Preparing the eggs
SEPARATE THE EGGS and let the whites sit out at room temperature for at least two hours.
Meanwhile, prepare the pastry cream.
To make the pastry cream
IN A HEAVY SAUCEPAN, bring the soy milk, scraped seeds and vanilla bean pod, three tablespoons of the sugar, and margarine to a rolling boil. Whisk the mixture to separate the vanilla seeds so they do not clump up. In a medium bowl, use a whisk to beat the egg yolks with the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. Add the flour and gelatin and whisk well. Strain half the soy milk mixture into the egg bowl and whisk. Strain the other half of the milk into the eggs and mix well. Discard the vanilla bean pod.
RETURN THE MIXTURE to the saucepan and cook on low heat for 3 to 4 minutes, whisking often. You will need a silicone spatula to mix the cream where the bottom and sides of the saucepan meet. Every 15 seconds, let the mixture sit without whisking until you see some bubbles; it should look like the mixture is breathing. In the meantime, rinse the mixing bowl. When the mixture looks like thick vanilla pudding, remove it from the heat and place it into a clean bowl. Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes and then cover it with plastic wrap and place it in the fridge until chilled for at least four hours or overnight. To use it sooner, place the bowl of pastry cream over a larger bowl filled with 2 to 3 cups of ice cubes and 2 cups of water, whisking occasionally, for 30 minutes, or until the cream is chilled. The cream can be made three days in advance and stored in the fridge.
To make the cookies
CUT a sheet of parchment paper to perfectly fit the bottom of a 12 x 16-inch (30 x 40-cm) jelly roll pan or cookie sheet. Use a pen to trace two 8-inch (20-cm) circles on the parchment paper (I use 8-inch (20-cm) round baking pans as “stencils”). Turn the paper over.
PLACE THE ALMOND FLOUR and confectioners’ sugar into the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Process for three full minutes. Sift the mixture into another bowl, discarding any large almond pieces.
IN THE BOWL OF A STAND MIXER, beat the egg whites until stiff. Reduce the speed to low, add the granulated sugar a tablespoon at a time, and then increase the speed to high for another three minutes. Add the raspberry extract, if using, and food coloring to achieve a bright pink color, and beat another 30 seconds. Add the almond and sugar mixture and mix on low speed to mostly combine and then finish mixing with a spatula; you do not want to mix the batter too much.
PLACE THE BATTER into a pastry bag fitted with a .-inch (6-mm) round tip. Squeeze a little batter under the corners of the parchment to “glue” the parchment to the cookie sheet. Starting in the center of each circle, squeeze out spirals going around and around until your batter fills the drawn circle. Repeat for the second circle. If you have any batter left over, squeeze out some small, 1 to 1.-inch (2 to 2.5-cm), circles to make small macarons to use to decorate the cake. Let sit at room temperature 40 minutes.
PREHEAT OVEN to 300°F (150°C). Bake the cookies for 25 to 30 minutes, until they’ve puffed up and are solid when touched. Do not let the tops brown. Remove the cookies from the oven and let them cool completely. Do not remove the cookies from the parchment until you are ready to assemble the cake.
To finish the rose cream
WHIP the whipping cream until stiff. Whisk the rose water into the pastry cream. Fold in the whipped cream in three parts. Place the cream in the fridge for 20 minutes.
To assemble the cake
FIRST REMOVE each cookie from the parchment by peeling the parchment off the cookie, not the cookie off the parchment, which can cause it to break. Place the less pretty of the two cookies on a serving platter. When the cream has chilled, scoop it up and place it in the center of the cookie and spread it around, leaving a 1-inch (2.5-cm) border without cream, and reserving a tablespoon or two of cream to decorate the top. Place raspberries standing up on the border and pack them tightly next to each other. Press the sides of the berries gently into the cream.
SCATTER either more raspberries or the chopped litchis (or both) over the rose cream and press them in until they are mostly covered by the cream. Gently place the second cookie on top of the cream and fruit, top side up. Dip the small macarons into the cream and attach them vertically on top ofthe cake or assemble a few mini macaron cookies (use any leftover cream for the filling between the cookies) and place them on top of the cake. You can also use rose petals for decoration. Store in the fridge for up to two days.