Despite the laborious process that is macaron making, I can never stay away from these petite French confections for long. This time it was the glowing reviews on Pierre Herme’s Arabesque and Pistachio & Griottine macarons that I’d read on other food blogs that sent me off to the nearest supermarket for almonds, pistachios and apricots.
PH’s Arabesque macarons (based on the various descriptions I found) are supposed to be pistachio dusted macaron shells with apricot cream filling and pistachio praline. Not being a big fan of pistachios, I left out the pistachio on the shells and replaced the pistachio praline with almond & sesame praline.
The texture of the apricot macarons was amazing – chewy macaron shells with smooth apricot cream and crunchy, nutty praline. I’ll definitely be making these again. The only problem I had was that the macaron shells turned out somewhat on the flat side because I’d overmixed the batter.
The other PH macaron (pistachio & griottine) which I wanted to try recreating at home is supposed to be filled with pistachio paste and have an alcohol-soaked griottine in the centre.
I faced three problems in this quest. The first being that I had no idea how to make the smooth jade-green pistachio paste I’d seen in the few photographs of these macarons, so I improvised and made the pistachio paste with ½ cup of finely ground pistachios, ½ cup of confectioner’s sugar and a few tablespoons of water, which I then blended together with some buttercream.
The second challenge is that griottines in glass bottles are impossible to find here in Singapore. I’d only seen them on supermarket shelves in Germany. The only things remotely close to the small sour cherries over here are canned dark sweet pitted cherries in heavy syrup. I didn’t think that these syrup laden cherries would be a suitable replacement and went for a praline centre instead.
The last small problem I had was not knowing where to get powdered colouring (dark pink) for dusting the macaron shells and ended up using cocoa powder, which wasn’t the best replacement since it has a slightly bitter taste. [Latest Update: 13 May 2007] I’ve since been told that powdered colouring can be found at B-I-Y.
As an experiment, I used dried apricot bits for the centre in some of the pistachio macarons. I preferred the nut praline version - it went very well with the pistachio filling. The version with the apricot bits was a little strange - the apricot flavour was too intense and didn’t go as well with the pistachio cream.
Taste-test conclusion: The apricot macaron with its apricot and praline centre is something I’d definitely make again. I really liked the pistachio macaron with its pistachio cream and praline centre as well. Next time I’d probably experiment with a cherry centre when cherries are in season.
For details on how to place an order, please click here.