Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Bringing my A-game today with Macarons! Filled with a delicious white chocolate rose ganache.
I was lucky enough to have a visit from Father Humble today, who kept me company and played with the little Humble while I worked in the kitchen. Since I rarely have unfettered kitchen time, I used this afternoon to have a little macaronathon.
Some back story for these cookies: While poking around at the local Indian market last weekend I came across a little packet of burgundy powder. The sticker read 'Rattan Jot Powder' and I had never heard of the stuff. There was no other info on the package that might help me identify it so I took it to the clerk and asked him about it. He told me it was something used in North Indian cooking and that was all he knew.
When it comes to new and interesting foods, I have a 'buy now Google later' policy. So I took the little packet home, went online and I discovered it was the ground root of the Alkanna tinctoria. A plant that produces a natural, food-safe coloring. So rubbed it between my fingers and sure enough, a very nice red. Then I tasted it and couldn't pick out any discernible flavor. So of course I'm thinking: gorgeous burgundy powder + rose macarons = pretty.
But that is not all! According to Botanical.com the root has other 'benefits', aside from decorating my cookies.
'It is an herb under the dominion of Venus, and indeed one of her darlings, though somewhat hard to come by. It helps old ulcers, hot inflammations, burnings by common fire and St. Anthony's fire . . . for these uses your best way is to make it into an ointment also if you make a vinegar of it, as you make a vinegar of roses, it helps the morphy and leprosy . . . it helps the yellow jaundice, spleen, and gravel in the kidneys. Dioscorides saith, it helps such as are bitten by venomous beasts, whether it be taken inwardly or applied to the wound, nay, he saith further, if any that hath newly eaten it do but spit into the mouth of a serpent, the serpent instantly dies.... It also kills worms. Its decoction made in wine and drank, strengthens the back, and easeth the pains thereof. It helps bruises and falls, and is as gallant a remedy to drive out the smallpox and measles as any is; an ointment made of it is excellent for green wounds, pricks or thrusts.'
That's right. My rose macarons will deal with all those snake bites and leprosy issues you have. Can Tartelette's macarons do that?
I don't think so.
You can also make deadly macaron spit that will instantly kill serpents. That's like... a super power.
Hello citizens, I'm Super Humble and I drool snake-death!
Cross my heart, if you eat these macarons you would have a legitimate reason to start wearing spandex jumpsuits and your underpants on the outside.
So before you consider if you'll use your powers for good or evil, let's go over how to bake these pretty little cookies.
I used my not so humble macaron recipe found here: Lemon Mascarpone Macarons and colored them with a little pink food coloring (The rattan jot may have proved useful here but I didn't want to take chances with any more failures this week, so I stuck with gel coloring)
Follow the directions to make the shells and before baking, put a little of the ratten jot powder into a tea strainer and tap it over each macaron (warning, I think I may have stained my silpat baking mats with the stuff so I recommend using parchment) and bake.
Not so Humble White Chocolate Rose Ganache:
100 grams E. Guittard white chocolate
100 grams Ghirardelli white baking chips
50 grams heavy cream
10 grams rose syrup
1 gram rose water
Warm the baking chips in the microwave in 30 second bursts until glossy then stir until smooth. Add the rose syrup and rose water. Stir vigorously, the mixture might be a little chunky at first but it will smooth out as you continue to mix.
Then heat the cream to a simmer over medium heat and then pour over the white chocolate. Allow to sit for about 30 seconds and then stir until the chocolate has melted completely. Combine both the white chocolate and the white baking chip mixtures and mix by hand. Again the mixture might not be completely smooth at first, but it should become smooth and glossy with enough mixing. The end result should have a smooth peanut butter like consistency.
If the mixture appears too thick, add a little more hot cream and mix thoroughly.
Chill this mixture for at least an hour and then it is ready to fill your macarons.
Oh, and I did have one pan of maca-wrongs today. You know how I insist on stacking two heavy duty aluminum baking sheets? Well look at what happens when I forget the second pan: Weird feet and hollow shells. Not good!
I baked three other batches on double stacked, thick aluminum baking sheets and they came out great. Just remove a pan and look at what can happen. That is one temperamental cookie.