Last week I purchased the Ladurée Sucré desserts book and I've been totally smitten ever since. One recipe from the "Large Cakes" section caught my eye immediately. Harmonie. It is less cake-like and more like a giant pistachio macaron. If I understand correctly, this dessert is usually made in single servings (bigger than a normal macaron and smaller than a cake) however, the author has adapted a 10-inch version for the book.
The macaron recipe was much different than mine, and I was nervous when the text didn't give any visual cues on how the batter should appear when properly folded. My instinct was to scrap Ladurée's recipe and make my well-practiced one. Then I had a moment of introspection. When did sticking to something comfortable ever result in learning something new or bettering yourself? Okay then.
I went by the book, and look. It worked!
I call this version Harmonie Chantilly, because I didn't make the pistachio mousse filling (terrible, I know). With wedding shower preparations and an impending trip, I simply ran out of time -and steam. I opted for a simple creme Chantilly and I used more than necessary. When has that ever been a bad idea?
I also made the overall dessert smaller. This one is a 7-inch cake and I had plenty of leftover batter to make three dozen macaron shells.
I have a couple of Tennessee book signings scheduled in July! If you're in the area, I'd love for you to come see me! I know it's more than a month away, but if you think you'll attend, tell me here because I want to bring enough dessert for everyone. That's right - get your sweet tooth ready! (Details/locations at link above.)
In addition to dessert, I wanted to give a little something extra. My favorite printer in all the land, MOO, is supplying gorgeous picture postcards of treats from the book. I've been hooked on their products ever since ordering these business cards last January. They are of the highest quality and you'll know that the minute you have them in your hands. The postcards are no different and I am so thrilled with how they translated my photographs into their printings. I can't wait to hand them out and I just might frame one or two!
|Glassine bakery bags and washi tape packaging; Biscuit helped.|
Adapted from Laduree Sucre, yield: one 10-inch cake,
or one 7-inch cake and 3 dozen macaron shells
[click for printable version]
Notes: Although cups are listed, I used and recommend using a kitchen scale for this recipe.
1 1/2 cups / 150 g ground almonds (almond flour)
2/3 cup / 75 g shelled raw pistachios
1 3/4 cup/210 g confectioners sugar
5 egg whites + 1 egg white
3/4 cup + 2 tbsp / 175g granulated sugar
a few drops of green food coloring
- Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and draw a 10-inch diameter circle on each.
- Combine the ground almonds, pistachios and confectioner's sugar in a food processor and pulse to obtain a fine powder; Sift or strain through a sieve to remove any lumps or coarse pieces of nut.
- In a clean dry bowl, whisk the 5 egg whites to a foam. Once hey are frothy, ad a third of the granulated sugar and whip for another minute; finally add the remaining granulated sugar and whip for 1 more minute. Heather's note: Egg whites should be whipped until a thick, shiny meringue forms - this will probably take longer than the suggested 1 minute. It did for me.
- Using a rubber spatula, delicately fold the sifted mixture of ground almonds, pistachios and confectioner's sugar into the whipped egg whites. In a separate small bowl beat the remaining 1 egg white until very frothy. Add to the final mixture, along with a few drops of green food coloring, folding gently to loosen the batter. Heather's note: The batter is done when it falls in a ribbon from your spatula, as explained in previous recipes.
- Transfer the mixture to a piping bag fitted with a plain tip. On one of the baking sheets, pipe a neat ring of macaron batter, following the drawn circle, which will serve as the border of the cake. On the other prepared baking sheet, pipe a disk of batter in a spiral, filling in the drawn circle.
- Preheat oven to 325.
- Allow the piped batter to rest uncovered for 15 minutes. Bake the macaron ring for approximately 15 minutes and the disk for 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. Do not try to remove the macaron ring from the baking sheet when it is still warm - it will break!
2 1/2 cups prepared creme Chantilly (freshly whipped cream)
2 3/4 cups / 400g strawberries
3/4 cup / 100 g raspberries
1 tsp ground pistachios for sprinkling
- Place the macaron disk upside down on a serving platter. Transfer Chantilly cream to a piping bag fitted with a large star tip. Pipe cream in onto the disk. Carefully remove the macaron ring from the baking sheet and place on the cream. Pipe stars of chantilly cream around the outside of the macaron disk.
- Slice the strawberries in half lengthwise and arrange in a decorative pattern in the center. Top with raspberries. Sprinkle ground pistachios over the berries.