Every year, when my Mum asks me to “bring something sweet” to our Mother’s Day celebrations, the little baking hamster wheel inside my head starts to go. Something sweet… something chocolatey for my mum, something delicate for the occasion. Thoughts of petit fours, and high tea dance in my head. The googling begins…
Chocolate tarts were an obvious choice – with their intense and true chocolate taste, and immense cuteness; they would be a hit. The only question in my head was to go with a shortcrust chocolate tart with a ganache filling, or a puff pastry tart with a creme patissiere filling (a chocolate Portuguese style tart). I ended up choosing the ganache type filling, as it honours the dark chocolate flavour intensely. I found this recipe on the sbs website, and the deal was done.
I wanted something lighter to contrast with the chocolate flavour. This was meant to cleanse the palate after a lovely lunch, after all. I have been watching a lot of “My Kitchen Rules”, and had the urge to do something a little bit fancy. I had always wanted to try macarons, but had assumed they would be overly time consuming, a bit hit-and-miss, and not worth the fuss. How would I know if my long-lived prejudice was true, if I never tried it?? I found this lovely recipe for raspberry macarons, a beautiful pink colour that would perfectly compliment the chocolate tarts and also give the whole affair a lovely Mother’s Day high tea feel. I could not find raspberry essence, an ingredient in both desserts, so I substituted rosewater essence in the macaron recipe. It worked beautifully for those who like rosewater – the flavour of Turkish Delight. This is a flavour which can divide people, but I knew that some members of my family like it, so I hoped that would be okay.
And the rest was history, really. The macarons took a little shorter to cook than the recipe said. About 10 minutes was perfect- they developed little macaron feet, without splitting. Much longer and the tops cracked. The recipe also made a lot more than it said – or I made them a lot smaller than intended. 3cm in diameter made about 50 macarons.
I slightly overcooked the chocolate tart base, too. Watch out, as “golden brown” is difficult to see in dark pastry. The time specified was pretty good, though. I ended up cutting out flower shapes from the pastry at about 2-3mm thick, and putting into mini-muffin tins to get the shape. This is a good way to make bulk amount of tartlets.
I hope all Mothers had a wonderful Mother’s Day and all were spoiled! Enjoy these little recipes, like me and my family did!
Oh, and the macarons were definitely worth it, and didn’t take very long at all!