Green Thai Curry Macarons

Macarons are one of the more fashionable patisserie items to make at the minute. Not to be confused with the coconut-chocolate biscuit that is the English macaroon, these biscuits are made from a very light and airy dough made up of almond flour and egg whites. There’s not a lot of flavour from the biscuits themselves, so usually they are filled with a butter cream of some sort. The filling is piped in the night before, which allows the biscuit to absorb a little, creating a softer, smoother texture. Creativity and taste aside, another lure of macarons is that they are quite tricky to make, despite the ingredients being relatively simple. Macarons have their characteristic ‘pieds’, or ‘feet’, a mythical part of the cooking process, caused by a combination of egg white rising, and surface tension of the dough. Particularly important is to get the macarons to have perfectly formed feet- if you don’t get the feet, or the feet aren’t even all the way around, you lose marks for presentation. However, I think macarons can definitely be made well, domestically. You’ll need a bit of kit- piping bag, nozzle, pastry scraper (and an electric mixer helps)- but once you have these, the recipe is that not that complicated (a bit like making a cake or biscuits), it’s just a little fiddly.

So when I was planning the appetiser course for a dinner party recently, I fancied trying to make a savoury macaron. I’ve seen recipes for savoury macarons in fancy cookbooks- beetroot and horseradish, bloody mary, or asparagus- and fancied that something like this would make a fun appetiser. The flavours had to go with almond, as you don’t want to mess with the magic formula for the base biscuits, which led me to curry of some sort. Out of curries I thought could be used here, a green thai curry worked best, and finding a recipe with different coloured top and bottom macarons sealed the deal.

Interesting for me too was the food-wine pairing. What wine do you pair with a savoury curry sweet almondy macaron? A lot of people will say that you want to pair a dry Riesling with a curry, but I’ve never been sold on the pairing, as I think there are too many flavours present. Instead, I wanted something a little more neutral, but still with good acidity, a light body, and light flavours, so that the cacophony of tastes in the macaron could shine through. I went with a Torrontés, a native Argentinian white. It worked wonderfully- plenty of zip, light, and when we picked up notes of lemongrass, I knew that had hit the spot. I think Torrontés would be a great wine for curry in general, so if you are able to source a bottle, give it a try, the strong food-wine pairing added a lot to the meal.

Overall the green thai curry macarons actually worked pretty well- much better than I was expecting. The almondy and sugarry sweetness, spicy lime and basil curry, and acidic and floral wine somehow balanced each other out, all tugging on the taste buds about equally. But I would definitely make the same macarons again. A really fun course to make, but quite challenging and complex at the same time.

Green Thai Curry Macarons

Recipe for macarons taken from Mad about Macarons. Measurements should be as exact as possible. Makes around 12 green thai curry macarons. You could make, say, red thai curry macarons, or tikka massala macarons in a very similar manner.

Ingredients:
150g egg whites (aged 4-5 days)
100g caster sugar
180g ground almonds
270g icing sugar
Red and green food colourings
50g butter
2tsbp fresh basil
zest 1 lime
5g cornflour
1/2 beaten egg
50g coconut milk
2tsp green thai curry paste

Recipe:
1. Make the macaron dough.Whisk the egg whites until firm peaks, gradually adding the sugar as you do so. Put in enough food colouring until you get a rich pink (note the almond colour will take some of this away). Sift the almonds into a large bowl, add the icing sugar, then fold in the whipped egg whites. Split the dough into two equal portions, then add the different food colourings to each.
2. Work and pipe the dough.With a pastry scraper (or spatula if you don’t have one), work the dough to press out some of the oxygen from the whites. Scrape the mixture into a piping bag with a plain nozzle (1cm around tip). Line two baking trays with baking sheets, then pipe your macarons onto the sheet.
3. Cook the macarons. Preheat the oven to 160ºC, and bake for around 15 minutes. There is quite a fine point when they are done, so get to know your oven and adjust cooking times slightly if necessary. Leave to cool on the sheet, then slowly (as they are delicate) peel them off.
4. Make the filling. Cream the butter and mix in the fresh basil and lime. In a another bowl, combine the cornflour and beaten egg. Heat the coconut milk over a medium heat in a saucepan until boiling, then add the cornflour and egg mixture. Whisk constantly until the mixture has thickened to coat the back of a spoon. Leave to cool.
5. Make the macarons. When the filling is cool, pipe it onto the macarons. Leave in a fridge for as long as you can (ideally overnight) for the texture to develop.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Fourteen-Course Dinner Parties « oxfood
  2. Trackback: Cookbook Recommendations « oxfood

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