During the holiday weekend, I was invited to a Seder. I gladly offered to bring dessert, but little did I know how many restrictions there are during the Passover holiday. This was not my first Seder, but previously I had not had the responsibility for making dessert. Instead, I simply took it upon myself to drink the four required glasses of wine and to eat a large amount of food.
Since the Seder normally has multiple courses, I decided that I would make a light dessert. My first idea was to make macaroons. Classic French macaroons are made with ground almonds, sugar and egg whites and are often sandwiched with either an almond filling, a flavoured butter cream or chocolate ganache. I thought I would make different flavours of macaroons by using various types of ground nuts in the batter. The three types I chose were hazelnuts, pecans and walnuts. I enjoy these three, and they are amazingly versatile in baking. I also had never before experienced hazelnuts, pecans and walnuts in macaroons. Each produced lovely cookies that highlighted their delicious flavours. To compliment the macaroons, I made a roasted almond ice cream.
*Note: If you want these macaroons to be kosher for Passover, you need to substitute the icing sugar for a kosher for Passover version. Kosher for Passover icing sugar can be made by pulverizing 1 cup of granulated sugar with 1 Tbsp of potato starch in a food processor. I have found, though, that you may taste a little potato starch flavour in the Kosher icing sugar.
100g icing sugar
100g ground almonds (With each type of macaroon, I substituted 100g of its particular nut. When I ground the nuts in a food processor, I found it helpful to add the icing sugar for a finer grind.)
35g egg whites
70g granulated sugar
35g egg whites
Makes approximately 60 cookies – 30 cookies when filled and sandwiched.
1. mix icing sugar, ground nut and egg whites in a mixer w/ a paddle until incorporated. set aside.
2. in a thick bottomed pot, bring granulated sugar and water to a boil, 107ºC – 110ºC (like an Italian meringue)
3. whip egg whites with a whisk attachment to medium peaks and add sugar and water mixture. whip until mixture cools to body temp.
4. fold the nut mixture with the meringue until incorporated. do not fold too much.
• add a little colour to make pastel coloured macaroons.
• pipe out dots, roughly the size of a loonie (3cm) in diameter
• it is helpful to let macaroons sit for 15 minutes after piping, so that the mixture can settle before placing in the oven; this results in a macaroon with a nice foot
Bake at 160ºC for approximately 15 minutes in a double pan.
If you want to sandwich these cookies…
80g almond paste
mix together until fully incorporated and soft, pipe neatly into French macaroons.
roasted almond ice cream:
1 cup cream
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
5 egg yolks
150g roasted almonds
Makes approximately 500ml
1. roast almonds in the oven at 350ºF for 5 to 10 minutes.
2. boil cream and roasted almonds, let simmer and then sit for 30 minutes.
3. in another small pot, add milk and half the sugar and bring to a boil. In a small bowl, mix sugar and egg yolks. Then temper egg yolks with a small portion of the heated milk. Once tempered, add the rest of the egg mixture into the milk and bring mixture up to 85ºC or until it coats the back of a wooden spoon.
4. let the mixture cool and then add in the cream and roasted nuts. Let the mixture sit in the refrigerator over night or until completely cool, at least two hours.
5. put the mixture through a fine sieve. process in an ice cream maker.