Makes 1 dozen macaroons
For the outer shells…
¾ cup powdered sugar
¾ cup almonds, finely ground (grind in spice grinder or use almond flour)
3 egg whites (stored at room temperature for 6 hours prior)
Pinch of salt
¼ cup sugar
2 tablespoons condensed strawberry puree
For the basil cream
1 cup basil leaves
½ cup water
½ cup sugar
1½ cups butter, room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
Pre-heat oven to 300Â°F. Line 2-3 baking sheets with parchment paper and take out some cookie cutters the size of the macaroons you wish to make as well as pastry piping bags and tips. Take the cookie cutters and trace a shape with a pen of the macaroons to make templates for size. In a mixing bowl combine almonds and powdered sugar. (The ratio for the powder sugar and the almond meal or flour changes the consistency, the more almond meal the more grainy and dense the more powdered sugar the lighter the density, play and mix and match according to your tastes). In a stand mixer or kitchen aid with a whisk attachment, mix the egg whites on a medium low speed until foamy. Turn the speed up and add in the sugar slowly until egg whites have a glossy meringue texture and look. Be very careful NOT TO OVERBEAT. Pour the strawberry puree in the mixer for 2-3 quick turns or until the puree is mixed in some. Take the bowl attachment off the kitchen aid or stand mixer and gently fold in the almond and powdered sugar mixture, trying not to over mix, but mixing just enough to create a lava like flowing thick meringue-ish looking batter. The batter should be heavy enough so that peaks do not form but that the heaviness pushes the meringue down. To test your batter on a plate or counter by seeing if it indeed condenses down as opposed to holding its shape. If peaks are present, give it another few turns by hand until they go away. Place the mixture in a piping bag with a plain tip. Pipe out the patters or templates you traced carefully. Let the macaroons sit for about 10-12 minutes so as the macaroons harden a little and then place them in the oven for about 10 minutes. Remove and allow to cool a few minutes and then gently remove from parchment paper before they stick, allow to cool fully before filling.
For the basil butter cream
In a medium sauce pan combine basil leaves, sugar and water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and continue to let cook on low for about 4 more minutes. Take off heat, cool and blend. Strain the mixture and discard the basil leaves. Place the mixture back on the burner and bring to a boil and cook until reduce to half and is very thick, stirring constantly for about approximately 4 minutes. Cool. In a mixing bowl or mixer whip together softened butter, powdered sugar, and basil syrup. Mix until full incorporated, soft and creamy.
For sugar fried basil leaves
In a little bit of almond oil in a small frying pan on high heat, fry basil leaves a few at a time until crisp but still green. Take of heat and place on paper towels, sprinkle with sugar while warm on both sides.
To assemble the macaroons spoon a small amount of the filling on one side (flat side) of one macaroon shell, making sure it is in the center. Place a sugar fried basil leaf on top of the filling and then place another macaroon shell on top (flat side to flat side).