To make premium macarons you have to know how to master their meringue-like mixture of egg whites, powdered sugar, and almond flour, something which Tanya Emerick, owner of Scarlet Nantes in Seattle, is a true specialist.
Her fascination with delicate French pastry was unveiled during her trips to Paris, where her husband Scott received his culinary degree at the French School of Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management Ferrandi and worked with Michelin-starred chef Guy Savoy. “I spent most of my Paris afternoons enjoying treats at Maison Ladurée and Maison du Chocolat and it became a goal of mine to master the art of the French macaron,” recalls Tanya.
In 2011, they moved to Washington DC to work at Restaurant Nora, America’s first certified organic restaurant; Scott as executive chef and Tanya as a pastry assistant. Three years later, they settled in Seattle, where she works as a pastry chef at Local360 and has her own business, Scarlet Nantes, where she sells wholesale macarons to coffee shops and retail for weddings and events, and often uses Perfect Purée to enhance what she calls the “heart” of her macarons.
For Tanya, The Perfect Purée of Napa Valley is ideal for giving macarons flawless natural flavor, customizable fillings, and vibrant colors. Deep purple Black Currant Purée, also known as cassis, is a European pastry staple and a favorite flavor of hers and protagonist of the recipe that we share below. “I like to make the Cassis (Black Currant) Buttercream first as the color from The Perfect Purée Black Currant Puree is what makes the wonderfully vibrant color of the buttercream. Then I match the shell with the color of the Cassis Buttercream, “she says in describing her process. “These finicky treats require a great deal of attention and it is such a pleasure to see their sweet, lacy feet rise then fill their centers with flavorful and unexpected fillings. I believe creativity, kindness, and high-quality ingredients make all the difference in pastry. ”
Cassis “Black Currant” Macaron
I like to make the Cassis (Black Currant Macaron) Butter Cream first as the color from The Purfect Puree Black Currant is what makes the wonderfully vibrant color of the buttercream. Then I match the shell with the color of the Cassis Butter Cream.
Makes About 1 1/2 cups enough to fill 12-18 macaron
- 112 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 150 g powdered sugar
- 40-50 g (3-4 tablespoons) Black Currant from the perfect puree at room temperature
In a bowl of a stand mixer, mix the butter and sugar on low until well combined. Add 1 Tablespoon at a time of the Purfect Puree Black Currant and mix on medium until fluffy. If the mixture seems loose add just a little more powdered sugar 1 TBS at a time.
Makes about 12-18 macaron
- 75 g almond flour
- 125 g powdered/confectioners sugar
- 62-68 g 2 egg whites
- 50 g superfine (caster) sugar
- Pinch of cream of tartar
- 1 drop purple and 1 drop red AmeriColor Gel Food Color or IndiaTree natural colors, add more until desired color is achieved using no more than 8 drops of food color total as this will increase the moisture in the macaron batter. Alternatively if you want to use vegan all natural products I use Vegan Organic Colors: Blue Butterfly pea powder, hibiscus powder and beet powder.
- Move the oven rack to the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 315°F.
- Clean and dry your mixer and whisk attachment by wiping the mixing bowl and whisk with vinegar or lemon juice to alleviate traces of residual fats from prior use, liquids and fats can deflate the egg whites.
- In a food processor, combine the almond flour and confectioners’ sugar, then process for about a minute until as fine as possible, without over processing as the almonds will release oils and start to clump. Pass this mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl or onto a piece of parchment paper. Discard any large pieces.
- In a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, combine the egg whites, cream of tartar, and superfine sugar. Beat slowly at first, then increase speed to medium, 2 minutes. Increase speed to medium-high, and beat for 2 minutes. Then beat on high 2 minutes more or until the mixture holds stiff, glossy peaks when you lift the whisk from the bowl.
- Add your desired food coloring one drop at a time and beat on the medium speed 30 seconds, being careful not to overmix. Remove the bowl and wire whisk. Gently add the dry ingredients to the whipped egg mixture. Fold in the dry ingredients just until the batter flows like lava, approximately 35 to 45 strokes.
- Rest a pastry bag, fitted with a 3/8-inch round (Ateco #804) tip and top folded over by a few inches, inside a glass or pitcher, tip-side down. Using a silicone spatula, transfer the batter to bag. Line two heavy baking sheet pans a silpat. If you do not have a silpat you can line the pans with parchment paper. To keep the parchment paper from lifting when piping the macaron circles, dab a little bit of the batter remaining in the bowl onto the corners of the baking sheets, then line them with parchment paper.
- With the piping tip 1/2 inch above one of the lined baking sheets, pipe some batter into a 1-inch round, then swirl tip off to one side. Repeat, spacing the rounds 1 inch apart.
- Tap sheets firmly against the counter 2 or 3 times to release air bubbles in the batter.
- Bake one sheet of macarons at a time, rotating halfway through, until risen and just set, about 13 minutes. Transfer the baking sheet to a rack and let cool completely.
- Once the macaron shells are cool pipe or spread approximately 1 tablespoon cassis buttercream on the flat sides of half of the cookies; top each filled sheet with one of the remaining macaron shells. Place all the macaron on a sheet tray, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate. The macaron will be best the next day after being in the refrigerated. Macaron are best eating with in two days.
- I used an ateco 806 french star tip to pipe the cassis buttercream in these photos.