Passover Recipes

French Macaroons

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Don't confuse these glorious, slightly chewy mouthfuls, made from a few simple ingredients, with the more common coconut macaroons most of us know.

Flavoring Variations

1/2 cup cocoa powder OR 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, or the seeds from 1 bean OR 2 teaspoons coffee extract or raspberry extract.

Filling Variations

First make the macarons. In a food processor combine the almond flour and confectioners' sugar and process until well combined, 90 seconds. Flavoring: If making chocolate macarons, add the cocoa powder to the blended mixture and stir. If making vanilla macarons with the vanilla bean, add the seeds. Pass the mixture through a fine sieve and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on high speed until they form soft peaks. Reduce the speed to low and slowly add the granulated sugar. Increase the speed to high and beat until stiff glossy peaks are formed, 90 seconds to 2 1/2 minutes. If using coffee or raspberry extract, and/or food coloring, add now. Add the almond flour mixture all at once and beat until the mixture is just well combined, about 10 seconds. Do not allow the mixture to get soupy. Check by dropping 1 teaspoon on a flat surface. The mixture should spread slightly, not thin out. Surface marks should dissolve into the batter. If the mixture doesn't spread at all, give it a few more stirs, and test again.

Transfer the mixture to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/4 -inch tip. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Anchor it at the corners with drops of the mixture. Pipe 1 1/2 – to 2- inch circles onto the paper. To do this easily, hold the bag at a 90- degree angle and squeeze it while keeping the tip stationary as the mixture spreads in a circle. Quickly lift the tip and form the next macaron. Let the macarons rest until their surfaces become dull and a crust forms, about 60 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 325° F. Bake the macarons until the tops are completely dry and the macarons come off the paper easily without any residue, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer the macarons while still on the paper to a countertop. Cool and remove from the paper. To fill the macarons, turn them flat side down and pair them by matching size. Place 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons of filling on the bottom half of each pair, cover with the top half, and press to form a sandwich. The filling should be visible. Repeat with the remaining macaron pairs. Refrigerate overnight and bring to room temperature before serving.

Chocolate Ganache

Grind the chocolate in a food processor. Place the cream in a small glass bowl and heat in the microwave for 30 seconds on high. Stir and heat for 30 seconds more. The cream should be very hot. Alternatively, heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat until hot, about 3 minutes. Add the chocolate and stir until melted and the mixture is well blended. Refrigerate, stirring every 15 minutes, until cool and the consistency of frosting is reached, about 60 minutes. If the ganache becomes too solid to spread, microwave it for 5 seconds and stir, or beat it in a bowl over hot water for about 30 seconds.

Lemon Curd

In a mini food processor combine the sugar and lemon zest and pulse until combined. Fill a small saucepan 2/3 full of water and bring to a simmer over medium heat. In a nonreactive bowl, combine the yolks, sugar and zest mixture, lemon juice and starch, place over but not touching the water, and whisk until it thickens to the consistency of a loose pudding, about 4 minutes. Remove the mixture from the heat and add the margarine, stirring to blend. Strain the mixture into a small bowl, cover with plastic wrap so it touches the top of the curd, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight.