My first truly memorable encounter with passionfruit happened on the island of Oahu, in Hawaii, where the local Hawaiians call the fruit Lilikoi. The lilikoi is grown on the islands and is able to be consumed much closer to the vine than it would be in the contiguous states (if you can find it at all). The fruit is floral, yet not overpoweringly so, and has a very satisfying balance of nectar like sweetness and puckering sour. While the fruits themselves are relatively nondescript, the flowers from which they bloom are strikingly gorgeous - a mirror of how delicious the precious fruits actually are.
Previously, if you were not living in Hawaii or New Zealand, or another island where the fruits grow indigenously, passionfruit flavor was extremely difficult to come by. That harsh reality has been valiantly challenged by the incredibly talented chefs at Valrhona. Valrhona, the french chocolate company has miraculously distilled the wonderfully complex flavor that is passionfruit, down into perfectly shaped 'fèves', which are chocolate-chip-killing bursts of melty chocolate goodness that can be used for anything from truffle making and cake baking to just plain late night snacking. These people should be awarded. While the couverture chocolate is formally called 'Passionfruit Inspiration', the flavor is definitely indicative of a successful attempt to capture the true breadth and experience of passionfruit...this isn't just a faint hint of delicious, it's the real deal.
I dreamt up a number of recipes to create in order to highlight the nature of this encapsulated passionfruit flavor, but the first that I shall release to you is this one. Passionfruit Macarons, because I did not want to, in any way, cover up or mask the transcendental experience that is had when this passionfruit chocolate is first tasted. Please enjoy these classic french meringue cookies, with whispers of toasted almond and that all important burst of ethereal flavor that I just can't stop talking about.
TIPS, TRICKS & FAQs
- Silpat vs Parchment Paper - Ah the age old debate. This one's pretty easy. A silicon mat will yield much more consistent macarons, making it easier for the infamous macaron 'feet' to develop. While it is absolutely fine to use, parchment paper can cause a number of issues to arise, such as your cookies flying away in the oven, over baking, or developing hollow/lopsided shells. In the interest of sustainability and ease, I use dedicated silpats for my macarons, which are easily picked up on Amazon for far cheaper than you would pay at your local kitchen supply store.
- Do I need a stand mixer to make macarons? - Usually I advocate for mixing/whipping by hand, but achieving stiff peaks manually can turn off even the most seasoned of bakers. It can be done, but an electric hand or stand mixer definitely speeds up the process. A great electric hand mixer, which is easier to use and clean than a stand mixer, can be had for about $50 on Amazon. I suggest investing in a good stand mixer (this one's only $199 from Amazon!) if you can, it'll only help save your arms.
- How do I pipe perfect macarons every time? The secret to almost perfectly circle macarons every time is a macaron piping template. You simply insert the template under the silpat or parchment paper sheet before piping, and remove it before baking. You can download my free 1.5" (4 cm) macaron piping template here.
- How do I do macaronage? If you didn't already know, macaronage, is the process of folding the tant pour tant (almond flour and powdered sugar mixture), into the whipped egg white meringue. I have included a video (from @zoebakes on Instagram!) down below of the whole macaron making process, from start to finish.
- How do macarons 'mature'? - Simply put, macarons mature when the moisture from the filling migrates or seeps into the crispy almond meringue cookie shells. This completely changes the texture of the cookie from hard crunch to satisfying bite. It is not imperative, but I definitely wouldn't skip it when trying to make the perfect batch.
- How do I store macarons? - Great question! If they last this long (I mean, they're pretty delicious), macarons can be safely refrigerated for up to two days and frozen for about a month. They should be stored in an airtight container and you should always let them come up to room temperature before serving (so that maximum flavor can ensue).
- I don't have passionfruit flavored chocolate - While most people probably don't have plentiful amounts of Valrhona lying around, it can be found online, here. If this chocolate is not in the budget right now, you can simply substitute the 4 oz of cream in my ganache recipe for 2 oz of heavy cream and 2 oz of passionfruit purée or juice. Simply heat the cream and passionfruit juice together, and make the ganache the exact same way.
- What size piping tip should I use for macarons - A small round piping tip is one of the key things to use when making macarons. I use the #12 tip, by Wilton, or the #808 tip by Ateco, both available on Amazon for a couple of dollars.
By: Scott Smith
Ingredients (for the shells)
- 150 grams powdered/confectioners sugar
- 125 grams blanched almond flour
- 100 grams cold egg whites (about 3 large eggs)
- 100 grams white sugar
- 3 drops yellow food coloring (optional)
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
Ingredients (for the passionfruit ganache)
- 6 oz Valrhona Passionfruit Inspiration Couverture Chocolate
- 4 oz heavy cream
- 1/2 oz unsalted butter (1 tbsp)
If you don't have Valrhona's Passionfruit Inspiration Chocolate, make the ganache like this
- 6 oz good white chocolate
- 2 oz heavy cream
- 2 oz passionfruit juice or purée
- 1/2 oz unsalted butter (1 tbsp)
Directions (for the shells)
- Line a baking sheet with a silicon mat or a sheet of parchment paper. Optionally, add a macaron piping template. Set aside.
- Thouroughly combine the confectioners sugar and almond flour in a grease-free bowl, set aside.
- Add the egg whites and salt to the bowl of a stand mixer and begin mixing on low speed.
- When the egg whites have become foamy (about 1 minute 30 seconds), add one third of the sugar, and increase speed to medium.
- When the mixture has become white and glossy (1 more minute), add half of the remaning white sugar and increase speed to medium high.
- After medium peaks have formed, add all of the sugar that is left, and turn the mixer speed to high.
- After mixing for 1 minute, turn off the mixer and add the food coloring (if you are using it).
- Whip the egg whites on high for one last minute, or until stiff peaks have formed and and the meringue stands up straight when the whisk attachment is removed from the mixer.
- Gently transfer all of the almond flour and powdered sugar mixture into the mixing bowl wih the meringue.
- Using a spatula, slowly fold the dry mix into the meringue, taking care not to remove too much air from the egg whites.
- After around 40 to 50 folds, your macaron batter should resemble a very thick waffle or pancake batter, and should fall off of your spatula in ribbons.
- Add your macaron batter to a piping bag fitted with a small round tip. Begin piping the macarons no closer than 1/2" apart.
- When you have piped all of the macaron batter, gently tap your sheet pan on the counter/bench a few times to release any air bubbles.
- Set macarons aside in a dry, room temperature area, where they will need to set up for 30 minutes.
- While the macarons are drying, preheat your oven to 330℉(165℃), and begin making the ganache.
- When the thirty minutes are up, the macarons should've developed a leather-like skin, that does not come off on your fingers when touched very slightly. Put your macarons in the oven (preferably on a middle shelf), and bake for 10 minutes. Avoid opening the oven so that the macarons can develop feet. The macarons are done when they do not jiggle when touched softly from the top.
- After cooling the macarons and matching up shells of similar sizes, fill each macaron with about a teaspoon of the cooled ganache.
- You're done! Your macarons can be served immediately or 'matured' in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.
Directions (for the passionfruit ganache)
- Heat the cream in a small saucepan or microwave safe bowl, until it is very warm, but not hot (it should not be boiling). This will take about 30-45 seconds in the microwave or just over a minute on the stovetop.
- Pour the warm cream over the chocolate and let it sit for 3 to 5 minutes or until the chocolate begins to melt. Begin stirring/whisking to combine the cream and chocolate, adding the butter along the way. The ganache is done when you can no longer see any streaks of cream or chocolate.
- Allow the ganache to cool and set up in the fridge, about 1 and a half to 2 hours.