The Perfect Sweet for Passover or Easter

Adding images:
Use food coloring for spring pastels
Use food coloring for spring pastels
THE MACAROON The greatest challenge for tea enthusiasts who celebrate Passover is to figure out how to make desserts without leavening. For those who celebrate Easter, a new dilemma has occurred: increasing numbers of people do not consume gluten. (So long, scones!) What's a gracious host to do? The perfect answer for both challenges is the iconic macaroon.This delectable dessert is slightly sweet, pretty, and easy to make. We suggest topping it with your favorite jam, but feel free to experiment like adding your favorite cream or curd filling between two of them for a "sandwich" macaroon or use as a base for melted chocolate or Nutella.

1/4 cup white granulated sugar
1 2/3 cups confectioners' sugar
1 cup finely ground almonds (buy pre-ground, or grind them in a very clean spice grinder to a powder)

EQUIPMENT Metal baking sheet
Silicone mat (parchment paper will work, too)
Pastry cone made from plastic bag
Professional round tip for pastry cone (if you don't have a tip, squeeze batter out carefully and as precisely as you can)
Mixer with whisk attachment or a good strong arm and a wire whisk for whipping the egg whites in a copper or stainless steel bowl
Extra bowl

DIRECTIONS Preheat oven to 285° F. (That's right, a very low-heat oven!) Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. In the bowl of a mixer, beat egg whites with the whisk attachment until the whites are foamy. Beat in white granulated sugar and continue beating until egg whites are glossy, fluffy, and hold soft peaks. If you don't have an electric mixer, use a metal hand whisk to beat these ingredients to soft peaks. It will take a little more elbow grease but brings the same lovely results. In a separate bowl, sift together the confectioners' sugar and ground almonds and quickly fold the almond mixture into the egg whites, stirring to fully incorporate the ingredients. Spoon a small amount of batter into the plastic bag . Cut a small corner cut off and pipe a test disk of batter (about 1 1/2 inches in diameter) onto prepared baking sheet. If the disk of batter holds a peak instead of flattening immediately, gently fold the batter a few more times in the bowl and re-test. When batter is mixed enough to flatten immediately into an evenly flat disk, spoon into a pastry bag fitted with a plain round tip. Pipe the batter onto the baking sheet in rounds, leaving space between the disks. Let the piped cookies stand out at room temperature until they form a hard skin on top, about 1 hour. Bake cookies for 10 minutes, until set but not browned. Allow them to cool completely before adding your choice of filling: jam, clotted cream, lemon or lime curd or Nutella or similar chocolate cream. Tea lovers can amp up their macaroons and make a matcha buttercream filling by beating 1 stick of butter on high until fluffy, then adding 1 cup powdered sugar and 1 tablespoon of matcha. Beat until mixed and add 1 tablespoon of milk, then beat for 3 minutes.
Yields: 16 macaroons - 8, if made as sandwiches with the above filling. Recipe easily doubles or triples.

SPRING GREENS FOR PASSOVER OR EASTER Like spring itself, green tea is a refreshing, and perfect, choice for tea for these iconic holidays. We have a plethora of plain and flavored choices, but want to highlight a few that reflect the sweetness and hope of this season. The classic tea from China's famed tea-growing area, Dragonwell, is also known as Lung Ching. An ideal springtime tea, it is as complex as it is subtle, with silky-on-the-tongue flavor and a mellow finish. Pan fired, this is a tea to awaken your palate to the pleasures of the warmer days ahead. Brew quickly and at a low temperature, preferably 180° F. for two minutes. Some green teas, like Japan's Kukicha, are delicious when served at room temperature or at low heat. The lower temperature brings out the sweet, fresh field-of-flowers taste. You'll detect soft chestnut notes or mild white sesame seeds for a very balanced cup of delicacy and low astringency. This is an ideal stand-alone tea, yet it is marvelous with a variety of petit fours or small sandwiches or our macaroons for an elegant tea. Steep at 180°F. for two minutes. Cooler water works well, too. Available in both loose leaf and teabag selections.