When I was planning my North Festival menu a few weeks ago, I felt I was doing great until it came to dessert. Cloud Berries? Not hardly. Not around here at least. I was also not about to run across any birch syrup easily. I looked though all the recipes I could find, searching for something that would go along with the various other dishes I'd be serving. My only childhood run-in with a Danish dessert was those tins of Danish Butter cookies my mother would bring home from the dollar store that had a shelf life longer than the half life of uranium. Definitely not those. Then once again, Claus Meyer came to the rescue. The co-founder of the famous restaurant noma saved the day with a recipe that did not require my foraging in the Arctic. He had a very simple cookie, made of humble buckwheat. It spoke to me.
Buckwheat Macarons sounded like just what I was looking for. Rustic, earthy, not icky sweet and not too much for a dessert after a long meal. Plus, buckwheat, not really being wheat but a fruit seed related to rhubarb and sorrel is gluten free which meant no special dessert for my celiac friends. Something for everybody.
I have to say here that I have never ever in my life baked a macaron, though I've certainly eaten plenty of them. One of my very favorite places in Los Angeles where we've whiled away more than a few afternoons, is Jin Patisserie on Abbot Kinney in Venice.
It was always the perfect spot to sugar up before a pitch meeting or console oneself over the vagaries of a Hollywood writers life. They display their macarons in little jewel cases set in the wall. it's like Breakfast at Tiffanys if the breakfast was what was in the window.
Buckwheat Macarons With Chocolate Espresso Ganache
Here's What You Need:
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
2 cups of almond meal flour
6 egg whites
1/2 cup of superfine sugar (aks caster sugar)
4 3/4 cups of powdered sugar
8 oz semi sweet chocolate ( I used CocoaPlanet Espresso Chocolate)
1 cup whipping cream
1 Tbs unsalted butter
Here's What To Do:
Preheat the oven to 293 degrees.
Cover a cookie sheet with parchment or a silicone baking mat. Set it aside.
Bring your egg whites to room temperature. Always do that as they whip up better that way.
Put the room-temperature egg whites into a large deep bowl.
Set them aside.
Sift together the buckwheat flour, the powdered sugar and the almond meal flour.
Set it aside.
Whip the egg whites on medium speed until they start to get frothy.
Then gently add in the superfine sugar a bit at a time.
Do this until the egg whites are stiff and glossy.
Fold the buckwheat flour, almond flour and powdered sugar mixture into the egg whites a bit at a time.
Do this carefully.
Now here is where my macarons go primitive. Most sophisticated macaron makers will pipe their dainty little cookies onto a parchment or silicone covered baking sheet. Not I. I dropped them onto the cookie sheet in spoonfuls since I am a danger with a pastry bag. Trust me, I'm not kidding around here. You don't want me anywhere near a nozzle.
So drop those macarons on to the cookie sheet while attempting to make them fairly equal in size so they will fit together nicely when you have filled them.
Than pop them into the oven for about 15 minutes baking time.
When they are feeling firm to the touch on top and firm on the bottom with those cute little macaron feet, set them on a cooling rack.
While the macarons are cooling make your ganache.
Chop the chocolate into small chunks, place them in a heat-proof bowl and set them aside.
Bring the cream to just under a boil on the stove (about 190 degrees.)
Take the hot cream and pour it over the choclate then stir it all together until all the chocolate has melted. Stir in 1 Tbs of unsalted butter.
Mix everything together well and then pop it into the fridge to chill.
Chill the ganache has chilled to a firm and spreadable form. This usually takes a couple of hours, if it gets too firm don't worry just leave it set out for a bit and it will get back to the spreadable stage quickly.
Now it's time to play Match.com with your macarons.
Pair them up so that you have macarons of equal sizes.
These two look like they'd get along once filled with ganache. I mean. who wouldn't?
When the macarons have cooled and the ganache has gotten spreadable, fill the cookies and make them into sandwiches. Once filled, the macarons can be stored in an air tight container in the fridge over night to set. Or you can eat them sooner. No one's looking.
The cookies were good. Damn, they were real good. And I thought I couldn't bake macarons! I had planned on one macaron per person, but that's not how it worked out as the guests went looking for more. We ran out of them days ago and Alan is still looking hopefully into the fridge and every time some Tupperware pops he thinks he's getting a cookie. Pavlov move over. Coming up next, hay is not just for horses anymore get your lighters and follow along on Twitter @kathygori