Saffron Macarons with Cardamom White Chocolate Ganache

Recipe from What's For Lunch, Honey?  

Ingredients

For the saffron macaron shells

3 egg whites (approx. 90g), aged for at least 24 hours or a max of 5 days
200g icing sugar
110g  almonds, without skins 
1/2 tsp saffron strands, crushed
40g granulated sugar

For the cardamom white chocolate ganache

250g white chocolate, coarsely chopped
4 cardamom pods, cracked
100 ml cream

Method

For the saffron macaron shells

  1. Prepare your baking tray and baking sheets with a stencil of circles. Draw circles on some baking using a (mathematical) compass about 3.5 cm in diameter. Then place some white parchment paper on the baking tray and flip the baking paper back around.

  2. 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. Sprinkle in the crushed saffron strands, then gradually add the granulated sugar, whisking all the while, until the mixture turns into a thick glossy meringue. The consistency should be similar to hair mousse or shaving foam. Make sure the the meringue is not overbeaten or else it will be too dry.

  3. In a food processor pulse together icing sugar and almonds until the nuts are finely ground and powdery. Sift the mixture to make sure there are no lumps.

  4. Place the dry ingredients into a bowl. Add the meringue and give it a quick fold using the macronnage technique described in my macaron tips section. Fold 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 in 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. 

  5. Fill a piping bag with a plain tip with the batter and pipe small rounds (3.5 cm in diameter) on your prepared baking paper. Leave the macarons to rest and dry for about 30 - 45 minutes.

  6. In the meantime preheat the the oven to 140 degrees C. When the macarons are ready bake the shells for 10–15 minutes depending on their size. 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. 

Sticky Note 1 notes

Storing Macarons
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.

For the cardamom white chocolate ganache

  1. Place the cream and the cardamom in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and allow to stand for at least 20 minutes.

  2. Carefully reheat the cream and discard the cardamom pods.

  3. Slowly pour the cream into a bowl with the chopped chocolate, stirring to dissolve the chocolate. Continue stirring gently until all the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Allow to cool slightly. The ganache will thicken as it cools.

Assembling the macarons
Fill the cardamom white chocolate ganache in a plain tipped piping bag and pipe small dollops on one of the shells then gently cover with another. Do not press. Continue to do this until you have used up all of the filling and shells.

Food Guide Tips:
- Making perfect macarons – helpful tips and tricks

- Saffron – the Queen of Spices

- Cardamom – a sensational and versatile spice

- White Chocolate – decadent and rich