What is Holi without Thandai? I have the fondest memories of Holi – The Festival of Color, in my hometown Mumbai. In anticipation of the festival, we kids in the building would make plans and strategies on who and how we want to attack with the powder colors, who we want to get wet with water balloons and pichkaris (which are essentially water pumps).
Holi was a festival where we had potlucks in the building, where every household made different foods to eat. There was Thandai – which is essentially a cold milk beverage, made with thandai paste. The Thandai paste is made with a mixture of nuts like almonds, cashews, pistachios, and spices like fennel, black peppercorn, poppy seeds, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, saffron and also rose petals. A paste is made by adding a bit of water.
The paste is then added to milk, and marinated to get the beautiful Thandai flavor and served as a drink. It is many a times spiked as well with alcohol to make it even better ;).
Thandai is one of my favorite ingredients, and you can find many recipes on my blog that are Thandai based like:
I did not realize I had so many Thandai recipes on my blog!
I had this idea to create Holi Thandai Macarons last year but I never got around to them. So I am sharing this lovely creation this year.
Macaron Shells are made with basically few ingredients:
Almond Flour: Use Bob’s Red Mill Super Fine Almond Flour for best results!
Confectioner’s Sugar: Almond flour and confectioner’s sugar are ground together as the first step always.
Egg Whites: I have seen recipes that use cold egg whites, however i have always used room temperature egg whites.
Cream of Tartar: This is used to stabilize the meringue.
Granulated Sugar: This is used to make the meringue as well, in conjunction with the egg whites.
Vanilla Extract or in this case Rose Water: I use a tad bit to add flavor to the shells.
Some tips for the macarons:
Always ensure that you sift the almond flour and the confectioner’s sugar, atleast 4-5 times, and discard the bigger pieces that are left behind in the sifting process.
Whip the egg whites, cream of tartar and sugar for about 5 minutes in total, and ensure that when you turn the whisk, there are stiff peaks formed for the meringue. Do not over whip.
Bang the tray atleast 10 times for the macs to settle, and no bubbles to form on the top.
Always let it set for atleast 40 minutes.
If you are not decorating the macs on the same day, lay them on the tray and cover with a plastic wrap, so no air goes into the macs and hardens them. This will ensure that the center remains chewy.
HOW DO I GET THE TIE-DYE DESIGN?
The macarons are my standard macaron recipe. To get the tie-dye effect on the macarons, I did the following.
Once I make the macaron batter, I take the 16 inch piping bag with the piping tip, place it in a tall glass jar.
I use a fan brush like this, and add a color, along the length of the inside of the bag. I repeat the same with different colors, all around the bag in stripes.
Once you start piping, the first few macarons will have no color. As the batter moves down the bag, you will notice the tie-dye color on the macarons. It is almost like a fun surprise to see what colors will come next.
For the ganache, add the thandai powder to the heavy cream and set the cream to boil in a pot. Add the hot cream to the melted white chocolate, and using an immersion blender, emulsify the mixture. Set the ganache on a small baking tray, in the fridge for atleast 4 to 6 hours. Your ganache is ready.
In a microwaveable bowl, add the white chocolate and microwave in 30 second increments upto 1.5 minutes. Use a rubber spatula to almost smoothen out the mixture.
Meanwhile in a small pot, on medium to low heat, add the heavy cream, Thandai masala and the light corn syrup for a minute or two until there are tiny bubbles at the edge. Strain the mixture, press on the masala to extract as much cream as possible. Add more to make it 80 grams.
Add hot cream to the chocolate, and mix to combine. Add the vanilla and mix to combine.
Add the mixture to a tall jar, and using a hand blender, blend the ganache to emulsify for around 1 to 2 minutes. The mixture will look smooth and homogenous.
Pour the mixture onto a ⅛ baking tray. Spread it with a rubber spatula. Cover with a plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
FOR THE MACARON SHELLS:
1. Preheat the oven to 310 degrees. Line baking sheets with the paper templates, and top with the parchment paper, or you could use silpat.
2. In a bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, pulse 1/2 of the confectioner's sugar with the almond flour until a fine powder is formed. Transfer mixture to a mixing bowl and mix in the remaining confectioner’s sugar. Using a drum sieve, sift mixture four times into a large bowl. Set aside.
3. To make the meringue: In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip whites and cream of tartar on medium speed until foamy. Gradually add granulated sugar. Once all the sugar is incorporated and the mixture is thick, scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the vanilla extract and rose water and increase the speed to high, whipping until stiff, firm, glossy peaks form for atleast 5 to 6 minutes. You can remove and turn the whisk and the meringue should hold.
4. To complete the macaronnage step: Sift the almond flour mixture, one-third at a time, over the egg white mixture, and fold using a large spatula until the mixture is smooth and shiny. Once all the almond flour mixture is incorporated, check for the correct consistency, the batter should be firm, have a glossy shine and drip smoothly from the spatula. Make sure that the entire almond mixture is incorporated. Take in the batter with your spatula and press it against the bowl in the same motion to remove the air from the batter. This step is very important. If you over whip the batter will be too runny so do not over whip. It should flow like lava, slowly but form ribbons.
5. Place a drop of each color on a plate. In a pastry bag fitted with a ⅓ inch round tip, using a fan brush, take one color and holding the pastry bag in one hand with the mouth wide open, brush the color lengthwise across the piping bag, from the bottom to the top. Repeat the same for the other colors, around the piping bag to form streaks of color.
6. Transfer the batter to the bag carefully, by placing the bag in a tall glass. Seal the top and pipe 1 1/3 inch rounds on parchment-lined baking sheets, by gently pressing on the piping bag. You will see the first few will not have much color, but then you will start seeing the color patterns on the macaron shells. Gentle tap each sheet on the work surface to release trapped air. Do this step atleast 10 times. If they have a tip, gently pat it down with your wet finger. Let stand at room temperature for 30-40 minutes atleast. Check for a slight crust to form on the macaron. The macarons should not stick to your finger when lightly touched.
7. Bake one sheet at a time, rotating halfway through, until macarons are crisp and firm, about 16 minutes.
8. Allow macarons to cool on the baking sheets for 30 minutes and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before filling.
Mix the strawberry jam with the rose water and place it in a piping bag. Set it aside.
Add the ganache to a piping bag with the #802 piping tip. Set it aside.
Pair the macaron shells, such that the pair is the same size.
On the flat size of one macaron, gently pipe a ring of ganache around the rim, leaving space towards the outside of the macaron.
Add a dollop of jam in the middle. Cover with another macaron, of the pair. Gently press to seal.
Repeat for all other macarons.
Store in an airtight container outside if cold, and in the fridge if you are in a hot climate, upto a week.