Award-winning chef-patron Pascal Canevet of the iconic Maison Bleue in Bury St Edmunds shares a classic French recipe
Spring is such an inspirational time for me with our countryside bursting with vibrant colours, playful lambs and ploughed fields full of promise. These delightful French macarons add a pop of colour to your plate and make the perfect petit-four for spring entertaining. Their pretty pastel colours are evocative of spring with fresh delicate flavours.
With every dish I always try to bring a little twist of flavour, add a little of my style, and I think you’ll love the unique flavour of delicate macaron, a taste that transports me to childhood and happy carefree days.
Tiny edible violas and golden leaves add a touch of glamour and make these little macarons simply divine – you’ll fall in love with each mouthful. Like clouds of flavour they are light, adorable and enticing.
I buy my edible flowers from a local supplier, here I use violas but blue cornflowers, borage and sweet williams, when in season, would also work. Based in Thetford, The Horticulture Industry Scheme is a non-profit, social enterprise producing edible flowers for high-end restaurants across the UK. Wherever possible I like to select excellent produce from across East Anglia.
For a delicious match made in heaven, pair with a glass of Blanquette de Limoux or a nice medium dry Riesling.
PRETTY FRENCH MACARON
130g ground almonds
225g icing sugar
115g egg whites, aged overnight
60g caster sugar
For the white chocolate filling:
250g whipping cream
115g white chocolate buttons
1 gelatin leaf
Mix the ground almonds and icing sugar together in a bowl then sift through. Set aside.
In a large clean, dry bowl, whip the egg whites on medium speed until foamy. Increase the speed and gradually add granulated sugar. Continue to whip to stiff peaks—the whites should be firm and shiny.
With a flexible spatula, gently fold in the icing sugar and ground almonds into the egg whites. The mixture should be glossy and smooth.
Cover baking sheets with baking paper. Fit a piping bag with a 1cm round tip. Pipe the mixture into 3cm diameter circles onto the baking sheets. Tap the underside of the baking sheet to remove air bubbles. Let dry at room temperature for 1 or 2 hours to allow skins to form.
Bake, in a 140°C oven for 15 minutes. Open the oven door every 5 minutes for 20 seconds to stop humidity from building up.
Remove the macarons from oven and transfer onto a cooling rack. When completely cool, gently slide a metal spatula underneath to remove from the parchment. The macarons can be stored in an airtight container for two days, or frozen.
White chocolate filling:
Soak the gelatin leaf in cold water for at least 4 minutes.
Place the white chocolate into a heatproof bowl. In a deep pan, bring the cream to a boil. Pour the cream over the chocolate and stir well. Add the gelatin. Stir continuously until the chocolate and the gelatin are completely dissolved. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Gently sandwich the macarons with chocolate filling. Add edible flowers for decoration, et voila!
Pascal Canevet is chef chef-patron of award-winning Maison Bleue, an intimate fine-dining restaurant serving a modern French menu.
Churchgate Street, Bury St Edmunds.