Lavender and honey macarons recipe
"Over the years I've lost track of the number of times that I've visited and travelled through France," said pastry chef Graham Hornigold.
"There's one particular trip that really sticks out in my mind though, as I was staying in the south of France and was hit by the wonderful smell of lavender which was in full bloom and seemed to be growing everywhere. If used correctly, it has a delicate scent and flavour which here I have married with the sweet taste of honey for balance."
Graham has created a wonderful recipe for lavender and honey macarons, to celebrate the partnership between Celebrity Cruises and Great British Chefs.
Ground almond base: 300g of ground almonds, 300g of icing sugar, 110g of egg white
Italian meringue base: 110g of egg white, 300g of caster sugar, 55ml of water, 1g of purple food colouring
Lavender and honey ganache: 155g of whipping cream, 2g of lavender, 62g of honey, 140g of 64% dark chocolate, 20g of trimoline, 56g of unsalted butter, softened
1. To make the macarons, begin with the ground almond base. Place all of the ingredients in the bowl of a food mixer and mix together to form a smooth paste. Set aside while making the Italian meringue.
2. Place the egg whites in a clean bowl of a standing mixer and start whisking on a low speed. Meanwhile, place 280g of the caster sugar and the water in a pan over a medium-high heat to create a syrup. Heat through until the syrup reaches 'soft ball' stage, or 118°C on a sugar thermometer.
3. As the thermometer reaches 105°C, add the final 20g of caster sugar to the whisking egg whites to help stabilise the meringue, increasing the speed of the mixer at the same time.
4. As soon as the sugar syrup reaches 118°C, reduce the speed of the mixer and slowly pour the hot syrup down the side of the bowl into the egg white mixture. Once all of the syrup has been added, increase the whisking speed again for one minute.
5. Add the purple food colouring and whisk gently until the meringue has turned an even colour and has cooled to blood temperature – it should be thick and fluffy.
6. Gently fold the Italian meringue into the almond base a third at a time, mixing gently with a spatula until each third is fully incorporated before adding the next.
7. When the mixture is smooth and shiny, transfer to a piping bag with a plain 1cm nozzle and pipe 4.5cm rounds onto baking trays lined with silicone paper. Set aside to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes to allow a dry skin to form.
8. Preheat the oven to 130°C/gas mark 1/2.
9. Once the macarons have dried, bake in the oven for 17–18 minutes – the discs should be just starting to peel off the paper. Allow to cool completely before filling.
10. To make the ganache filling, place the cream in a pan over a medium heat and bring to the boil. Take the pan off the heat, add the lavender then set aside to infuse for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, place the chocolate and trimoline in a blender.
11. Place the honey in a pan and cook over a medium heat until caramelised and gently smoking. Strain the infused cream into the hot honey (discarding the lavender) and bring the mixture to the boil.
12. Remove from the heat and pour the hot cream over the chocolate and trimoline in the blender. Leave for 30 seconds to start melting the chocolate then begin blending to create a smooth mixture.
13. Add the softened butter a little at a time, continuing to blend for at least another minute until glossy and smooth. Transfer to a piping bag and allow to cool and set before using.
14. When ready to assemble, pipe mounds of the ganache filling onto half of the discs then sandwich together with the remaining plain halves, pressing down gently so that the ganache just spreads to the edges.