Last week on Palm Sunday, the children visited the houses in the neighborhood bringing them decorated pussy willows. In return they received chocolate eggs. The tradition is actually a cheerful mix of two traditions. In Eastern Finland the pussy willows symbolized the palm leaves on Palm Sunday and a blessing for the new year. The children recite the following poem before giving the decorated pussy willows:
The kids dress up as little witches, cats or bunnies. This tradition is from Western Finland where it was believed that witches or trolls would come to make mischief on the Saturday of Easter week. The children start decorating the pussy willows in good time and they make a beautiful bouquet.
Last weekend when we were on our girls trip in Helsinki, the little ones painted and planted Easter grass. Feels like the house is dressed for spring.
With all of the cheerful color I thought yellow macarons with lemon filling would be appropriate for the occasion. The good thing with macarons is that they can be frozen and saved for Easter. Of course we all had a few samples! My macaron making skills have been acquired from the Tartelette blog. I was a bit intimidated before I tried my first batch nearly two years ago because they seemed like such dainty little things. In reality they aren’t really that hard and the outcome is beautiful as well as delicious. Helene does a beautiful job and explains each phase so clearly. I made a double batch of the recipe below. Usually when you have a taste, you just have to have another one.
Macaron shells (recipe from Tartelette)
90 g/3.2 oz egg whites (about 3 eggs) it is preferable that they have been left in the fridge for 3 to 5 days
25 g/0.9 oz sugar
200 g/7 oz powdered sugar
110 g/3.9 oz almonds (I used almond flour)
1/2 tbsp powder yellow food coloring
1 dl/0.42 c heavy cream
125 g/4.4 oz quark or Greek yoghurt
1 dl/0.42 c lemon curd
Whip the cream. Fold in the quark or Greek yoghurt and lemon curd.
Bake at 140 C/280 F for about 15-20 minutes.
Sift the powdered sugar, almond flour and yellow food coloring. If using whole almonds, pulse in the food processor until it forms a fine almond flour.
Whip the egg whites to a light foam, similar to a bubble bath. Add sugar gradually and continue whipping until the consistency is similar to shaving cream.
For better results do not overbeat your meringue. Fold in the almond flour and powdered sugar mixture. Use quick strokes at first to break the air in the mass and slow your strokes a bit. Your macaron batter will be ready in about 50 strokes. Spoon batter into a pastry bag. I used disposable plastic pastry bags for this purpose. Pipe small circles on a lined baking sheet. They should flatten on their own.
Allow to harden for 20-30 minutes before baking for about 15 to 20 minutes.
Place the filling in a pastry bag and pipe a small amount and top with a second shell.
Allow to rest in the refrigerator for a day so that the flavors come together or freeze. Macarons take only a few minutes to thaw after taking them from the freezer.