I got my greedy paws on some crystallised violets while in London (along with a load of other things that Nigella talks about but are impossible or cost prohibitive to buy in Australia). They sat here for a while with no real destination in mind until one night when I was separating egg whites from yolks and I thought what better to make than some Violette Macarons.
In France Violet is a very popular flavour, when we recently visited, I often saw it popping up on menus and in cakes. I'm sure some people would find it too "soapy" tasting, which is quite true. Indeed the lollies above are very soapy tasting and strong. You could always combine Violet with another flavour if the idea of eating Violets seems a little
odd. Violet and Blackcurrant or berry would be gorgeous together. To fill them I used white chocolate ganache as I had some in the fridge although of course a buttercream is more traditional. I adapted Nigella's Pistachio Macaron recipe because I am clinging onto it for dear life as that was the only one that worked for me.
As you can see I still have some problems with Macarons, namely the "frilly foot" that comes and goes. Also making them all the same size is a challenge although I always find a match for each half. It's more a matter of making each macaron the same size. But as they say, they still taste very good going down![
Makes 20 individual macaron halves, so 10 sandwiched together
For the macaroons:
75 grams almond meal
125 grams icing sugar
2 large egg whites
15grams caster sugar
Violet colouring gel (I used Wilton's "Violet")
4 Crystallised violets, ground with mortar and pestle
Extra 5-6 Crystalised Violets, lightly crushed but not to smithereens, woody bits picked out to sprinkle over macarons
2 drops of Violet essence
For the filling
180 grams white chocolate
1/4 cup cream
Violet iridescent powder
plus some of the Extra Crystalised Violets, lightly crushed but not to smithereens, woody bits picked out
2 baking sheets, lined with parchment paper
Step 1 - In a food processor grind the almond meal along with the icing sugar until as fine as dust. Whisk the egg whites until fairly stiff, but not dry, sprinkle the sugar over and whisk until very stiff. Add the colouring gel at this stage and whisk briefly Fold the whites into the almond meal-icing sugar dust, and combine gently.
Step 2 - Pipe small rounds onto your lined baking sheet, using a plain 1 cm nozzle. Sprinkle with lightly crushed crystallised violets. Let them sit for about 10 minutes to form a skin. Preheat the oven to 160°C/Gas mark 4 and turn the oven fan off or onto slow.
Step 3 - Rap the baking sheet hard on the countertop to flatten the batter before baking, then put in the oven and cook for 10-12 minutes: they should be set, but not dried out.
Step 4 - Remove from the oven and let cool, still on their sheets, while you get on with the filling. Melt the white chocolate and cream in a heatproof bowl over a small pot of simmering water and cool until a manageable, spreadable consistency. Sandwich two halves together with the filling.
Step 5 - Dust with purple iridescent powder and then add more crushed crystallised violets.