Mangoes with saffron may sound like some alien UFO landed on Earth, but it’s a base for very popular indian dessert called Srikhand which if made with mangoes is called Amrakhand. Srikhand is made with strained yogurt, sugar and different flavors like cardamom, saffron and nuts. I am a huge fan of it but sometimes it’s inordinately sweet. This macaron was my attempt to capture that essence of srikhand into a bite size delight.
Using mango curd here so that I get that strong burst of tropical flavor along with little sourness from lime juice balancing the sweet macaron shells. Saffron works exceptionally well with mango adding a musky aroma with a little floral note. It takes a not so humble macaron to another level.
Saffron the most expensive spice works best when used sparingly. For someone who might not know saffron threads are stamen from purple crocus flower. These flowers bloom just once a year and each flower has three stamen which needs to be hand-picked. About 150 flowers are needed for 1 gram of saffron. As adulteration is very common it’s best to buy thread than powder from a reliable source. Saffron is used in many cuisines around the world in rice dishes from spanish paella to risotto and very popular in almost all the Indian dessert. The flavor is very difficult to describe, it is musky to little aromatic making your dish not only more flavorful but a nice yellow hue. Soak it in little warm milk or water before using and for its flavor to shine keep other stronger flavor at bay. Iranian saffron are considered cream of the crop but very difficult to source due to embargo restrictions but spanish coup variety is equally good and highly regulated. Along with food saffron is great infused in some gin, my favorite is in Bombay Sapphire or Hendricks. Have you ever used saffron, if so what’s your favorite way?
Recipe adapted from Bouchon Bakery
Makes: 50 macarons
- 45 grams egg white
- 100 grams + 20 grams granulated sugar
- 30 grams water
- 150 grams butter, room temperature and cut into 1/2 cubes
- 1/4 teaspoon saffron soaked in 1 tablespoon of milk
- 1 mango, chopped
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cut into 1/2 cubes
- 212 grams almond meal
- 212 grams confectioners’ sugar
- 82 and 90 grams egg whites, divided
- 236 grams granulated sugar, plus a pinch
- 158 grams water
- Few drops yellow color
- Put egg whites in the bowl of stand mixer with whisk attachment.
- Add 200 grams of sugar with water in a sauce pan over medium high heat, stir occasionally. Once temperature reaches 230°F, turn the mixer on medium speed. Slowly add the 45 grams of sugar and whip until egg whites are foamy. Once sugar syrup reaches 248°F, decrease the speed of mixer to medium low and slowly pour the syrup between the side of the bowl and whisk. Increase the speed to medium high and whisk for at least 15 minutes, until outside of bowl is room temperature.
- Decrease the speed to medium low again and start adding few pieces of butter at a time. If the mixture starts looking curdled increase the speed for 1 minute. Decrease speed and continue with butter. Once all the butter is incorporated add the saffron with milk and mix for a minute.
- The buttercream can be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days and in freezer for a month. Defrost overnight in fridge.
- Take the buttercream out of the fridge thirty minutes before you need to use it and place it in the bowl of a stand mixer. Allow it to soften and then mix on low-speed using paddle attachment, until it is the proper consistency.
Make mango curd
- Heat a saucepan with an inch of water.
- Process mango, sugar and lime juice in a food processor. Add egg yolks to puree and mix for 15 seconds.
- Strain the mixture into a bowl which can fit over the saucepan without touching the water. Cook the curd over simmering water until it is thick and registers 170°F, whisk continuously for an even cook.
- Scrape the curd into another bowl, whisk in the cold butter one cube at a time. Press a plastic wrap over so it does not form a skin. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Keeps well for 4 days. Use leftover like lemon curd like on toasted bread.
- These cookies are sandwiched together, so making them of equal size is important. I would recommend tracing circles using a small cookie cutter about 1 ¼ inch circle. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Carefully process almond flour in food processor to get fine meal. Sift it with powdered sugar three times. Put 82 grams of egg white and mix well using spatula. It will be stiff, set aside.
- Put 90 grams of egg white and pinch salt in very clean grease free bowl of stand mixer with whisk attachment.
- Over medium heat make syrup using 236 grams of granulated sugar and water. Once the syrup reaches 203°F start whisking the egg whites till it reaches soft peak on medium speed. Than lower the speed and keep whites moving.
- Once the syrup reaches 248°F, remove from heat. Slowly pour the mixture over egg white, whisking at medium speed. While pouring aim for space right between bowl and whisk. Continue whisking for about 5 minutes, till it forms stiff glossy peaks.
- Fold one-third meringue into the almond mixture using rubber spatula. Continue adding little at a time. Once you finish mixing all keep folding the mixture till you see ribbons forming when you lift your spatula. Add few drops of yellow color and mix properly. Avoid over mixing this batter, otherwise macarons won’t hold its shape.
- Transfer the mixture to the pastry bag with the ½-inch tip. Pipe out enough mixture to fill in the circle. Bake one tray at a time, for 9 to 12 minutes. As soon as you place the tray in oven, reduce temperature to 325°F. Repeat till you finish all the batter and preheat to 350°F again. Let cool completely on wire rack, carefully peel them.
Fill the macarons
- Put saffron buttercream to the pastry bag with ⅜ inch tip.
- Turn half of them over and pipe a ring of buttercream not touching the edges. Put little mango curd in center. Cover with another macaron shell and press gently. Repeat this with other macaron shells.
- Freeze the prepared macarons in freezer for at least 24 hours or up to 2 weeks. To eat defrost in refrigerator for 3 hours and bring to room temperature before eating.