I’ll fess up – these were meant to be macarons, but I got the jitters and just couldn’t seem to get them right! My first batch looked like this:
Not so bad on the left, until I tried to peel them off the parchment. Hm. At least they had feet, but they’re not much use when the rest of the macaron shatters like sugar glass when you try to pick them up.
With my second try, I turned the oven down even lower, which left me with more stable meringues but not a foot in sight. However, they were still adorable, and had a nice subtle taste of green tea which is exactly what I wanted. I’d have liked more colour to them, though, so next time I’ll add some more and try to balance the green tea flavour out somehow. A little stronger would have been alright, because once you add the sweet frosting to the centre you lose a lot of the sencha bitterness. Something to play around with, now that I have a nice big bag of green tea powder! I got it from a company called Cream Supplies, who sell all kinds of fascinating things, some of which I also bought while I was there… I’m hoping to try out one of their molecular gastronomy kits this weekend, I’ll make sure to take plenty of snaps. They do molecular gastronomy equipment from simple and affordable to professional standard, and many different teas and coffees, including the full range Drink Me Chai, one flavour of which I reviewed just recently. In fact they sell so many different and wonderful things that I can’t really cover it all here. They deliver next day as long as you order before 4pm, which is an excellent service, and it’s a great place to go for gift ideas. They are in no way encouraging me to write this post, I was just really impressed by the range and the service. We will now return to the scheduled blog post.
Now, I have just realised that I can’t find my green tea meringue notes. Did I even keep any notes? I can’t say. I do know that I mixed ground almonds, caster sugar (I think this was a mistake, should have gone to the shops for icing sugar) and green tea powder together in one bowl, whisked up some egg whites and more sugar in another, then combined them before piping on to a baking sheet and baking in a low oven until set but not dried out. The chewy bit in the middle is important.
The filling for these is another dairy free buttercream, using dairy free margarine and considerable amounts of icing sugar to make a thick, sweet frosting. To the plain buttercream I added lemon zest and my new favourite thing, candied sesame seeds. These were so easy to make, but added loads of surprising flavour and texture to the meringues. To candy sesame seeds, put 2 tbsp each of sesame seeds, granulated sugar and water in a frying pan, and place over a medium heat until the sugar starts to melt. Mix them, still over the heat, until the sugar is completely transformed into caramel and the sesame seeds are all jumbled up in sticky sesame-caramel hugs.
Take off the heat and break apart into chunks with a spatula, then add to whatever you are making – how good would this be through popcorn? Heck yes.
I added the sesame to the lemony buttercream then used it to sandwich pairs of the little meringues together, like so:
Some of the meringues are still a bit crackly on the top but since I’m making this recipe up, I get to say that’s how they’re supposed to look. Just one more benefit of writing a food blog.
These were for a birthday party, and so I ran out of time to take photos and had to work with the light that we had when I got there. You can catch a glimpse of some of the other amazing party food in the background here.
Why is tiny food so great?