Today is apparently Blue Monday.
If you’re anything like me, you’ll instantly think of the New Order song Blue Monday. You would, however be very wrong because Blue Monday is actually a mathematical calculation used to determine the most depressing day of the year. The factors taken into consideration seem to be the weather and the fact that none of us have any money because we spent it all at Christmas.
While I admit, January can be a bit bleak, I don’t find it that miserable. There’s still plenty of things to enjoy, snuggling up indoors to avoid the cold weather, drinking hot chocolate and working your way through the leftover Christmas food. Not to mention the fact that the first half of the year has a high proportion of Bank Holidays in the UK and I love free holiday from work. I’ve already booked my Easter Holiday – perhaps that’s the key, having things to look forward to and plan.
In recognition of Blue Monday, I decided to make Blueberry Macarons, partly because they were the only ingredient I could think of that is truly blue and also because there is a distinct lack of blueberry recipes on the blog.
These blueberry macarons have freeze-dried blueberry powder in the shells and they’re filled with an intense blueberry confiture (which is essentially French for jam) that is surrounded by a rich lemon ganache. Although I love salted caramel macarons, I think these might be my new favourite flavour. It doesn’t hurt that they look so photogenic either.
I used my usual Macaron recipe to make the shells, but the fillings came from William Curley’s book Patisserie.
- 200g Ground Almonds
- 200g Icing Sugar
- 50ml Water
- 175g Granulated Sugar
- 160g Egg Whites (about 3 eggs)
- 10g Freeze-dried Blueberry Powder
- ***Lemon Ganache***
- 125g Milk Chocolate (35% Cocoa), chopped
- 125g Dark Chocolate (65% Cocoa), chopped
- 200ml Whipping Cream
- 100ml Lemon Juice
- 25g Butter, at room temperature
- ***Blueberry Confiture***
- 75g Blueberry Puree
- 75g Blueberries (frozen are fine)
- 60g Caster Sugar
- 10g Pectin
- 5ml Lemon Juice
- ***Lemon Ganache***
- Place the chocolate in a bowl that is big enough to fit the cream in to. Place the cream in a saucepan and bring it to the boil. Pour the boiling cream onto the chocolate and stir until the chocolate is fully combined with the cream and melted.
- Add the lemon juice to the ganache and stir fully, then add the butter until it's fully mixed. Leave the ganache somewhere to cool to room temperature, don't be tempted to put the ganache in the fridge as you're going to want to pipe it later.
- ***Blueberry Confiture***
- Put the blueberry puree, blueberries and 40g sugar in a saucepan and bring to the boil.
- Combine the pectin with 20g of the sugar and mix thoroughly, add this to the fruit, along with the lemon juice and keep stirring until the fruit reaches 104C.
- Pour the confiture into two sterilised jars and leave to cool.
- ***Macaron Shells***
- Preheat the oven to 170C Fan and line four baking trays with baking parchment. You can use these macaron sheets as a guide when piping out 4cm circles.
- Add the water and sugar to a pan and stir over a medium heat until the sugar dissolves.
- Put half of the egg whites into a stand mixer and whisk them on a medium speed until frothy.
- Bring the syrup to a boil and heat until it reaches 118 degrees.
- Pour the syrup in a slow steady stream into the egg whites as they are being whipped on a high speed. Keep whipping until the meringue forms a stiff peak, about 5mins.
- Grind the ground almonds and icing sugar together in a food processor and then sift them into a clean bowl, add the freeze-dried blueberry powder too.
- Add the remaining egg whites to this mix and beat it, until it forms a paste.
- Add a third of the meringue to the almond paste and beat it in thoroughly.
- Fold through the remaining meringue, ensure the ingredients are mixed thoroughly.
- Put the macaron mix into a piping bag and pipe out 48 macarons.
- Tap the bottom of the tray to remove any bumps or air pockets, then put the macarons in the oven for 12-14 mins per tray. Turn the trays halfway through cooking to ensure an even bake.
- Let the cooked macarons cool completely before trying to remove them from the tray.
- ***To Assemble***
- Pair up similar shaped macaron shells. With your chocolate ganache in a piping bag fitted with a 1cm straight nozzle, pipe rings of ganache around the outside of the shell. Take some of the confiture and spoon a small blob inside the ring that you have piped.
- Place a macaron on top and sandwich them together. Leave for at least 20mins or overnight if possible as the macarons will taste even better when they soften a little.
To help soften the blow of Blue Monday, the team over at Wayfair have very kindly donated £100 of Wayfair vouchers for you to spend on anything you like on their site. That should help make January a bit less miserable for you.
Thanks for reading.