One of the things that I love about being part of the blogging community is sharing the enjoyment of seasonal ingredients with my fellow bloggers and discovering new ways of cooking with some of my favourite ingredients. This summer I’ve seen lots of love for strawberry and rhubarb together, a pairing that I had never tried before, I normally combine rhubarb with ginger and strawberries with vanilla.
After picking up some reduced price rhubarb and strawberries at the end of May I made a very quick compote inspired by Elizabeth’s post for 10 ways with strawberry-rhubarb compote and I instantly fell in love with it. The compote ended up accompanying a few portions of chocolate cake and topping my overnight oats for breakfast for a few days. Once it was all gone I then saw Camilla’s recipe for rhubarb and strawberry jam and I fancied having a go myself. It’s been a long time since I made jam and I was very happy with how well it turned out and used it to fill these macarons.
When I made my jam I had more strawberries than rhubarb and as it was a spur of the moment decision to make it, I didn’t follow Camilla’s method of soaking the fruit in lemon juice first. Instead I used preserving sugar to make sure the jam would set, using an equal amount of sugar to fruit with approximately 60% strawberries to 40% rhubarb with a few drops of rose extract added at the end. I foolishly forgot to make a note of how much fruit I had used, but I can tell you I made 3 jars, so I would recommend checking out Camilla’s recipe, especially if you are new to jam making.
So why use the jam in macarons, simple answer why not? It’s been around 18 months since I last made a batch and I had some freeze dried strawberry powder that I bought for making marshmallows as edible Christmas gifts last year still sat in the cupboard, and I kept thinking it would work really well in macarons, so the obvious thing to do was try it out. Turns out that it was a very good idea indeed. I also wanted an excuse to use the edible dried rose petals I bought on a whim a little while ago. They make a very good decoration for a plate of macarons.
If you’ve never made macarons before, then I strongly recommend reading this very detailed post by Holly Bell (of GBBO fame). It’s the only recipe I’ve ever used and even on my very first attempt around 2 years ago I got great results. Admittedly quite a few were wonky and not all of them had lovely macaron feet but that’s more down to my ineptitude at wielding a piping bag rather than anything else. I’ve managed to get a bit better at piping over the last couple of years but still haven’t managed to bake an entire batch perfectly yet. I don’t mind though because they still taste good and wonky shells can either be enjoyed as a chef’s treat or crumbled up and mixed with cream and fruit, a bit like a posh Eton mess.
Just for fun on the day I made these I had a go at making my first stop motion Vine video. One of my friends makes a lot of these for her artwork and has done a few foodie ones as well so it inspired me to have a go. To see my friends Vine videos click here. My first attempt ended up being surprisingly popular so I guess I’ll have to try and make more videos in the future!
- 180g ground almonds
- 180g icing sugar
- 144g aged egg whites (approx 4 large egg whites left covered in the fridge for 3-4 days to age)
- 6g freeze dried strawberry powder
- 180g caster sugar
- 45g cold water
- 3-4 drops rose extract
- Tiny amount of pink food colouring - optional
- Strawberry & rhubarb jam to fill.
- Dried rose petals to decorate - optional
- Line 4-5 baking trays with parchment paper and draw circles on the reverse of the paper or on a piece of card that you can see through the parchment paper. This will be your guide for piping later.
- Place the icing sugar, almonds and strawberry powder in the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times to combine and break up any lumps.
- Put half of the egg whites into the bowl of a stand mixer and the other half into a large mixing bowl.
- Sieve the nuts, icing sugar and strawberry powder into the mixing bowl with the egg whites and mix together into a thick paste using a spatula.
- Turn the mixer on and whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks, whilst the mixer is running start heating up the water and caster sugar in a small saucepan to make a syrup.
- When the egg whites are stiff turn off the mixer and continue heating the syrup until it reaches 118°C on a sugar thermometer. Turn the mixer back onto low speed and slowly pour in the syrup, making sure that it hits the egg whites and not the edge of the bowl. When all of the syrup has been added, increase the speed of the mixer and whisk on a medium-high speed for 7 minutes until the meringue mixture is smooth, glossy and the bowl has cooled down. Add the rose extract and food colouring if using and briefly whisk again.
- Scrape the meringue out of the mixer into the bowl containing the almond mixture and mix well, beating and folding gently with a spatula to combine using a figure of eight type motion. Make sure that all of the almonds are incorporated into the meringue but take care not to overbeat. The mixture will be smooth and glossy when it is ready and similar in consistency to cake batter, i.e. it will drop easily from a spoon but not be runny.
- With the macaron mixture in the piping bag, place the sheet of card with pre drawn circles on underneath the baking parchment on a baking tray and pipe the macaron shells. Repeat this on the other trays, giving each tray a sharp tap on the worktop after all the shells have been piped.
- Leave the shells to rest uncovered at room temperature for 30 minutes or until they form a skin.
- Finally preheat the oven to 160°C and bake the macaron shells for 12 minutes. Holly Bell recommends baking one tray at a time and as I only have one shelf in my oven, this is what I do too.
- Check the macarons are fully cooked before removing from the oven by gently pushing the top of the shells, they shouldn't move away from their bases if they are done, otherwise give them another minute or two then check again.
- Leave to cool slightly on the baking trays then transfer to a wire rack. When cold, match up macaron shells that fit well together and fill them a teaspoon of jam. Serve scattered with rose petals if you like.
If you’re looking for more strawberry and rhubarb inspiration this summer then check out rhubarb, strawberry and ginger tarts from Cook Sister, Fab Food 4 All’s rhubarb and strawberry grunt and healthy rhubarb crumble bars with a bit of strawberry jam from Nadia’s Healthy Kitchen.
And for fruity macaron inspiration check out mango and jasmine macarons from Delicious Delicious Delicious, double raspberry macarons from Supergolden Bakes, ispahan macarons from Patisserie Makes Perfect and bakewell tart macarons from Emily’s Recipes & Reviews.
Finally I’m linking up my post with Perfecting Patisserie, a new blogging challenge run by Baking Queen74 and The Crafty Larder and also into Treat Petite run by Cakeyboi and The Baking Explorer where the theme for July is summertime special. I’m also joining in with Recipe of the Week, Tasty Tuesdays and Cook Blog Share.
For more blog challenges and also a list of giveaways, check out The Food Blog Diary for details.