Mango-Hibiscus Macarons – MacAttack V
Posted by osakaben41 on March 9, 2010
That time again, when folks start inexplicably making Macarons again. MacAttack V is upon us, now with instructions to bake something floral, something bespeaking of the glory of spring, something to get us through the cruel taunting New England March that takes us from shorts and spf 50 to snow-pants and wind chapped cheeks from one day to the next.
Rather than try to shape macs like a daisy (wow is that hard), or serve them on ‘stems‘ (though this is something to come back to later), I wanted to revisit my earlier failure with hibiscus. That time I ground up dried flowers as finely as I could (not fine enough it turned out), added them to the dry ingredients and went from there. As I’m starting to learn, the shells will almost always taste of almond though, so how best to get a hibiscus flavor in there?
Enter chef Migoya who has a number of tapioca components in his “Frozen Desserts”. Having virtually no tapioca experience though (either eaten or cooked), we charge ahead anyway. Apparently it’s just a matter of soaking the pearls overnight, then simmer in tea, rinse, simmer, rinse, etc. until they’re no longer white or opaque. Then it’s another process of rinsing in cold water, steep in more tea, rinse, steep etc. until they don’t stick together too much. What I’m getting at here is the bucket of cold tea you need before starting this process.
Migoya has in the same book, and unrelated to tapioca, a very simple chilled hibiscus soup that I intended to use in place of the tea. However after running the numbers, I would have needed about 5 more bags of dried flowers. Undeterred, to get the color, I went with some Red Zinger for the simmer, rinse, steep phase, than added the chilled soup to the finished pearls to get them to the right consistency. The soup recipe also gets us a handful of poached hisbiscus flowers that were easy enough to brush with egg whites, cover in sugar and turn into candied flowers for a garnish. Before moving on from here, I have to say, the soup itself though is fantastic, closer to a flowery dessert sauce than something you’d eat with crusty bread, but I’m holding onto the 1/8 cup left-over hoping to use it in something soon.
The shells got a tsp and 1/2 of Mango powder that I found online. I tried something similar with cherry powder last month with weak results. At this point though, I’m giving up on the powders, at least for macarons. I think the stuff is best for frosting or in a sauce, but not really made for baking. Not much mango flavor survived the oven. To get something ‘mano-y’ on the plate then, I simply ran one over a mandoline and wrapped thin slices into a Mango Rose garnish.
As for lessons learned this time, I’ll say this about tapioca, particularly the sticky kind. Just because you can mound it higher than you could with ganache, doesn’t make it any less likely to shoot out all over your hands when you take that first bite. Moderation in all things.
Just for further poops and giggles though, and with extra hibiscus soup on hand, I ripped out some quick white chocolate hibiscus ganache. The soup already had a good amount of sugar in it, so the end result may have been a bit too sweet, even for a chocolate filling. Other than that, the flavor just didn’t come through as strong as I would have hoped. More chocolate than hibiscus. Not bad, but not nearly as unique as I was hoping for.
So thanks again to the team at MacTweets. Can’t wait for the roundup on March 20th, the official and soon to be much more widely celebrated ‘National Macaron Day’.