Pastry chef Graham Hornigold was inspired by his travels in southern France to create these vibrant lavender macarons, as he says: 'Over the years I've lost track of the number of times that I've visited and travelled through France. There's one particular trip that really sticks out in my mind though, as I was staying in the south of France and was hit by the wonderful smell of lavender which was in full bloom and seemed to be growing everywhere. If used correctly, it has a delicate scent and flavour which here I have married with the sweet taste of honey for balance.'
Graham Hornigold’s expert pastry skills have been refined in some of the best restaurants and hotels in London. As Executive Pastry Chef of Hakkasan Group, he brings a delicate, refreshing touch to their restaurants’ dessert menus.
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To make the macarons, begin with the ground almond base. Place all of the ingredients in the bowl of a food mixer and mix together to form a smooth paste. Set aside while making the Italian meringue
300g of ground almonds
300g of icing sugar
110g of egg white
Place the egg whites in a clean bowl of a standing mixer and start whisking on a low speed
110g of egg white
Meanwhile, place 280g of the caster sugar and the water in a pan over a medium-high heat to create a syrup. Heat through until the syrup reaches 'soft ball' stage, or 118°C on a sugar thermometer
280g of caster sugar
55ml of water
As the thermometer reaches 105°C, add the final 20g of caster sugar to the whisking egg whites to help stabilise the meringue, increasing the speed of the mixer at the same time
20g of caster sugar
As soon as the sugar syrup reaches 118°C, reduce the speed of the mixer and slowly pour the hot syrup down the side of the bowl into the egg white mixture. Once all of the syrup has been added, increase the whisking speed again for 1 minute
Add the purple food colouring and whisk gently until the meringue has turned an even colour and has cooled to blood temperature – it should be thick and fluffy
1g of purple food colouring
Gently fold the Italian meringue into the almond base a third at a time, mixing gently with a spatula until each third is fully incorporated before adding the next
When the mixture is smooth and shiny, transfer to a piping bag with a plain 1cm nozzle and pipe 4.5cm rounds onto baking trays lined with silicone paper. Set aside to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes to allow a dry skin to form
Preheat the oven to 130°C/gas mark 1/2
Once the macarons have dried, bake in the oven for 17–18 minutes – the discs should be just starting to peel off the paper. Allow to cool completely before filling
To make the ganache filling, place the cream in a pan over a medium heat and bring to the boil. Take the pan off the heat, add the lavender then set aside to infuse for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, place the chocolate and trimoline in a blender
155g of whipping cream
2g of lavender
140g of 64% dark chocolate
20g of trimoline
Place the honey in a pan and cook over a medium heat until caramelised and gently smoking. Strain the infused cream into the hot honey (discarding the lavender) and bring the mixture to the boil
62g of honey
Remove from the heat and pour the hot cream over the chocolate and trimoline in the blender. Leave for 30 seconds to start melting the chocolate then begin blending to create a smooth mixture
Add the softened butter a little at a time, continuing to blend for at least another minute until glossy and smooth. Transfer to a piping bag and allow to cool and set before using
56g of unsalted butter, softened
When ready to assemble, pipe mounds of the ganache filling onto half of the discs then sandwich together with the remaining plain halves, pressing down gently so that the ganache just spreads to the edges
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