coloring
For the Osmanthus Buttercream
2 egg yolks, large
35 g granulated sugar
150 g unsalted butter, softened
3 to 4 Tbsp osmanthus syrup
蛋白 70克 (分半)
他他粉 1/8茶匙 (可不加)
For the Macaron Shells 馬卡龍外殼
Line baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone mat with a master template underneath. I use a silicone macaron mat that has all measurement imprinted. Macaron template can also be downloaded here.
In a food processor, process ground almond, icing sugar and dried lavender flowers until finely ground. Pass mixture through a sieve into a bowl (this will create macaron shells with a smoother surface). Set aside.
Before preparing the meringue, wipe the mixing bowl and the whisk attachment with paper towel and vinegar or lemon juice to remove any traces of grease. Place half of the egg whites, sugar, salt and cream of tartar (optional) into the mixing bowl. Set bowl over a pot of barely simmering water and whisk constantly until the temperature of an instant-read thermometer reaches 140°F/60°C. Keep stirring while heating so the egg whites won’t be cooked. Remove from heat and beat mixture with an electric mixer on high speed until meringue is cool and form a glossy and firm peak with a small tail. Whisk in the food color briefly.
Add remaining egg whites and half of the almond sugar mixture into the meringue then fold with a spatula until Incorporated. Add remaining almond sugar mixture and fold until there is no visible lumps. Start the macaronage by pressing the batter with the spatula against the sides of the bowl (this helps to deflate the meringue and smooth the batter). Then scrape batter back into the middle and fold the batter from the bottom to the top. Repeat this press and fold method while keeping an eye on the batter consistency. Stop folding when the batter becomes smooth and shiny. While the spatula is lifted up, batter should ribbon off the spatula and flow back slowly into the bowl then disappear itself in about 30 seconds.
Scrape batter into a pastry bag fitted with a large plain piping tip (I used Wilton #2A). With the template as a guide, pipe out dollops of batter onto the prepared baking sheet. When done piping, remove paper template (if using) then tap baking sheet against the counter a few times to eliminate any trapped air bubbles. Pop bubbles that haven’t risen up to the surface with a toothpick. Sprinkle extra lavender buds on half of the shells for decorations (this step is optional). Let stand at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the weather and humidity, until the shells are dry to the touch.
Preheat oven to 300ºF/150℃ 10 minutes before baking. Bake for 13 to 15 minutes or until the shells are set without browning. If you touch the shell and it feels firm and doesn’t wiggle it is done. Remove from oven and cool completely on a wire rack before removing.
For the Filling 夾餡
Place egg yolks and sugar into a mixing bowl. Set bowl over a pot of barely simmering water and whisk constantly until the temperature of an instant-read thermometer reaches 140°F/60°C. Maintain this temperature for 5 minutes with constant stirring to pasteurize the yolks. Remove from heat and beat mixture with an electric mixer on high speed until pale and ribbony. Gradually add in butter cubes and beat with medium low speed until incorporated and color has turned pale. Set aside.
To Assemble 組合
Spoon filling into a piping bag fitted with a plain tip. Pair up shells of similar sizes. Pipe out a ring of filling on the flat side of a shell. Fill center with about 1/8 teaspoon of osmanthus syrup then top with the other shell, flat side down. Store filled macarons in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 24 hours to let the filling fuse into the shells . Bring to room temperature, about 15 minutes, before serving.
These ones were with white chocolate ganache. A bit too sweet for me.
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