Last month, I had the chance to preview The McCormick Flavor Forecast for 2013. In that post I mentioned I was interested in looking further at the Global My Way and Empowered Eating trends, and those will certainly be important avenues for me to investigate this year. These two ideas are more than “trends” for me – they are definitely ideas that I feel I can (and should) incorporate into my everyday eating and cooking. I’m all over the idea of bringing global flavours home (I’ve got SO many ideas from our recent Burma trip…) and of course, creating a “more thoughtful, personal and connected” approach to eating and health is something I believe many of us can relate to in this, the first month of the new year.
I have to say, though, when contemplating a flavour combination to explore for my second Flavor Forecast 2013 post, I simply couldn’t get past the idea behind the No Apologies Necessary trend. Its description:
In a rational rebellion against the “always-on” mindset of modern life, food lovers are making the conscious choice to stop and enjoy the moment. This unapologetic escape from everyday demands is a necessary break, a chance to savor each detail of the eating experience. Diving headfirst into sumptuous flavors, we are staking our claim to the pleasures we crave and the satisfaction we deserve until, finally, all seems right with the world.
very much struck a chord with me in the fray of the holidays last month. An “escape from everyday demands” that allows us to “savor each detail of the eating experience”? Sounds like what we all need a little more of everyday, and especially when we’re busy and stressed (like during the holidays!)
Nor could I get past the idea of the Bittersweet Chocolate Torte with Passion Fruit Cream, garnished with Candied Fresh Basil Leaves. Chocolate and passion fruit is a combination I totally understand. But with basil? Definitely a combination worth exploring and what better form to explore new flavours than in a macaron? Having lugged a fair bit of passion fruit gelée and jam home from France this past summer, as soon as I saw that recipe I knew it was one I wanted to “macaronify” 😉
I knew immediately that I wanted to use the passion fruit gelée in the filling. And rather than use mascarpone as per the chocolate torte recipe garnish, which I thought might be a little too rich, I chose cream cheese which I find works really well for filling macarons. The basil now…. Hmmmm…. I wanted a subtle flavor here (none the least because macaron shells are delicate beings and don’t take too kindly to too many add ins) so I opted for dried sweet basil as opposed to candied fresh basil leaves. Dried herbs are easy to incorporate into the dry ingredients for macaron shells as you can simply blitz them together in the food processor.
I used the Italian meringue method to make the shells (it’s something of a work in progress with me, now I have more or less mastered the French meringue method) and found that my usual quantity of cocoa powder didn’t make them quite chocolatey enough so I opted to sprinkle the tops with unsweetened cocoa powder just before serving. It was the perfect touch, playing of the sweet of the passion fruit cream filling. I also realised that the Italian meringue shells can take more flavour than I am used to adding with French meringue and hence, the basil flavour was not quite as pronounced as I would have liked but it was definitely there. My colleagues (aka taste testers), could all identify ‘something’ they couldn’t put their finger on in terms of the taste. A flavour that makes people stop and reflect and really think? I believe this is the goal of the No Apologies Necessary trend. So, success!
For the paste:
For the Italian meringue
For the cream filling
First make the cream filling
Make the macaron shells
Pipe the macaron shells
Bake the macarons
Fill the shells
The other flavour combination in the No Apologies Necessary trend was charred orange. Now there’s some food for thought (as I put on my thinking cap to ponder a charred orange macaron…). Definitely one of my goals in 2013 is to slow down and appreciate food more. Both the food I eat as well as the food I create. To that end, I look forward to exploring more of the McCormick Flavor Forecast combinations in my kitchen this year.
Disclosure: I am being compensated for my participation in the Mc Cormick 2013 Flavor Forecast, however, all ideas and opinions are 100% my own.
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