For me, orange blossom water and pistachios evoke the exotic colours, scents and flavours of Middle Eastern cuisine. But what is orange blossom water? It is the distilled water that contains the essential oils of the orange blossom. It is used in savoury and sweet dishes alike, and a little goes a long way. You can pick orange blossom water at middle eastern grocery stores, as well as gourmet food stores. I picked mine up at a health food store here in Sydney.
Here is a simple, beautiful recipe to make these macarons with a slight middle eastern twist :) I have adapted this recipe from The AWW: Macaroons & Biscuits book.
1/3 c unsalted roasted pistachios
3 aged eggwhites (I left mine out in a bowl covered with clingfilm overnight)
1/4 c (55g) caster sugar
green food colouring
1 1/4 (200g) icing sugar
3/4 c (90g) ground almonds
1 tbsp icing sugar, extra
1/4 c pouring (pure) cream
150g white chocolate, finely chopped
1 tsp orange blossom water*
* The original recipe calls for 4 tsp, however I used 2 tsp and felt the flavour was still slightly too floral. Next time I will half it to 1 tsp for a more subtle flavour. You could always add a little more if you wanted the orange blossom flavour to be stronger.
1. Lightly grease heavy oven trays and line with baking paper. Combine the ground almonds and icing sugar in a food processor and pulse briefly, then sieve twice and set aside in a bowl.
2. Process pistachios until finely ground. Sift and discard any remaining course bits, then set aside.
3. Beat eggwhites with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Add caster sugar a teaspoon at a time along with a few drops of the colouring. Beat until the sugar dissolves and the eggwhites are thick and glossy.
4. Fold in 1/4 c of the ground pistachios and then the icing sugar and ground almonds in 2 batches. The mixture should 'flow like magma', which means it should slide slowly down the side of the bowl when you tip it.
5. Spoon mixture into a piping bag fitted with a 1 cm plain nozzle. Pipe 4cm rounds about 2cm apart onto trays. Tap trays on bench so macarons spread lightly.
6. Dust macarons with extra sifted icing sugar and sprinkle with a little of the remaining grounds pistachios (as much or as little as you like). Stand 30 minutes, or until you can touch them lightly without any batter sticking to your finger. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 150 degrees celsius.
7. Bake around 12-15 minutes. Keep an eye on the macarons and remove them before they start developing any golden colour on the edges. Cool on trays.
8. To make the filling heat the cream in a small saucepan, removing it from the heat just before it reaches boiling point. Pour the cream over the white chocolate in a small, heatproof bowl. Sit for about a minute and then stir until smooth. Sit until the ganache thickens to spreadble butter-like consistency then stir in the orange blossom water.
9. Sandwich the macarons with the filling, and enjoy!
So there you have it - a little bit of luxury mid-week! :)