A Taste Of Yellow 2008 – Tropical Fruit Verrine and Peach Macarons
There are many events I like to participate in but there is one I would not miss for the world: LiveStrong Day With A Taste Of Yellow launched and hosted by Barbara from Winos and Foodies . Last year 149 bloggers from all over the world answered her call to celebrate life, remember our loved one who passed away from cancer and this year I have no fear that more will rally on May 13th to support the LiveStrong Foundation. I have previously talked about my brother passing away at an early age from cancer and then my grandmother a few years later. There is not a day that goes by without their memory influencing my thoughts, my choices and my attitude. I laugh more, I try not to sweat the small stuff (does not mean I succeed all the time) and I live and love stronger, for me and others. I tried to write this post all weekend long but everytime my eyes got cloudy and my heart heavy, no exception this very minute. I miss Thierry, I miss Mamie Paulette. I wish I could write a more eloquent post to their memory but I can’t even write the word cancer without hurting. The anger and disbelief has given way to sadness but last year I did manage to write some about it which you can read here.
Instead I want to focus on the woman behind the event, Barbara. Although I have never met her in person, I like to believe that we would be good friends if we were neighbors. I first "met" Barbara when I sent her a package during one round of Blogging By Mail….all the way to New Zealand! We kept in touch through emails, we discovered more about each other as the months went by and she is in my thoughts just about everyday. She has her own battle with cancer to fight and yet she never cease to amaze me by dropping me a line or sending me a little package when I come here and open up about some of my "mishaps". Thank you for being here, for being fierce, for being strong, for being such a support when I needed a little boost.
When she launched Taste of Yellow this year, she added a little photo contest opportunity with the request that our picture had to feature the yellow cancer wristband. Name your color, I got it, but in this case when I went to get mine wrapped around Teddy The Mini Bear I discovered that this ferocious beast had a field trip with the bear and the bracelet. I got online and figured I would order a bag of 10 and give them out to friends and family and right after I hit "buy", an email from Barbara came in reading that she had some and would I like her to send me one (from Australia this time, because she moved) Yep, Ma’m! I gave the whole bag I purchased away and kept hers for the photo shot and away from the beast of the house! Thank you my dear, macarons look great wrapped in yellow! The "funny" thing this year is that LiveStrong day falls on my birthday, a date my brother never missed although he was completely in his own world when it came to dates and celebrations. Life has a way to remind you of the big things doesn’t it?
Allright, what about Barbara’s event and the food…. It has to be yellow for one and since it has been in the 80sF around here lately I decided not to turn the oven on too long and make something refreshing. A tropical "verrine" of mango, fruit salad, and whipped Greek yogurt with peach ganache macarons…yellow, yellow…Of course I had to stick a macaron in there..eheheh!! That went down so easy last night as we were sitting on the porch, reminiscing about the first time B. met my bother in Montmartre in front of a big bowl of spaghetti and the first time he met my grandmother at her house in front of one of her famous tarts and a cup of tea. Great memories…the best (someone pass me a Kleenex).
I need to add after reading several comments that you do not need a yellow wristband to enter the event, it is just to take part in the photo contest. However, purchasing one or several through the Lance Armstrong Foundation will help fight this nasty disease.
For the verrines (serves 4)
2 Tb lime juice
1 pint fresh raspberries
1 cup diced fresh pineapple
2 kiwis, skinned and diced
1 bananas, skinned and diced
1 cup Greek yogurt
1 cup heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks
For the bottom layer, peel the mango and cut in rough chunks, run them through the food processor with the lime juice until you obtain a fine puree. Divide it evenly among four glasses or dishes.
Peel and dice the remaining mango and mix it with the other fruits to get a nice fruit salad, add a couple of Tbs of lemon juice to prevent the fruits from turning brown if you want. Divide on top of the mango puree evenly among the glasses.
Mix the Greek yogurt and the whipped cream and top each glass with it. Sprinkle with crushed sugar cookies if your desire. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
For the Macarons shells:
3 egg whites (I like to use 1-2 day old egg whites)
50 gr. granulated sugar
200 gr. powdered sugar
110 gr. ground almonds
1 drop yellow food coloring
1 drop red food coloring
For the whites: the day before (24hrs), separate your eggs and store the whites at room temperature on a covered container. If you want to use 48hrs (or more) egg whites, you can store them in the fridge.
In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites to a foam, gradually add the sugar until you obtain a glossy meringue. Do not overbeat your meringue or it will be too dry and your macarons won’t work. Combine the ground almonds and powdered sugar in a food processor and give them a quick pulse. It will break the powdered sugar lumps and combine your almonds with it evenly. Add them to the meringue, give it a quick fold and remove some of the batter that will remain uncolored. Add the food colorings to the rest and fold the mass carefully until you obtain a batter that flows like magma or a thick ribbon. 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 baking sheets. Preheat the oven to 300F. Let the macarons sit out for an hour to harden their shells a bit and bake for 8-10 minutes, depending on their size. Let cool.
If you have trouble removing the shells, pour a couple of drops of water under the parchment paper while the sheet is still a bit warm and the macarons will lift up more easily do to the moisture. Don’t let them sit there in it too long or they will become soggy. Pipe or spoon some ganache on one shell and sandwich with another one.
If you use fresh whites, zap them up in the microwave on medium high for 20 seconds to mimic the aging process.
For the Peach Ganache:
150 gr good quality white chocolate
75 ml heavy cream
Bring a small pot filled with water to a boil on the stove and cook the peach in it for a couple of minutes. Remove from the water, let cool, peel and chop into rough chunks. Run them through the food processor until you get a fine peach puree. Set aside.In a bowl set over a pot of simmering water, melt the white chocolate until completely smooth. Remove from the heat and add the heavy cream and peach puree. Gently incorporate all the ingredients together until your ganache is smooth. Refrigerate until of piping consistency and fill the macarons shells with it.