segunda-feira, 28 de maio de 2012

Sesame, Flax, Sunflower, Pumpkin Seeds & Green Tea Macarons with Chocolate Ganache

We are crazy for nut based macarons, but when I tried my first nut free macaron, made out of dried coconut flakes, I got totally obsessed with the idea of trying other nut free possibilities. Nothing to say against nuts. They are super healthy and delicious and I am not allergic, but the possibility to make those beauties with "omega seeds" are just irresistible. I made these macarons with organic seeds from a mix of seeds that include sesame, flax, pumpkin and sunflower seeds. We sell the seed mix at our store. You have to process the seeds with some powdered sugar to make a very fine seed flour and you are ready to go. The good thing is that you can choose to use only the seeds you like.

This recipe is based on this recipe which is part of an entire series dedicated to nut free macarons.

Omega Seeds Mix & Matcha Macarons & Chocolate Filling

Based on this nut-free macaron recipe

I used Matcha, from Clearspring

100g mix of organic sesame, sunflower, pumpkin and linseeds (flax seeds)
200g organic confectioners sugar
1 Tbsp Japanese green tea pulver (known as: Matcha)
100g organic egg whites
50g organic unrefined sugar

Preheat the oven to 160°C. Prepare a large pastry bag or a good plastic bag that you can use to pipe the batter. If using a pastry bag make sure it is fitted with the small plain tip. Make sure to prepare the pans for the baking by lining them with parchment paper or silicone mats (which I don't have).

In a food processor grind the seeds with the confectioners sugar and the green tea powder until a very fine mixture starts to form. Sift the mixture and reserve the larger bits that did not pass through the sieve. You might have to do some extra processing and sifting until most of the mixture have passed through the sieve. You can relax if up to 2 tbsp of seeds did not pass through the sieve. Set them aside to sprinkle over the macarons before baking.

In a bowl combine the egg whites with the sugar and using a stand mixer or a hand mixer (it doesn't matter) whip the egg white until you get a very stiff and dry meringue.

Add the dry ingredients to the meringue. You can add all at once or in parts, since it doesn't matter, do as you like! Fold the mixture with a rubber spatula. Fold until the mixture has a homogeneous thick consistency. There must be not one single white meringue spot visible in the batter. Make a test with a little spoon to check the batter, if it flattens it is most probably good to go. If a peak is formed you might have to add some extra folds to the batter. Transfer the batter to the plastic bag or pastry bag and pipe into small circles, 2 to 3 cm diameter.

You can always draw the circles on the parchment before piping if you don't feel sure about the size. Give the circles some space between them so they will not stick to each other once they start to grow in the oven. Sprinkle the seed that didn't pass the sieve over the piped macarons.

Tips: To avoid those air bubbles you can rap the sheets over your kitchen counter top 2 or 3 times, to dismantle the air bubbles that can crack the domes of the macarons.

Bake for 12 minutes. Let them cool before removing from paper. Properly baked macarons don't stick to the paper so, if you want to check if they are done just try to remove the one of them, that one on the corner of the pan, near the oven door. If it comes out clean they are done. Let them cool completely to release the others from paper.

Dark Chocolate Ganache Filling

100g organic single or double cream or any other milk free cream
100g organic 60 to 75% dark chocolate, chopped

Lay the chocolate in a bowl and set aside. In pot over medium heat bring the cream to a boil. Add the cream to the chocolate and whisk until homogeneous. Let it cool and place it in a plastic bag. Tie the plastic bag with a rubber band, lay it in a bowl and refrigerate. You want to refrigerate the ganache enough to thicken it into a piping consistence, not more. So keep you eye on it.

Pipe 1/3 to 1/2 teaspoon of ganache on the bottom part of one macaron shell. Top with another macaron shell and press slightly to sandwich the two halves together. Place the sandwiched macarons in a air tight container. They will keep fresh to up to a week. Better eat them fresh. In my opinion freshly baked macarons have a better consistency.

quarta-feira, 22 de fevereiro de 2012

Arancia Rossa di Sicilia (Red Oranges of Sicily)

I am totally crazy for red oranges which I refuse to call blood orange. This is just a bad name. I call them simply red oranges because that's how they are called in Italy, where they come from. The color of those beauties are they high point of attraction, at least to me. I just can't resist them. Their flavor reminds me of laranja pera another species of oranges, typical of the State in Brazil where I grew up.

Most of the red oranges I find here in Norway are Tarocco species, from Sicily. It is also quite easy to find them organic in some of the best food stores in town. It is now also quite common to find some of the Spanish red oranges around the shops. I prefer the Italian ones not only because they are much sweeter but because they have the perfect shade of red. The Spanish are not as sweet and they are so dark that looks a little bit scary orange.

Besides having the highest vitamin C content among all the oranges produced in the World, Arancia Rossa di Sicilia (Red oranges of Sicily) have protected geographical status and are just the perfect red orange for desserts, salads and juices. The more sour ones are more suitable for marmelades and marinades.

I love to make red orange gelatin with freshly squeezed red orange juice or salad with organic black Greek Kalamata olives and some fresh organic oregano leaves. Simple taste better. Next post I will come with the red orange gelatin recipe. Tell me more about simple recipes...

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