Happy pre-Cinco de Mayo everyone!
To bypass the “mini” history lesson, scroll down to: “OK, now for the fun part!”
I wanted to share just a little bit of history for those that may be unfamiliar with the origins of this holiday.
Contrary to popular belief, this holiday is not a major holiday in Mexico, it is mainly only celebrated or observed in the state of Puebla. Unlike September 16th Mexico’s Independance Day, which is the biggest patriotic holiday in Mexico. Cinco de Mayo conmemorates the victory over the French during the Battle of Puebla. Here in the US and in other parts of the world, this day is seen as a day to celebrate Mexican Culture and Heritage.
OK, now for the fun part!
We all know very well there is no better way to celebrate a holiday than with a little F & B (food & beverage) right?
So…….. I made these just for you, a little F & B rolled into one. Enjoy!
Orange-Lime Margarita Macarons
Orange-Lime Macaron Shells
90 grams aged egg whites (roughly 3 egg whites)
25 grams granulated sugar
200 grams powdered sugar
70 grams blanched almonds
40 grams ground pine nuts (pignolias)
1 teaspoon grated orange peel
1 teaspoon grated key lime peel
Place the powdered sugar, almonds, and pine nuts in a food processor and give them a good pulse until the nuts are finely ground. Sift a couple of time to remove bits and pieces. Regrind if necessary.
Once your nuts, and powdered sugar are mixed together, rub them in between your fingertips to break the bigger pieces.
In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites to a foam, (think bubble bath foam) gradually add the sugar until you obtain a glossy meringue (think shaving cream). Do not overbeat your meringue or it will be too dry.
Add the dry ingredients to the meringue, give it a quick fold to break some of the air and then fold the mass carefully until you obtain a batter that falls back on itself after counting to 10. Give quick strokes at first to break the mass and slow down. The whole process should not take more than 50 strokes. Test a small amount on a plate: if the tops flattens on its own you are good to go. If there is a small beak, give the batter a couple of turns.
Fill a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip (Ateco #807 or #809) with the batter and pipe small rounds (1.5 inches in diameter) onto parchment paper or silicone mats lined baking sheets. Let the macarons sit out for 30 minutes to an hour to harden their shells a bit.
If using convection: preheat the oven to 280F. If using regular electric or gas, preheat the oven to 300F.
When ready, bake for 18 to 20 minutes, depending on their size. Let cool
4 ounces unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sifted confectioner’s sugar
1 tablespoon tequila sauza gold
1/2 teaspoon cointreau
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon orange zest
1/4 teaspoon key lime zest
In a standing mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, mix together sugar and butter. Mix on low speed until well blended and then increase speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and mix until incorporated.
Separate the egg whites from the yolks and place the whites in a clean bowl. Leave out at room temperature, uncovered or loosely covered with a towel for 24-48 hours. At this point the whites can be refrigerated for up to 5 days. Bring egg whites to room temperature before making the macaron shells.
Pipe macarons onto shells, top and refrigerate. Remove macarons from refrigerator 1 hour before serving.