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Lychee Rose Parfait and Orange Blossom Macarons

Lychee Rose Parfait Topped with Strawberry Sorbet, served with Orange Blossom Macarons filled with Blood Orange Curd.

I was truly excited by this month Sugar High Friday theme set out by Monisha and I have been playing with ideas in my mind ever since she wrote it was all about Flower Power for this 30th edition. I did not intend to wait until the last minute but I am in the middle of a round up myself and other baking activities so I apologize to my fellow South Carolinian for being among the last entries.

I knew I wanted something light and springy, something that reflect who I am when I think about desserts for dinner parties. I like light flavors, I like individual and miniature. I use orange blossom flower water on a (almost) daily basis. I am a serious ice cream fanatic. I eat fruits like they are going out of business. I love making macarons and I love citrus anything. Most importantly I always try to use flavors I do not tend to gravitate towards like rose extract. I bought a bottle a long time ago and I stare at it everyday….I am not too fond of it or at least I have not come up with a dessert that would allow me to appreciate it, until today…

I tried to get fresh lychees but here it is nearly impossible so I used canned ones and they did the job just as good. They are a little sweeter than fresh ones of course but the texture and final taste was the same. All the components can be (and were) made ahead of times and refrigerated so it gives you plenty of time to tend to more important activities.

Lychee Rose Parfait with Strawberry Sorbet:

Makes 8

Cookie Base:

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 cups white sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside.In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in egg and vanilla. Gradually blend in the dry ingredients. Divide the dough in half and refrigerate. Roll out one half to 1/2 inch thick and put the sheet of dough on a parchment lined abking sheet. Bake8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool 2 minutes. While still warm cut out 8 rounds with a 3 inch cookie cutter. Set aside. Use the remaining half for regular cut out cookies if desired.

Strawberry Sorbet, adapted from Richard Leach:

3 cups fresh diced strawberries
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup wildflower honey
1 cup water
3 Tb lemon juice

Combine the ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth. Pass through a fine sieve then freeze in an ice cream machine according to manufacturer’s directions. Keep frozen until ready to use.

Lychee Rose Parfaits, adapted from Richard Leach:

1 14oz. can lychees
2 tsp. rose water extract (or to taste)
2 eggs, separated
6 Tb sugar
3/4 cup creme fraiche (can substitute sour cream)
1/4 heavy cream

Drain the lychees and keep or discard the juice. Puree in a food processor with the rose extract. Set aside.
In a bowl, combine the egg yolks and 2 Tb. of the sugar and whisk until pale and thick. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until firm peaks are formed. Add the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar and whip for one more minte, until glossy. Whip the creme fraiche and heavy cream together until firm peaks are formed.
Fold the whites into the egg mixture. Add to the lychees. Lastly, fold in the cream mixture. Place the parfait in a piping bag.

Using 8 3 inch metal rings, place a sugar cookie at the bottom of each ring. Pipe the parfait mixture evenly between the 8 rings, leaving some space for the strawberry sorbet. Set in the freezer for 30 minutes or until firm. Fill the remainder of the tubes with the sorbet. Smooth the tops and keep in the freezer until ready to use.

Orange Blossom Macarons with Blood Orange Curd:

For the shells:

120 gr. egg whites, divided
35 gr. sugar
150 gr. finely ground almonds
150 gr. powdered sugar
1 Tb blood orange zest
For the boiling syrup:
150 gr. sugar and 50 gr. water

Sift the ground almonds and powdered sugar. Add the blood orange zest. In a stand mixer, whip 60 gr. egg whites to soft peaks, add 35 gr. sugar.
In the meantime, in a saucepan on high heat bring the water and sugar for the syrup to 230 F. on a candy thermometer.Slowly add the boiling syrup to the egg whites and continue to whip on medium – high speed until they are completely cooled and you have a shiny meringue (10-15 minutes).
Mix the remaining 60 gr. of egg whites and the sifted almond/sugar and carefully fold into the meringue.
Fill a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip with the mixture and pipe macarons about 3 inches in diameter on parchment paper lined baking sheet. You can let them sit at room temperature for 20 minutes if desired. This is often done to assure those little feet at the bottom but I found that I can skip this step with this recipe and still end up with the same result.
Bake at 320 for 15 minutes. Let cool.

Blood Orange Curd, adapted from Alice Medrich:

grated zest of 1 blood orange
2/3 cup strained blood orange juice
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs

Combine the zest, sugar, juice in a saucepan, and bring to a simmer.
In a small bowl, beat the eggs until light.
Beat some of the orange mixture into the eggs to temper. Scrape the mixture back into the saucepan and cook stirring constantly until it thickens up, about 5 minutes.
Strain and refrigerate, covered with plastic wrap until ready to use.

Fill the macarons with about 1 Tb of the curd and refrigerate.

The final decorating step was to melt some white chocolate and form rose petals to set the parfaits on to them in a flower like manner.

I have to say I am acompletely in love with this dessert. The rose flavor is not too strong and it is really "ice cream for adults". Sophisticated, yet simple to make. All the steps are easy and let you set your own cooking pace.

Note: metal rings can be quite pricey so when it comes to assembling cold plated desserts like this one I use pvc pipe. Go the hardware store and select the diameter you need (I like having 2, 3, and 4 inch diameter rings around) and have one of their sales associate cut it for you. If you promise them a few brownies, they will do so without a problem.

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Freya April 22, 2007 um 7:16 pm

I am left completely breathless Helen! I adore the idea of the Lychee Rose Parfait and the Macaroons look as good as ones in 'fancy' shops!

Anonymous April 22, 2007 um 7:54 pm

i can die happily after eating this.

Kelly-Jane April 22, 2007 um 7:56 pm

Oh my goodness, both parts look so stunning! I like the flower petals to, so cute.

Your macaroons would easliy sit in Fauchon or some other classy French shop. Well done.


Blame It on Paris April 22, 2007 um 8:11 pm

I just managed to make macarons for the first time myself and was so proud! Yours look beautiful, I love that last photo with a ribbon. Thanks for such a nice treat–it’s my first stop by your blog, but I think I’ll be back!

Laura F.

Astrid April 22, 2007 um 8:17 pm

Breathtakingly beautiful and inspiring desserts!

Connie April 22, 2007 um 8:21 pm

oh the colors and the flavors. such a tribute to spring!

Brilynn April 22, 2007 um 10:34 pm

You make it all look so easy! I love what you’ve done, such a great combination of flavours.

Anonymous April 22, 2007 um 11:53 pm

Oh my goodness! What a wonderful way to incorporate 'flower power' into these desserts – they look utterly fantabulous!

Anonymous April 23, 2007 um 12:08 am

Oh it’s just so beautiful, Helen! I love it all and I want lots of those pretty macarons wrapped in pretty ribbon!

Blame It on Paris April 23, 2007 um 12:18 am

Thank you for the compliments on my macarons, Helen. Nothing compared to yours! 🙂 So I finally stopped looking at your recipes and read your "About." It sounds as if you are the flip side of my story! I’m the Southerner married to a Parisian gentleman. It’s amazing how many of us there are, people are always writing me about that after they read the book. Are there posts on your blog where you tell more of your story? I am curious now to learn more.

Cheryl April 23, 2007 um 1:23 am

This is just a work of art. When I opened up your blog and saw the picture I went "Oh man, this woman is killing me with these gorgeous creations".

Jen April 23, 2007 um 3:53 am

You get better and better every time Helen. This is simply gorgeous! I love lychees and pairing them with rose and orange blossom is perfect.

Helene April 23, 2007 um 4:16 am

Biby: Thank you. I am just having fun!

Freya and Paul: thank you. I love making macarons, I just don’t like eating them!

dali: thank you!

Kelly Jane: thank you! I enjoy making them.

Blame it n Paris: yours were quite impressive too.

astrid: thank you.

connie: i don’t usually like that much pastel but it works here.

brilynn: you know I think pastry is not complicated. It is about being careful, attentive and patient, not complicated.

ellie: thank you!

Ivonne: if they could travel well, I would send you a whole box.

Cheryl: thank you. I had a good time taking the pictures.

JenJen: I enjoy going back to what I used to do at the restaurant. It was all plated dessert and very few whole cakes. My specialties were parfaits and mirror cakes.

Barbara April 23, 2007 um 5:11 am

These look too too beautiful Helen.

Kajal@aapplemint April 23, 2007 um 5:12 am

Helen that is by the most beautiful thing i’ve seen in a long time.pls pls pls DHL me some macrons…..i love what i see here and my mouth is watering…the parfait i will not ask u to DHL for obvious reasons :))

Ales April 23, 2007 um 6:42 am

you know, I have never ever had macaroons and now, after few months on food blogging under my belt, I have heard so many good things about them that I simply must try. And your orange curd… yummmmm : )

Anonymous April 23, 2007 um 8:18 am

Unapologetically pretty! And such an interesting mix of flavors…your macarons look fantastic!

Inne April 23, 2007 um 8:48 am

That looks utterly delicious Helene! And almost too beautiful to eat. I’ve only once attempted to make macarons, with disastrous results (I blame it on my oven) but maybe I should give it another go…

Anonymous April 23, 2007 um 8:56 am

encore une fois, c’est MAGNIFIQUE !
autant le parfait que le macaron, tout est mignon, et c’est typiquement le genre de dessert frais que je recherche en ce moment, avec l’arrivee des beaux jours !

Lis April 23, 2007 um 10:42 am

What a gorgeous and elegant dessert, Helene! Whomever you served this to must have been in sheer heaven! You amaze me. =)


Mercotte April 23, 2007 um 12:32 pm

L’ensemble est absolument superbe !! Tes macarons parfaits, un réel plaisir des yeux et je suis sûre du palais également ! Les couleurs aussi sont extra ! Je vais mettre ces recettes dans un coin pour m’en inspirer, trop beau !

Anonymous April 23, 2007 um 12:45 pm

Comme c’est beau Helen. Des vraies mains de patissiere!

angie April 23, 2007 um 1:34 pm

FANTASTICO!That’s just terrific how good you are. And the flavour combination, 2 die for. Well done!

Of course I added yr link to my own sidebar 😀

Anita April 23, 2007 um 3:27 pm

Wow, I am in awe. That’s patisserie worthy – I love your creativity and presentation!

Alicia April 23, 2007 um 3:48 pm

Oh those are beautiful!
I love the ribbon you tied around the macarons in the last picture, what a neat idea for presentation!

Anonymous April 23, 2007 um 3:58 pm

You’re quite in time Helen, especially with an entry as spectacular as this one. The flavors are amazing and the presentation is fabulous! Thanks for participating!

Patricia Scarpin April 23, 2007 um 4:54 pm

Helene, this is a masterpiece, my dear – so beautiful, I’m speechless!

I know you share my passion for citrus flavors and I love that – but now I have tons of recipes I’m dying to try!

Anonymous April 23, 2007 um 6:19 pm

J’avoue rester sans voix…c’est plus que parfait ! Vraiment bravo ! J’aime beaucoup ce genre de dessert !
Et je ne parle pas des photos qui sont plus que belles.
Bien à toi

Chez Us April 23, 2007 um 6:41 pm

Love Love Love these macaroons …. one of my favorite Paris treats. Can not wait to try to make them!!!!

Astrid Keel April 23, 2007 um 8:36 pm

holy moly. what endearing concoctions! I wish I lived in Charleston so that I could (hum) "help" you enjoy those sugary delights! 🙂

Anonymous April 24, 2007 um 2:31 am

Du grand art! Ca doit etre delicieux et la presentation est fantastique!

Gattina Cheung April 24, 2007 um 9:29 am

oh my gosh, they are work of art!!! Helene, your choice of ingredients is seriously good! I’m gonna to try! *kiss*

Amrita April 24, 2007 um 12:29 pm

hello tartelette@

ive tried your macaron recipe but they ended up like crispy meringue biscuits for me…no feet….no resemblance to macarons whatsoever. yours are SO beautful. i used an insta-read thermometer. am i sposed to use a candy thermometer?

monica April 24, 2007 um 1:25 pm

your entry is absolutely breathtaking, helene! i love richard leach’s book and only wish i had more time to experiement with it. and your macarons are beautiful…i’ve never tried a macaron recipe using an italian meringue, but perhaps i’ll give it a go. stunning entry!

Anonymous April 24, 2007 um 4:01 pm

Wow, ditto to everyone else’s cries of "stunning!" Fantastic idea.
"I like light flavors, I like individual and miniature."
You said it so perfectly. Your dinner guests are lucky lucky.

MyKitchenInHalfCups April 24, 2007 um 4:40 pm

Helene you always blow my mind. These are just beautiful. One day I’ll try the macarons.
Oooo blood orange curd…must try. I’ve done lemon, orange, and raspberry. I have rhubarb in the fridge to try next.

Anonymous April 25, 2007 um 6:31 am

Bonjour, je viens juste d’écrire un billet sur mes nombreux "macaratages", je vais m’inspirer de ta recette. En plus, je suis totalement accro à la fleur d’oranger.
I have just written a post about my macarons disasters ! I am going to try your recipe, as I am totally orange-blossom-addicted !

Hélène (Cannes) April 26, 2007 um 6:59 pm

Un dessert en tout point parfait !… Sublime, dirais-je !

Maria of Passion Fruit & Mangos April 30, 2007 um 8:45 pm

What a gorgeous medley of dessert! I can only imagine it must be a spring-time party in your mouth- yum!

Anonymous March 28, 2008 um 1:13 pm

Where does the orange blossom water come into play with the macarons?

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