As I mentioned in my Seasons of Rosie post last week, although January may be long and dark, there is still lots to enjoy about this time of year – Winter’s plentiful, non-Christmassy celebrations being one of them. Chinese New Year is next Saturday and before that is Burns Night on Wednesday. Last year I made a cranachan cake as a twist on the traditional Scottish dessert, and the year before was a cranachan cheesecake. This year I’ve gone a step further and after a little kitchen experimentation, came up with a recipe for cranachan macarons: whisky and honey-infused cream and raspberry curd sandwiched between macaron shells decorated with a wee sprinkling of granola. The freshness of the raspberry cuts through the mascarpone cream (you could use the more traditional crowdie if you like!) and the shells are airy light, making this a less rich, infinitely less naughty take on the expected Burns Night offerings – and just one or two of these will hit the spot. To make the shells, you will need:
150g icing sugar
75g ground almonds
2 large egg whites
30g caster sugar.
Whisk the egg whites and a pinch of salt in a stand mixer until you have stiff peaks.
While the eggs are whisking, blitz the icing sugar and ground almonds in a food processor to combine.
You should keep going until you have a fine powder.
Once your egg whites have stiff peaks, continue whisking on a slow speed and add the caster sugar steadily.
Beat a little more until the mixture looks smooth and glossy.
Gently fold in the dry ingredients with a metal spoon, making sure you work gently so you don’t knock out too much air.
Keep going until there are no dry patches – you will be left with quite a sloppy mixture. Transfer to a piping bag with a medium-sized plain nozzle (I find filling mine in a large tumbler helps if you don’t have spare hands around).
Pipe small, 3cm circles of the mixture onto a baking sheet (I used a macaron tray from Lakeland for guidance, but parchment with circles drawn on with space between them is fine!). Tap the tray sharply on your kitchen surface a few times to get rid of any air bubbles. Top with a sprinkling of granola or toasted oats. My raspberries caught a bit (though still tasted nice!) so I would add these part way through cooking maybe, or not at all. The granola worked well however!
Leave for 30 minutes or so to dry out a little and form a skin. Preheat the oven to 170C/ 150C Fan/ Gas 3. If you use a silicone tray, make sure you put it on a metal one to preheat too, and cook them on top of this. The macarons are ready to go in when you can touch the surface without leaving fingerprints. Bake for 12 minutes on the middle shelf. Leave to cool on the tray once ready.
Meanwhile, make the curd. You will need:
25g unsalted butter
38g caster sugar
38g mashed raspberries (I used frozen)
One egg yolk.
Put the butter, raspberries and sugar into a heatproof bowl over a pan of gently simmering water and heat until the sugar and butter dissolve. Patience is key here!
Once dissolved, whisk in the egg yolk and continue to cook gently until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. It will thicken further on cooling.
Pour into a small bowl and allow to cool, covered with clingfilm touching the surface to prevent a skin forming. Once sufficiently cool, pop into the fridge to set.
Next, make the whisky and honey cream. You will need:
35ml double cream
10g honey (wildflower or heather honey works really well here).
Lightly whisk the mascarpone, cream, whisky and honey until the mixture thickens and there are no lumps. Scoop into a piping bag and leave to firm up a little in the fridge.
Meanwhile, gently remove the macarons from their tray ready for filling.
Pipe a ring of whisky cream, making sure you leave a gap in the middle for the curd and another wee gap at the sides so the filling doesn’t slop out. Dollop a half teaspoonful of curd in the middle.
Sandwich another shell on top and serve! Best eaten as soon as you fill them, or they will go soggy – but you can keep the filling in the fridge for a few days, and the shells in an airtight container to fill later.
How are you celebrating Burns Night? What are you making this weekend?
Macaron shell (quantities and method) adapted from ‘The Skinny French Kitchen’ by Harry Eastwood; raspberry curd adapted from this website; whisky honey cream of my own invention!