I've made you wait for this - haven't I? I began receiving emails and FB messages asking me if I had forgotten about my promise to reveal not only the recipe, but many of you were very keen on hearing what a studmuffin is!
First allow me to thank everyone for the fantastic Birthday wishes on my teaser post, for the emails, FB messages and tweets. I was touched and found myself teary eyed often on the day.
Studmuffin is a word that exists to date in the vocabulary of maybe a handful of ladies. By definition it refers to anything, but more likely to apply to anyone completely droolworthy, delicious and downright scrumptious. It is vital that every girl have a studmuffin. Because studmuffins not only are eye-candy and makes ones pulse race faster, they often are the inspiration to incredible creativity.
Studmuffins can also be responsible for an email exchange between you and your girlfriends, in which 35 emails are exchanged in the most hilarious manner in a span of a few hours. Don't believe me? Send an email of your studmuffin dressed tastelessly and disclose that the stylist needs to be shot! You'll cherish those emails and love your girlfriends at their ability to join you in pure teenage silliness. I do!
That email exchange was in actual effect responsible for this macaron creation. The flavors for the macarons was something I brought back with me from my recent trip to Dubai, where I had the opportunity to test various macarons at a divine place in Dubai Mall. The original macarons that I tested there were raspberry and tahini. There was nothing else I came away with. No recipe, no other ingredients. So I began experimenting with my own ideas.
These macarons brought out the wild side in me as I experimented, scrapped ideas then went back and experimented some more. But then on that day as my lovely sweary, saucy, sporty and snarky girlfriends were talking studmuffins via email something clicked. We did not even mention macarons in that email nor did we talk about food or ingredients, I was just fueled by my urge to take something homemade for my girlfriends to London as a special treat. A few days before I was to leave I decided to stop the experimenting and throw it together.
Wait - throw ingredients together for a macaron? Can one do that? Well like I said this recipe brought my wild side out. I had egg whites leftover from making the pistachio rosewater croqembouche, aging in the refrigerator and had a pretty good conception of the filling. What I was missing was the true raspberry flavor for the shells. It was Soeren actually who gave me the idea of using raspberry tea, indirectly. He wanted me to buy some flavored tea to make homemade iced tea and as we were looking at the aisle of teas provided at my supermarket, I was overwhelmed by the variety. I picked out the teas for our iced tea and as I was about to walk off, I stopped. And thought. Then looked at the aisle again, shrugged my shoulders and grabbed the packet of raspberry tea. It was worth a try.
The rest was pretty much winging it as I went along. I had abandoned the ideas and notes I had jotted in my notebook and went to work on the concept I had in my head.
I ground the tea leaves and dried raspberries along with the almonds for the shells and part of the color comes from the dried raspberries. The filling is an irresistible mix of rich dark chocolate couverture from Lindt, a light sprinkling of fleur de sel and a few tablespoons of tahini paste.
The reason I used couverture was basically because one can use a higher proportion of chocolate to cream. As couverture is more viscous than ordinary plain chocolate one can increase the amount of couverture to that of double cream. Resulting in a more rich and intense chocolate flavor.
Note: If you are making macarons for the first time please read my comprehensive collection of macaron tips. All the way from the prep work to removing macarons from the baking paper, you’ll find valuable tips and tricks for perfect macaron making.
Raspberry Tea Macarons with Tahini Dark Chocolate Cream
Printable version of recipe here
For the macaron shells
110g icing sugar
60g almonds, very finely ground
60g egg whites, (about 2 eggs) aged for either 5 days in the fridge, then for 24 hours at room temperature or a little over 24 hours on the countertop
40g castor sugar
15g raspberry tea with dried raspberries, finely ground (with the almonds)
a few drops of red food coloring
For the filling
200g Dark chocolate couverture, finely chopped
150ml double cream
3-4 tablespoons tahini paste
good pinch of fleur de sel
For the macaron shells
- Prepare your baking tray and baking sheets with a stencil of circles. Draw circles on some baking paper using a (mathematical) compass about 2 cm in diameter. Then place some white parchment paper on the baking tray and flip the baking paper back around. Or use this macaron template.
- In a large mixing bowl mix the egg whites with an electric hand beater (alternatively you can use a stand mixer with the whisk attachment) until it is thick and frothy. Gradually add the granulated sugar, whisking all the while, until the mixture turns into a thick glossy meringue. The consistency of the macaron batter should be similar to hair mousse or shaving foam. Make sure the meringue is not over-beaten or else it will be too dry.
- In a food processor pulse together icing sugar, almonds and raspberry tea until everything is finely ground and powdery. Sift the mixture 2 or 3 times to make sure there are no lumps.
- Place the dry ingredients into a bowl. Add the meringue in three portions, giving it a quick fold using the macronnage technique described in my macaron tips section. Add a few drops of red food coloring to get the desired color tone. Fold the mixture a few times to break the air. Continue until you get a smooth and supple mixture, thick in consistency so that when you lift the spatula it flows back in thick ribbons. Test a small amount on a plate – should the tops fall back and flatten by themselves then it is ready, if not give it a few more folds.
- Fill a piping bag with a plain tip with the batter and pipe small rounds (2 cm in diameter) on your prepared baking paper. Leave the macarons to rest and dry for about 15 to 30 minutes.
- In the meantime preheat the the oven to 150 degrees C. When the macarons are ready bake the shells for 12-15 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Use a flat offset spatula to gently remove the shells from the baking paper and allow to cool further on a rack.
For the filling
- Put the cream into a saucepan and bring nearly to the boil, so it is scalding hot.
- With the finely chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl, pour the hot cream over and leave to allow the chocolate to melt into the hot cream. Add a pinch of fleur de sel and gently stir to mix.
- Leave it to cool long enough for it to be a nice spreadable consistency.
- Once the chocolate ganache has cooled stir in the tahini paste. Place in refrigerator for it to set and thicken further.
Assembling the macarons
Pipe small portions of the chocolate-tahini filling on one of the shells and gently cover with another shell. Do not press. Continue to do this until you have used up all of the filling and shells.
If you are not going to be using them right away you can store the shells in an airtight container at room temperature for 2-3 days.
They freeze well too but it is recommended to freeze them unfilled. To fill them take the shells out of the freezer 48 hours prior to serving and without defrosting fill them. This way the flavors will be allowed to blend as they thaw.
Macarons taste best the next day. Prepare and fill them, then keep them in an airtight container in the fridge. This allows the flavors to intermingle with each other. Enjoy them at room temperature the next day.
These were transported in my hand luggage to London. I simply lined a plastic air-tight container with bubble wrap and placed the macarons on the wrap. Then covered with a second piece of bubble wrap and sealed it with the lid.
I was nervous about this verdict. For the first time I had fellow food bloggers tasting one of my recipes. And they know their sole from their plaice (which sometimes is the same thing). Of course I was very excited too to present to them one of my macarons creations. As I unpacked the box I could feel the suspense building up and could hardly wait till they bit into the macaron they held in their hands. They were good to me. The flavor explosion of chocolate and tahini really hit them. I got them to guess what the flavors were and loved their expressions on their faces as the quizzed.
In my own opinion I think the tahini flavor could have been a bit more dominant and the raspberry flavor slightly more prominent. So, the next time I'll add some more tahini and maybe try drying fresh raspberries for a more intensive flavor. My macarons also stood up in our macaron tasting evening on Sunday night. More about that in my next post.
This macaron creation is heading on over to Mactweets. This month we were to let our wild side loose and get inspired by a wild animal, beast or bird. Well ladies this is one is inspired by my studmuffin. Beast or bird? I think a bit of both wouldn't you say? ;o)A few of these are also specially going over to Erin, who is my gracious hostess for this session of the Monthly Mingle. Erin's theme is Special Sweet Treats and for me it does not get more special than macarons traveling to London for my special Spice Girls!
More Macarons from WFLH:
|Spiced Chai Latte and Salted Caramel Macarons||Matcha Macarons with Passionfruit Curd||Black Sesame and Nutella Macarons|
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