Early spring is when all my orchids go in bloom. I simply adore them and they seem to adore me: they’re the only flowers I’ve been able to grow in my house, probably because they need so little care and watering :) I discovered that the more relaxed and confident I am in relation to their care, the better they feel; it must be the same with macarons- I’ve come to believe that, more than technique, one simply needs to take charge of them and stop believing in any superstition or myth related to macaron-making.
Preheat the oven to 130C and line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
Grind the walnuts and almonds in a processor, then add the powdered sugar until fine. Sift the almond meal-powdered sugar mixture through a sieve.
Whip the egg whites until frothy, then gradually add granulated sugar 1 tablespoon at a time until fully incorporated. Continue to beat the egg white mixture until glossy and stiff. Gently stir in the blood orange zest, orange blossom water and food colouring. Be careful to not overbeat the meringue.
Add the sifted almond mixture, and gently fold it into the meringue using a spatula. Lift from the bottom, up around the sides, and toward the middle, then deflate it against the sides of the bowl and repeat the motion. The right texture is lava-like, when the batter slowly and continuously drips back into the bowl when you scoop it up with the spatula. Keep checking for the right consistency and make sure no to overmix.
Pour batter into a pastry bag fitted with a round tip and pipe 1-inch circles on the parchment paper (baking sheets). Sprinkle with raw cocoa nibs.
Holding the baking sheet in both hands, tap each baking sheet firmly on the counter two or three times. Allow the piped macarons to dry, uncovered, for at least 30 minutes. The macarons should form a very thin, smooth crust where, if you tap it lightly with your finger, the batter will not stick to your finger. Do not bake if the crust is not formed, just wait for a little bit longer.
Place both baking sheets in the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes. Let cool on baking sheet and remove only when completely cooled.
For the curd
Place the orange zest and juice, sugar and butter into a heatproof bowl. Sit the bowl over a pan of simmering water, making sure the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl. Stir occasionally until all is melted.
Add the whisked eggs to the mixture and stir vigorously until all ingredients are combined, making sure not to cook the eggs. Leave to cook until it thickens (about 10 minutes), stirring occasionally. Set aside and let cool completely.
For the cream
Whip the cream until thick. Add a couple of tbs orange curd (or more if necessary), incorporate well and fill the macarons with this cream.
Since it’s the season of blood oranges, I couldn’t help myself but crave for a flavourful, citrusy, fresh and colourful macaron made with blood oranges, walnuts and raw cocoa nibs. Yeah, walnuts, cuz almonds are so yesterday.