Rose macarons. Made with actual roses, the flowers. This was my highest ambition when back in the summer last year I made a rose petal preserve. My mom suggested mixing it with strawberry jam and using that as a pie or brioche filling. She draws her inspiration from the Polish tradition of using rose petals in baked goods. As we experimented with the fragrant flowers, my mind was racing in the opposite direction, conjuring up the thought of rose macarons.
It took me quite some time before I got to turn my macaron ambitions into actual macarons, but some time later I finally made it happen. I would like to underline how pleased I was to notice that my rose preserve was actually living up to my expectations and was really preserving well. I had been storing it airtight in the fridge for months when I finally got to use it for the rose macarons and it had not spoiled nor lost its flavour.
Here’s my rose petal preserve recipe.
So you may wonder how the heck out of all the macaron flavors out there did I end up thinking of this. Well I have a love-hate relationship with macarons. I don’t particularly like them as much as many people do. I think they’re a little on the overrated side, but this is my humble opinion. But man do I love a good challenge, and making macarons truly is one. One I happily take up from time to time.
Now the thing about macarons is that they’re quite difficult to make. They require time and precision, stuff needs to be measured to the gram and temperatures to the degree. I have made them three times now and all of the times I was left with the impression that my success rate was 90%. They look nice in the end, but they’re never perfect. Many end up leaning on one side and I always blame it on my oven, far from being a professional one. Their overall looks once assembled, though, always makes up for the excessive strictness of my judgement. They’re not Ladurée material but they’re pretty anyway. Still, I’m always 10% disappointed. A love-hate relationship, indeed.
Back to my summer days when I was producing tiny jars of rose petals in sugar and dreaming of using them in macarons. To make rose macarons. Not rosewater macarons, only flavoured with rose water. Not even raspberry macarons, a common filling to rosewater macarons – and a pairing that would very much affiliate with my mom’s suggestions to combine rose petals with a red berry jam. I wanted to make plain macarons and fill them with my rose preserve. Simple macarons, with a faded pink tone, and a rose buttercream filling.
For the macaron recipe I turned to the one I have used in the past, gently provided by a dear friend of mine. So here comes something new, my rose preserve macaron filling made with home-made rose petals in sugar.
Rose preserve buttercream recipe
- 60 g salted butter
- 40 g vegan butter
- 50 g icing sugar
- 2 1/2 tsp rose preserve (rose petals in sugar)
Please notice that the butters need to be at room temperature. Combine both butters and the icing sugar. Cream with a hand mixer at medium speed until nicely combined. Then add the rose petal preserve. I started with one teaspoon, mixed it in, then added the rest, to make sure it blends in well. Bonus point: this rose preserve, made with deep pink rose petals, works great as natural food colouring turning the buttercream a lovely shade of pink! Pipe this filling onto a macaron shell and sandwich it with another shell. Voilà.
The choice of butters may sound peculiar, but there is a reason behind this. I didn’t want to use only regular butter as I didn’t want to have the peculiar flavour of cow milk’s butter to dominate. Vegan butter has a more neutral flavour, still providing the fat content and texture needed. The choice of salted butter may seem peculiar, but it actually proved smart. Macarons are incredibly sweet. This is why I like them better when they have a flavour that contrasts the sweetness of the shells. Dark chocolate, coffee or lemon, for example. In a sweet filling that hint of salt really balances the flavours helping to avoid the risk of producing a dessert that will only turn out to be sickening sweet to many.
Every time I offer macarons I always feel conscious about their little imperfections. They never quite come out as perfect as I expect them to. But then I get to share them around and everyone is usually so impressed that they never really care. No matter how imperfect home-made macarons baked in a house oven can be, everyone will always be pretty impressed with them.
Because macarons are a difficult business. If you choose to embark in such an adventure you deserve all the compliments you get.