Last week I took an online course with Ladurée, to learn the process of making Ispahan Macarons. This was a fun and rewarding experience and a way to try out a new technique, that I’m excited to share with you all! If you’re not familiar, Ispahan is flavor combination made with two macaron shells, rose cream, fresh lychee and raspberry. The classic flavor and style of macaron was invented by Pierre Hermé and first gained popularity in the 90s. Featuring a beautiful raspberry and rose studded appearance and heavenly fruit and floral flavors, its no wonder ispahan is so highly sought after.
One taste and you’ll understand why!
If you’ve been here for a while, then you are probably aware of my obsession with macarons. Back when we were able to travel, we made a point to stop for macarons in every city visited, including Pierre Hermé and Ladurée locations in Paris. Before the border closed, we often traveled to Vancouver for our macaron fix (when not baking them), now we order them online. Ordering is certainly not the same as visiting a location, but the next best thing! That’s how I discovered the ispahan class and fortunately was able to reserve a spot before it sold out.
ISPAHAN CLASS AND SUPPLIES
The class was hosted by a 3rd party distributor with a Ladurée pastry chef. When we reserved our place in the class and submitted payment, we were shipped a package of all of the ingredients we’d need for the class 2 days prior, less the eggs and raspberries. The package came with pre-measured and sealed almond flour, icing sugar, 2 bags of granulated sugar, rose infused butter (on ice), food coloring, lychees, a piping bag and Ladurée labels. We were also provided with a Zoom class password.
We were given step by step instructions from the pastry chef upon entering the class and the prep began. I felt there was good direction and instructions and followed along with the chef easily. We used the French meringue method, but they also added one half egg white to the dry mix, similar to the way we make Italian meringue macarons. This was a new process for me. Unfortunately the recipe provided didn’t turn out well for me and several others in the class.- As soon as we added the French meringue to the dry mix for macaronage, I could tell there was too much meringue for the amount of almond flour and icing sugar provided. This resulted in a fluffy-like batter consistency, which I have not run into before. But I rested and baked the shells off anyways and it to no surprise they turned out flat and crispy, with no feet.
All in all though, I am still happy to have taken the online course. Even though the shells were crispy, they still tasted delish. I also came away understanding how to make and assemble ispahan macarons, which I had been hoping to learn for some time.
Feeling slightly disappointed in the outcome, I did remake a batch the next day, using our Italian meringue macaron recipe and they turned out great! Now I’m here to share the steps so you can make an inspired batch of ispahan macarons of your own!
A word of note. This is not Ladurée’s recipe. This is our adapted version of the recipe, based on my experience from the class and our go-to Italian meringue macaron recipe.
Here’s more about the history of this delicate and heavenly French pastry.
HISTORY OF ISPAHAN
Ispahan is the most well known pastry flavor invented by Pierre Hermé, while working for Ladurée in the 90s. It is inspired by the ancient city in Persia and also known to be named after the ispahan rose, gaining popularity in the early 2000s.
Ispahan flavor combination and pastry was made famous by the world renown pâtissier. Pierre Hermé’s ispahan macaron is made with two macaron shells with a classic spiral design. The bottom shell is filled with a rose infused ganache or cream, using rose extract/syrup. Ladurée’s version is made using rose infused creme anglaise (buttercream). In the center of the rose infused filling, you’ll find a fresh raspberry and sliced lychee, which is then topped with an additional macaron shell. Garnished with rose and fresh raspberry.
Let’s move on to making ispahan macarons. The process is no more challenging than making a batch of macarons from scratch at home!
HOW TO MAKE ISPAHAN INSPIRED MACARONS
Similar to my macaron cake recipes, the ispahan has larger shells, however, the batter requires less folding, which results in a thicker (than the classic) macaron batter, to hold the spiral shape of the shells. I only folded the batter until the meringue was fully combined.
I used a 3.5″ template to pipe the batter in the spiral design, starting from the center and working from the right, outward. Once piped, I tapped the trays to release air bubbles as usual. I then rested the shells for 30 minutes and baked in the oven for 15 minutes.
Since we are dairy free, I made an easy rose cream filling using organic shortening, icing sugar and a few drops of rose water. This is our preferred filling, but I’m sure there’s a way you could make an Italian meringue buttercream or creme anglaise, similar to the classic version. I just find that it’s often not the right consistency when using butter alternatives.
Once the shells are baked and cooled, match them up. Place one shell on its back and squeeze a dollop of the rose cream filling into the center of the bottom shell so that it makes a 2″ mound. Stud the outside of the rose cream filling with fresh raspberries (cavity side down.) The raspberries should meet the edge of the macaron shell with enough filling to hold them in place. Place one more raspberry in the center of the cream filling, top with 3 slices of lychee and one more dollop of rose filing. Place the second shell on top of the the rose filing to create a sandwich. Garnish with fresh raspberry and rose petals.
Watch my how-to video below.
Recipe for an inspired version of the iconic ispahan macaron with rose, lychee and raspberries. This version is dairy and gluten free but nothing short of delicious.
An inspired version of the iconic ispahan macaron invented by Pierre Hermé with rose, lychee and raspberries. This version is dairy and gluten free but nothing short of delicious.
FOR THE MACARON SHELLS:
- 106 grams of almond meal
- 106 grams powdered sugar
- 41 and 45 grams of egg whites divided
- 115 grams of granulated sugar
- 79 grams of water
- dash of cream of tartar or lemon juice for stabilizing
- ¼ tsp pink gel or powdered food coloring
FOR THE VEGAN ROSE CREAM FILLING:
- 3/4 cup organic shortening
- 1 cup confectioners sugar
- 2 drops rose extract, oil or rose water
- pinch of salt
FRUIT AND FLORAL COMPONENTS:
- 1 pint of fresh raspberries rinsed and patted dry. (about 12. 10 per ispahan + 1 for the center and 1 for garnish)
- Fresh or canned lychees (1 lychee per ispahan (cut into 3 pieces)
- Edible rose petals
FOR THE MACARONS:
- Wipe down the mixing bowl and whisk attachment with vinegar to remove any built up residue. This will ensure that the egg whites whisk up properly.
- Prep and measure all of the ingredients using a kitchen scale.
- Prep a piping bag with a round tip. I use Wilton tip 10.
- Line 2 baking sheets with silpat (or parchment).
- Combine measured almond meal & powdered sugar together in a bowl. Sift one time to remove any lumps, discarding of them, then mix together to break up clumps.
- Pour the gel or powdered food coloring into the 41 grams of measured egg whites and whisk until combined.
- Make a well in the center of the almond powder and icing sugar and pour colored egg whites into the center of the dry mixture. Fold together until fully incorporated. The finished mix will be paste-like. Set aside.
- For the sugar syrup:
- To make the sugar syrup, heat granulated sugar and water in a pot on medium heat with a candy thermometer attached to the side. **Be careful to make sure the thermometer is not touching the bottom of the pot**.
- Once the thermometer’s temperature reaches approximately 200 degrees F, place the 45 grams of measured egg whites in the stand mixer and whisk on medium speed, to soft peaks.
- Add a drop of lemon juice or dash of cream of tartar to stabilize, THEN continue whisking.
- If the egg whites are at soft peaks before the syrup reaches 248 F, turn the mixer down to low speed to keep the egg whites moving.
- Watch the sugar syrup closely.
- As soon as the sugar syrup reaches 248 degrees F, remove from heat.
- Quickly increase mixer speed to medium and begin slowly pouring the sugar syrup down the side of your mixing bowl into the meringue until thoroughly combined, making sure the syrup doesn’t touch the whisk.
- THEN increase the mixing speed to high and whisk sugar and meringue together until glossy and stiff peaks form and the meringue has cooled. (The meringue should keep its form.)
- Gently transfer finished meringue into the almond/powdered sugar mixture in thirds, making sure that it’s fully incorporated before adding the additional 3rd of meringue.
- Ispahan batter differs from regular macaron batter. The macaronage will not take nearly as long. You want to maintain the spiral shape of the batter during the baking process.
- Fold the batter in a circular motion, going around the edges of the bowl, then once through the center only until all meringue has been fully incorporated. The batter should still be thick and run off the spatula slowly.
- **Be careful not to over-mix**
- Transfer batter to the prepped piping bag(s).
- Similar to my macaron cake recipes, the ispahan uses larger shells.
- Downlad the 3/5″ circle template to make the spiral design, and place it under the silpat mat.
- Start piping the batter in a circular motion from the center and working from the right, outward.
- *Tap the macarons on the counter three times to release air bubbles.
- Before placing the macarons in the oven, let them to rest until a proper skin has formed on the outside of the shell. This can take anywhere from 20-30 minutes. Test by touching the piped rounds to make sure they’re dry to touch and slightly firm. No batter comes off on fingers.
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
- Once dry to touch, place the macarons in the middle rack of the oven.
- Feet will form halfway through the baking process.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes.
- Remove from oven and allow 15-20 minutes to cool before attempting to remove the shells from the silpat/parchment paper.
- Once macaron shells are completely cool, gently remove from parchment paper/silpat.
- They’re ready to assemble.
FOR THE ROSE INFUSED FILLING:
- Mix shortening/vegan butter, icing sugar and rose water into the bowl of a mixer and mix until combined.
- Transfer filling to piping bag fitted with tip 12 and set aside.
- Match up two baked and cooled macaron shells.
- Place one shell on its back and squeeze a dollop of the rose cream filling into the center of the bottom shell so that it makes a 2″ mound.
- Stud the outside of the rose cream filling with fresh raspberries (cavity side down.) The raspberries should meet the edge of the macaron shell with enough filling to hold them in place.
- Place one more raspberry in the center of the cream filling, top with 3 slices of lychee and one more dollop of rose filing.
- Place the second shell on top of the the rose filing to create a sandwich.
- Garnish with fresh raspberry and rose petals.
- Transfer to the fridge to mature for 24 hours.
- Pull from fridge 15 minutes prior to serving for the ispahan to reach room temp.
- Serve individually.
- Eat like a regular macaron or cut in half and enjoy with a fork.
Keywords: how to make ispahan, ispahan macarons, how to make French macarons, dairy and gluten free macarons, raspberry macarons, lychee, rose buttercream
What I loved most about taking the ispahan course, was following along with the pastry chef. It was informative and exciting to watch him in action and to learn the process along with him. My only regret was using the entire amount of French meringue in the batter, but overall the course was still so worth taking!
And to be quite honest, this macaron is one of the best I’ve ever had, staying true to the classic flavors.
There is no occasion that the ispahan macarons is not perfect for. They are romantic and a fitting pastry for Valentine’s Day, or simply just to treat yourself! If you enjoy the flavors of raspberry rose and lychee, I encourage you to give this inspired ispahan macaron recipe a try. Even though it’s not the exact same, I think you will enjoy this adapted version!
I hope me sharing about my experience has inspired you to try making ispahan at home, or to take an online course, or give the iconic French pastry a try, the next time you visit Pierre Hermé or Ladurée.
If you happen to try this recipe, share with me @poshlittledesigns on social media.
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