When creating my macaron flavours I am inspired by what grows around me, by French tradition and by challenge. But what inspires me the most is creating exquisite, wonderful tasting macarons that provides the eater with what Debbie Palmer described so eloquently as that ‘macaron moment’.
What has always inspired my baking, even before I discovered the macaron, was using local and seasonal ingredients. And what’s more I love food for free – whether that be food we have grown ourselves, food we have foraged or food that we have begged from our friend’s gardens or ‘scrumped’ from deserted, long neglected orchards.
Blackberries make the most wonderful intense fruity jam/jelly that when added to buttercream creates an amazing pink colour. Absolutely no need to add any artificial flavour or colour. And with a secret centre of pure jelly it really packs a punch on the flavour front.
But you know I love all the classic French flavours too- particularly pistachio and vanilla. For the pistachio I use Whynut 100% pistachio paste – this gives the most wonderful nutty flavour and again produces a vibrant natural colour when added to the buttercream.
For my vanilla macaron I use Ndali – it’s Fairtrade and organic and the vanilla pods are plump, juicy and ooze that heady intoxicating smell of vanilla. Its just stunning to bake with.
I am also up for a challenge too. When my friend presented me with a bottle of Yuzu Mitsu (a lime and honey cordial) from his trip to Japan I just knew I had to create a Yuzu Mitsu macaron and I chose black sesame as its accompanying ingredient. It is, to date, the most complex macaron, in terms of the flavour, that I have ever created. My friend Becky Cakes said “First a sesame hit followed by a lime zing and a then the growing warm honey flavour followed by a gentler lingering sesame taste- fabulous”.
So my macaron inspiration is about creating something extra special to delight the eater. I can’t think of a better job.