Yep, it's macarons! My first attempt at these fastidious little creatures was made last Summer, and, after searching through a larger number of sites, recipes, tips and videos than I care to disclose, I managed to make a few pretty good batches- some cocoa macarons and a couple of plain batches.
I returned to macaron-ing a little while ago, and then again a couple of weekends ago, trying out some new recipes. I had the most success from a french meringue recipe from Not So Humble Pie's blog.
This recipe calls for egg white powder, which you can find in most supermarkets- I used some from Dr. Oetker. This ingredient is important as it helps to stabilise the egg whites and reduce the probability of your macarons falling down any of the many pitfalls that await them.
A few important points:Don't skip the sifting of the ground almonds and icing sugar! It may seem a little tedious, but the tant pour tant must be very fine- the food processing isn't entirely necessary, but makes the sifting easier.
Weigh everything as accurately as possible.
Don't over mix- if you can't tell what "lava" in a bowl is meant to look like (who would?), fold until just incorporated- it's far better to under than over mix.
Don't over beat the meringue- keep it shiny and firm, not dry.
Hit the trays (very) firmly on a work surface.
Use gel, paste of powder colourings rather than liquid.
It really is best to make the macarons at least 24 hours in advance of serving to allow them to moisten and take on the flavour of the filling. The macarons should last for about a week in the fridge.
If you're adding colouring, add it just after your meringue forms soft peaks, then beat as you would (to firm, shiny peaks- the colouring should be incorporated by this stage).
Makes about 50
5g dehydrated egg white powder
28g granulated sugar
225g icing sugar
125g ground almonds
100g egg whites
1. Line two baking trays with baking paper and set aside.
2. Measure out the dehydrated egg white powder and granulated sugar into a little bowl and stir to combine, then set aside.
3. Grind the icing sugar and ground almonds together in a food processor and sift into a small-medium bowl.
4. In a large, clean, dry bowl of a freestanding mixer, whisk the egg whites until foamy and then sprinkle in the sugar and egg white powder while continuing to beat. Increase the speed of the mixer and keep whisking until a firm, glossy (but not stiff) meringue forms.
5. Using a soft spatula, fold in the almond-sugar mixture to the meringue in thirds, until fully amalgamated. Be cautious not to over mix, as you want the batter to flow off the spatula in a thick ribbon.
6. Transfer the batter to a piping bag with a plain nozzle (approximately 1cm diameter) and pipe round blobs (approximately 1-1½ inch diameter) onto the prepared baking trays. Firmly rap the trays against a counter top until the any air bubbles come to the surface- pop, with a cocktail stick, any which don’t burst. Leave the piped macarons for 30-60 minutes before placing into the lower half of a preheated oven (300F/150◦C/mark 2) for approximately 15 minutes.
7. Allow the macarons to cool on a wire rack before removing from the trays and sandwiches pairs of shells together with your choice of filling. Refrigerate and allow to mature for at least 24 hours.
White Chocolate Ganache
Makes about 50
250g white chocolate
110g double cream
1. Heat the cream in a small saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer. Chop the chocolate and transfer to a heat proof bowl.
2. Remove from the cream from the heat and pour it over the chocolate. Shake the bowl and set aside for about a minute before stirring to combine.
2. Allow the ganache to cool to room temperature before use. For sandwiching the macarons, pipe or spoon about a teaspoon onto the flat side of half the shells and gently press another shell on top, flat side facing in.