The latest Mactweets Challenge from Jamie and Deeba was to create a macaron around a seasonal fruit (or vegetable). I went with the fruit who is often perceived as a vegetable. Who can't get enough of fresh tomatoes when they are in season?
This year I grew different heirloom varieties on our NYC terrace as well as out at the weekend house but managed to still stalk other varieties at farmers markets. There is a stand walking distance from our house in Pennsylvania where they sell Jersey tomatoes. After a huge fight last weekend with the resident chipmunk who likes to sample my heirlooms (little stinker), I couldn't resist these local beauties and grabbed some with the intent of making tomato jam.
Rewind a bit to when I purchased some horseradish powder at my favorite local spice store and made macaron shells with it. They have been hanging out in my NYC freezer for some time patiently waiting their macturn. I designed the jam recipe with these shells in mind using tabasco and vodka to mimic a bloody mary cocktail. Bloody Mary macarons are not new. Zumbo and the fabulous Jill Colonna have all created versions but we've all interpreted them differently.
Adding a bit of celery on top of the filling finished off my macocktail. These were sweet and spicy delicious with a bit unexpected cool crunch.
For the Horseradish Macaron Shells:
I used the Tartelette's basic recipe. Use a kitchen scale for precise measurements.
For the Tomato Tabasco Vodka Jam:
- 3 egg whites - aged at least 2 days. Let them sit out on the counter uncovered.
- 25 grams of fine granulated sugar
- 200 grams of powdered sugar (minus 2 tablespoons)
- 2 tablespoons horseradish powder
- 110 Grams of almond flour*
*You can buy almond flour that has been ground with or without the skin. I use the later (blanched). The former looks really nice if you are not coloring the shells. You can also grind your own almond flour by putting whole or sliced almonds in a food processor or blender. If you do, make sure you throw a little of the powdered sugar in to prevent the almonds from forming a paste.
- Sift the powdered sugar, horseradish powder and almond flour together or pulse them together briefly in a food processor. Make sure there are no large pieces and set aside.
- Whip the egg whites. When they start to get foamy, slowly add the sugar. Continue whipping until you can turn the bowl upside down and nothing slides out. (I also add a pinch each of salt and cream of tartar)
- Add the powdered sugar/almond/horseradish powder mixture to the egg white mixture and fold, using quick strokes at first then slow down. No more than 50 strokes all together. The batter should have a "flowing like lava" consistency.
- Fill a Pastry bag and pipe circles onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or on a Silpat.
- Let the macarons dry for about one hour until they harden.
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees F
- Bake for 18-20 minutes.
- I keep the oven door propped open with a dish towel or wooden spoon. Try to refrain from obsessive peeping to see if they get feet.
- Let cool completely and then match up the shells into pairs according to size and fill with the tomato jam.
- 1 pound ripe tomatoes chopped into small pieces
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon Tabasco sauce
- 1/3 teaspoon chili powder
- Pinch cayenne pepper
- 1/4 cup vodka
- Place all the ingredients and bring to a boil.
- Turn heat down to low and simmer.
- When most of the juices are gone add vodka and simmer until the mixture is once again reduced.
- Cool completely.
- For a smoother consistency transfer to a food processor and pulse a few times.