Monday, December 19, 2011

Macaron Monday: Basil and Lime

Typically this would have been one that I saved for the summer, but we just so happened to have both basil and lime in our refrigerator. If I had any reservations, it was that these were not going to have enough lime taste to them. The lime we had was getting ready to check out, so I didn't have high hopes for its overall flavor. The basil was still pretty turgid, so I felt that if there was an imbalance in taste it was going to come from the lime.

As with most things the first time you try and make them, this was a learning experience. Let me explain.

This recipe called for sheets of gelatin - which we didn't have. We had the powdered stuff, but it's hardly one to one ratio between sheets and the powdered stuff. This is what I learned: If it calls for sheets - get sheets. If it calls for powder - get powder. Most anything you do as a substitute is going to be fairly inexact. Since it was a bit of a guess as to how much powder to actually use, there was a decidedly "thick springiness" to the filling. Not what I would call my favorite texture.

Splitting Italian method macaron batter
Highly inadvisable. It is very easy to weigh everything out and split up 50/50, it's not that big a deal. However, when you have one mixer to mix the meringue with, you end up trying to split a bowl of meringue between two bowls of mixed almond flour. The stuff is sticky and difficult to get out of the mixing bowl. Meanwhile you're trying to bust out a macaronage that can easily have too much or too little of the meringue. We came pretty close to 50/50 but, the egg whites were quickly losing their volume. Regina's batter was considerably fluffier and yielded more shells. Live and learn. Settle on a shell color and use it for the whole batch. Don't get cute like we did and try to split it in two.

Basil Quality
The basil flavor was completely lost in the taste of the filling. I think basil at this time of year just doesn't have a strong enough flavor to it. Get your hands on some really fresh and fragrant stuff, or just wait to make these until you can.

In the end this recipe had promise. The lime flavor was surprisingly strong. The basil was completely overpowered. I can't really say that I'd add more basil or reduce the lime, until I've had a chance to try making it with ingredients at their peak of ripeness. It never ceases to amaze me how much of a difference there is between herbs from mid-summer versus everything else.

Sorry, no link for the recipe in this post. I will, however, be happy to write up a modified version once summer hits. My guess is that some of the quantities are going to need adjusting to suit our own tastes. I'll let you know how it turns out.

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