I've always wanted to recreate Pierre Herme's Ispahan long before I even knew what they were! When we were living in London, I'd always see these little pink macarons filled with raspberries and they always caught my attention because they were the prettiest little things! I then had one at Claridge's afternoon tea and my love affair with macarons began! They were divine! So when I began my baking journey, the first thing I attempted were pink macarons filled with fresh raspberries.
When my macarons were failing me, I started troubleshooting on the internet (isn't google the best?) and that was when I discovered I was creating a mock Ispahan. So what is the Ispahan? There are several versions, but essentially it is a macaron with lychee, rose and raspberry. In Herme's book, the centre comprises of raspberry jelly surrounded by a rose and lychee ganache. I omitted the raspberry jelly and used fresh raspberries instead because they're much more visually appealing!
I love fresh raspberries and despite them being so expensive at the moment, I put the Ispahan on the afternoon tea menu as I just could not resist having them! They're just too damn pretty!
Now I wasn't sure whether to admit this, but I have a confession to make - I still have not made a genuine Ispahan yet! :( The problem was the rose and lychee ganache, it just ended up being a runny mess, not pipeable at all, despite refrigerating it and even letting it sit in the freezer! That wouldn't do for the afternoon tea, so I ended up making up another batch of ganache, this time I put less lychee puree in the ganache. Because the lychee flavour was so subtle, I omitted the rose essence as the smell is so overpowering I was afraid it would dominate the whole macaron.
After almost 48 hours of the rose and lychee ganache sitting in the fridge, it ended up becoming pipeable so I ended up using them with the leftover macaron shells!
So there you have it, the Ispahan in two separate macarons!