June 01, 2012

Macarons


In life, we are always striving for perfection. Constantly we are comparing ourselves to others. 'Oh did you see -insert name- has a new car, it's a -insert expensive car brand name-'. What's the deal with that?! Why can't we be happy with what we've got? Be it on a relationship, job or emotional front.

Can I be frank with you? Everything in your life will feel like it is dusted in gold if you can make some pretty French Macarons. I'm not saying this is going to be an easy task but totally soul restoring and life affirming if all works out well!

I've done a bit of research on macarons, It seems a lot of freaking out is done on their behalf but not everything negative you've heard about making macarons is true. With a little bit of extra care and a bit of confidence you will own these macarons. I have given you a recipe that is so easy and there is nothing like the hard work that goes with Italian meringue or hot sugar syrup.


There are a few guidelines that you need to follow but once you follow them you should be coolbeans! Use room temperature egg whites, finely sieved ground almonds and icing sugar, gel food colouring rather then liquid and approach them with an air of confidence that would impress even Beyonc√©.

Macarons are so versatile. You could go all Heston Blumenthal.... Dye them bright green but have then flavoured with raspberry!!...but remember the perfect macaron should always be slightly crisp on the outside, chewy with a soft filling.

Little tip I discovered after cooking my macarons. The roasting trays that slot in and out of my oven worked much better than the regular shop bought baking trays. They conducted the heat better and sealed the bottom of the macarons. You really do learn something new everyday!

In this recipe I have given you a shop bought filling option or a homemade filling option..entirely up to you which you use. If you want to be totally awesome and fearless go with the homemade Bitter Chocolate and Orange Ganache Filling. If you feel like the macarons are winning go with the shop bought option: Lemon Curd and Raspberry Filling.

The recipe makes 100ish macaron shells which will give you 50ish macarons depending on the size you pipe them. You could make the recipe in one batch  giving you either 50 Lemon Curd and Raspberry Macarons or 50 Bitter Chocolate and Orange Macarons. Equally you could leave out the zest, make two half batches of plain macarons giving you 25 of each. If you opt to make 25 of each, it is important that you make two half batches, rather than making a full batch and dividing it in half because the measurements need to be precise.

They can be eaten straight away or made and placed in the fridge for 24 hours to set. Perfect if you are entertaining! Your guests will be so impressed they will wish they were you!!

Enjoy,

Holly x

Sieved ground almonds, icing sugar, room temperature egg whites, caster sugar, lemon zest, electrical whisk, piping bag and multiple spatulas.

Begin by whisking egg whites until fluffy...

...then add half your sugar...

...and whisk until soft peaks...


...then add the seconds half of sugar and whisk until stiff peaks and the sugar is dissolved.


Add lemon zest/orange zest and desired food colouring to the ground almonds and icing sugar.


Add the ground almond, icing sugar, colouring and zest mixture to whisked egg whites...

...begin folding in...

...smoothing out the top after each fold.

Continue folding and smooting the mixture until the colour comes through and falls off the spatula as in the above pic.


Fit a piping bag with a 1cm nozzle  and fold over your hand like so. Fill halfway with the macaron mixture.


Pipe the macarons (to about the size of a €2 coin) onto trays lined with parchment. Leave 1-2 inches between each macaroon as they will spread!!


Once you have finished piping bang the base of the trays on a hard surface to diffuse any air bubbles. Allow the macarons to sit at room temp until they no longer feel tacky. About 20 minutes-45minutes.
 

Cook at 140 C for 10-12 minutes. Look at the little 'feet' around the edges. Classic macaron!!

Using a piping bag or a spoon, pipe or spread on a small dollop of raspberry jam and surround with a ring of lemon curd. Read on for the Bitter Chocolate and Orange Ganache Filling. 


Arrange on a plate or pack into boxes lined with tissue paper as gifts!



Recipe

140g Egg Whites, room temp (approx 4 eggs)
180g Caster sugar, 90g + 90g
160g Icing Sugar
160g Ground Almonds
Food Colouring- gel, not liquid (I used orange and pink)
Lemon/ Orange Zest, optional

Sieve together the icing sugar and ground almonds to give you a total of 320g.
Place in a bowl and add your zest if using and a small amount of gel food colouring. More can be added.
Weigh out your egg whites into a clean bowl.
Weigh out your sugar into two bowls of 90g each.
With an electric hand whisk begin whisking your egg whites until they begin to go fluffy and foamy.
Slowly add 90g of sugar and whisk until soft peaks form.
Once soft peaks form, slowly add the second 90g of sugar until stiff peaks form and the sugar is dissolved.
To check if sugar is dissolved take a small amount of meringue mixture in between you thumb and index figure and rub, if it feels grainy keep whisking.
Add the icing sugar, ground almond, zest and food colouring to the stiff egg whites.
Begin folding in until until the mixture falls of the spatula.
Fill a piping bag, fit with  a 1cm nozzle.
Holding the piping bag vertically pipe €2 coin sized rounds onto baking trays lined with parchment, 1-2 inches apart.
Bang on a hard surface, if any air bubbles rise, burst them.
Allow to sit out for 20 minute-45 minutes or until they no longer feel tacky.
Cook in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes.
You know they are cooked when you touch one and it doesn't move under the pressure of your hand. If it feels like a squishy, cook more.
Remove from oven, allow to cool completely on thetray before filling and sandwiching!


Lemon Curd and Raspberry Filling

1 Pot Favourite Raspberry Jam
1 Pot Favourite Lemon Curd

Bitter Chocolate and Orange Ganache Filling

200g Dark Chocolate
200g Cream
1 Large Orange, Zested

In a pot pour the cream and add the orange zest.
Heat and bring just to the boil but do not allow to boil.
Turn off heat.
Cover the pot tightly in cling film and allow to infuse for 30 minutes - 1 hour.
Once infused, reheat.
Chop the chocolate into small pieces and place in a bowl.
Once the cream is reheated, pour through a strainer over the chocolate  to catch the zest.
Stir the chocolate until melted and well combined.
Place in a piping bag (or bowl) and then into the fridge until set, approx 1 hour.
Remove from fridge and once ready, pipe or spread onto macarons and sandwich together!

2 comments:

  1. Holly, your macarons turned out perfectly. Have often sat staring into the the oven willing the 'feet' to start taking shape when making macarons and then doing a happy dance if they do!
    Adrienne

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks Adrienne. Macaron making is always a little nerve racking!

    ReplyDelete