I have something of a past. See, I used to be in the mafia - the absinthe mafia, that is. Sometime in the late 90's and early naughties, I was fortunate enough to befriend a most eclectic and inspired group of individuals, the absintheurs of the Fee Verte forum. Their aim was to refute the long standing misconceptions about absinthe as some druggie psychedelic potion and re-establish it for what it once truly was: a romantic, fragrant, strong spirit. To a large extent, they have succeeded. Absinthe is once again being made to traditional recipes and sold as a sophisticated and tasty beverage.
Absinthe for me is tied to some extraordinarily happy and wonderful memories. Going midnight swimming with my best friend after becoming jolly on cheap Spanish absinthe. A fun drunken evening of chinwag and fine green swill with Ted Breaux in New Orleans. A savoured, precious tasting of nearly 100 year old vintage in Peter's apartment in Paris five years ago, followed by watching the sunset from the steps of Sacre Coeur with the boy whom I had only just met days before and who would become my true love.
So on that last point, it seemed obvious to me that I should celebrate this Valentine's day with the green fairy, who helped fuel the enchantment of a beautiful French springtime five years ago. Ladies and gentlemen, a tribute to Paris and love: the absinthe macarons.
- 100g finely ground almonds
- 90g egg whites, aged 48 hours
- 200g powdered sugar
- 30g caster sugar
- 1 teaspoon aniseed, finely ground with mortar and pestle
- 1/2 teaspoon matcha powder or alternatively a small amount powdered green food colouring
- 100g caster sugar
- 2 large egg whites
- 180g butter, softened
- 3-4 tablespoons excellent quality French absinthe, or to taste
- One or two cautious drops of green food colouring
1. For the shells, follow the instructions previously outlined in this recipe
2. For the absinthe buttercream: place the egg whites and sugar in a heatproof bowl over a pan of gently simmering water. Using an electric mixer, mix the whites and sugar on medium speed until the sugar dissolves completely. Remove the mixture from heat and continue mixing until it more than doubles in volume and comes to room temperature. Add the butter in three batches, mixing completely after each addition. Continue mixing patiently until the buttercream comes together into a mayonnaise-like consistency. Chuck in your absinthe and green food colouring and mix again. Voila.
3. Pipe a small dollop of buttercream onto one macaron shell and sandwich gently with another. Eat in copious quantities while still fresh or refridgerate until L'Heure Verte.