I’m continuing in my quest to create new and exciting macaron flavours, and, once again, taking my cue from something else. I’ve made rose macarons before, but for these ones I wanted actual Turkish Delight to feature. The recipe I used for the Turkish Delight was halved (because that’s all I needed for this project) and slightly adapted from about.com and it is a beauty. As for the shells, they are standard Italian meringue method ones but with a portion of the almonds replaced with pistachios. They are a bit softer than an all-almond shell, though, because of the higher oil content of the pistachios.
If you want to make Turkish Delight just to eat, use a square or rectangular baking dish, about 20 x 20cm (8 x 8″) heavily coated with non-stick spray to set it overnight, cut it into cubes with an oiled knife and pack the pieces in plenty of powdered sugar.
400g (2 cups) granulated (white) sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
540ml (2 1/4 cups) water, divided
80g (1/2 cup + 2 tbsp) cornstarch
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
2 tsp rosewater
a few drops pink gel or pinch pink powder food colouring
powdered (confectioner’s) sugar for dipping cookie cutter
Place the granulated sugar, lemon juice and 180ml (3/4 cup) of the water in a medium heavy-based saucepan over medium-low heat. Heat until the sugar dissolves, then increase the heat to medium and bring the mixture to a boil. I don’t stir at all to avoid getting sugar on the sides of the pot, but if necessary, you can brush down the sides of the pot with a wet pastry brush. Do not stir at all once it starts boiling, though. Insert a candy thermometer.
Allow the sugar mixture to continue boiling, without stirring, until it reaches 115°C (240°F) – soft ball stage – on the candy thermometer.
When the sugar syrup is around 107°C (225°F), get the other part prepared. Place the remaining 360ml (1 1/2 cups) of water in a medium-large heavy-based saucepan. Add the cornstarch and cream of tartar and whisk until the cornstarch dissolves completely. Place the saucepan over medium heat and bring the mixture to a boil, whisking constantly. The mixture will become thick and pasty.
Once the sugar syrup is at 115°C (240°F), remove it from the heat. Very slowly and carefully pour it into the cornstarch mixture, whisking constantly until it is fully combined.
Reduce the heat to low and let it bubble, whisking it every 8-10 minutes, for about an hour, until the mixture has turned a light golden-yellow colour and is very thick and gluey.
After an hour, remove from the heat and whisk in the food colouring and the rosewater. Pour onto a silicon mat and spread with a silicon spatula to about 1/2cm (1/5″) and allow it to set, uncovered, for about three hours.
90g ground almonds
50g unsalted pistachio kernels (peeled, if you can get them)
140g powdered (confectioner’s) sugar
100g egg white (from approx. large 3 eggs), room temperature, divided 50/50
100g granulated (white) sugar
a few drops green gel or pinch pink powder food colouring (optional)
Prepare 2 parchment lined baking sheets.
Mix the ground almonds, pistachios and powdered sugar together then grind in batches in a food processor until you have an extra fine texture.
Sift into a large bowl, re-grinding any bigger pieces of nut.
Add 50g egg whites and mix thoroughly into the nut mixture. Set aside.
In another bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the other 50g egg whites to stiff peaks.
Meanwhile, put the granulated sugar and water into a small saucepan and heat without stirring on medium-low to 118°C (245°F) – firm ball stage.
While whisking the egg white constantly on low speed (to avoid splashing hot syrup), slowly add the cooked sugar mixture to the beaten egg whites, pouring it down the inside edge of the bowl. Whisk at high speed until the mixture is cool, about 3 minutes. Add the desired amount of green gel or powder colouring just before the end. The mixture should increase in volume and become firm and shiny – you should get a beak when you lift the whisk.
Scrape the meringue onto the almond mixture and incorporate with a rubber or silicone spatula until you have a homogenous batter that runs from the spatula in a thick ribbon. This batter will get thin far more quickly than an almond one because of the high oil content of the pistachios, so watch it carefully.
Transfer the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a 7 – 9mm (1/4 – 1/3″) plain tip (this is best done in two batches, so you don’t overfill the bag). Pipe 60 equally sized rounds, about 4cm (1 1/2″), in staggered rows onto the prepared sheets. Hold the piping bag upright with the tip just above the sheet and pipe without pulling upwards or swirling in circles, so the batter comes out in a round blob around the tip, and give a little sideways flick at the end to break the stream.
Tap the baking sheets firmly on the bench several times to release air bubbles and obtain a smooth surface. Leave to rest at room temperature for at least 20 minutes, until a slight skin forms.
Meanwhile, preheat oven (bottom heat only) to 150°C (300°F).
Bake the macarons for 18 minutes, one sheet at a time, on the middle shelf, turning the sheet half-way.
Remove from oven and remove the parchment from the tray with the shells still on it and place on a cooling rack for at least 30 minutes, until completely cool, then remove macaron shells carefully from the parchment.
When ready to fill your macarons, use a 4cm (1 1/2″) cookie cutter, frequently dipped in powdered sugar, to cut the Turkish Delight into 30 discs – they are quite sticky but not difficult to handle. Sandwich the Turkish Delight disc between two macaron shells each. The extra bits can be packed in powdered sugar either to eat or to use elsewhere, for example, dice them up and add them to ice cream or cake filling or frosting.
Store macarons in an airtight container at room temperature to mature for 24 hours before eating.