Cherry Blossom Macarons

for Kinfolk Magazine, Mai 13, 2014

Delicate, fragile and truly beautiful.. it is funny how similiar the japanese Cherry Blossoms are to a petite Macaron.
With a ring of black sesame and a white Sakura filling, the soft shell of this delightful pastry melts in your mouth and reminds you of thousands and thousands of little blossoms, that are blowing over Japan, covering it in aquarel colored cherrysnow.
And since the very best treats, as well as the cherry blossom season is fleeting, here is a way to bring them home to you and keep it floral all year round:
For my „Everblooming Cherry Blossom Instruction“ you will need some thin, soakable paper ( this one worked perfectly), a pair of scissors and some watercolors in cherry tones, in which you dip the folded petals.
If you pin them on branches (be sure, that the blossoms are completely dried), you can open just some of them, day by day, and let it bloom little by little!

Sakura Macarons 
makes about 30 macarons

for the filling

200g white chocolate, finely chopped
120ml heavy cream
5 Tbsp (150g) crème fraîche
cherry blossom essence
black sesame seeds


for the shell

125g almond flour, sifted through a very fine sifter
125g plus 2 Tbs confectioners sugar
4 medium egg whites (90g)
125g granulated sugar
2 Tbsp water
food coloring (your favorite rose or violet tone)

Place the white chocolate in a medium bowl. Bring the cream to a boil over medium-high-heat in a small saucepan and pour it ver the chocolate. Allow the mixture to rest for about two minutes, then stir until the mixture is smooth and the white chocolate is completely melted. Allow to cool for about five minutes, then stir the crème fraîche and a few drops of cherry blossom essence. Cover the bowl with foil and refrigerate it until the mixture thickens.
Place the almond flour, confectioners´ sugar and half of the egg whites in a large bowl and stir with a rubber spatula until well combined. Place the remaining egg withes in a clean dry bowl and fit an electric mixer with the whisk attachment.
In a medium  saucepan, bring the sugar and water to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook until the syrup registers 113°C  on a candy thermometer, at which point you should start beating the whites on medium speed(they should reach soft peak consistency). When the syrup reaches 118°C, slowly and steadily pour it into the egg whites with the mixer still running. Continue beating until the egg whites turn into stiff, glossy peaks, about three minutes.
Using a rubber spatula, fold a third of of the meringue into the almond flour mixture until it is thoroughly combined. Gently fold in the remaining meringue. Add food coloring, folding in after each drop is added (a little goes a long way), until desired color is attained.
Fill a piping bag fitted with a number 10 pastry tip. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and use some of the batter to anchor the corners down to the sheet. Pipe small dollops of the macaron mixture onto the parchment. If you have small peaks on your shells, carefully tap the baking tray on your kitchen surface and they will disappear.
Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 165°C. If available, set the oven to convection. 
Allow the macarons to rest for 20 minutes to allow them to dry out a bit. To test them, carefully touch them with a fingertip; if they aren´t sticky, they are ready to bake.
Bake the macarons for six minutes, open the oven to allow excess steam to escape, rotate the baking sheet, then continue baking for additional six minutes. Transfer the baking sheet to a cooling rack and cool the macarons completely. 
To assemble, fill a piping bag with the white chocolate ganache and dollop a bit on the bottom (flat side) of half of the macarons, then sandwich the remaining halves on top. Roll the edges in black sesame seeds.
Although it is hard to resist, the filled macarons need to rest in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a full day before you eat them. If prepared this way, the moisture of the filling makes the shell as soft as it should be.