The Marvellous Macaron
Call me arrogant, but this is by far the best recipe for macarons I have ever come across. I think they rival (if not outdo) the macarons of one of my all time heroes Adriano Zumbo http://adrianozumbo.com/ and have left everyone I’ve ever known to taste them wanting more.
I’m not going to lie, Macarons require patience, practise and dedication but like all good things, they are worth the effort.
The four key steps that I would strongly recommend for creating the perfect macaron are:
- Use aged egg whites – you might things ‘gross’ – but trust me, aged egg whites work best – I would suggest leaving egg whites out at least overnight before using them (I think this has something to do with reducing moisture).
- Leave the macarons to sit for at least 20mins piped on trays before baking.
- Use heavy/industrial baking trays (alternatively stack two trays together to ‘create’ a heavy tray)
- Make and assemble the macarons two days prior to eating (this creates a perfect balance between texture and flavour).
The best thing about macarons – your imagination is the limit in terms of flavours and colours. But – beware the sugar hit!
Basic Macaron Batter
Makes about 2 doz
2/3 cup (85g) ground almonds
1 ½ cups (150g) pure icing sugar
3 large aged egg whites, at room temperature
5 tbsp (65g) caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract – or other flavouring of preference
Colouring of preference
Prep: If you want perfectly sized macarons I would suggest that you draw circles (about 2.5cm in diameter) on the underside of the baking paper, spacing them at least 1.5cm apart.
- Process almonds and icing sugar together to a fine mixture. Sift mixture through a medium-mesh sieve twice.
- In a mixing bowl, beat egg whites on high speed until foamy. Gradually add the caster sugar and beat until stiff glossy peaks form. Add vanilla/flavouring and colour and stir lightly.
- Add ½ the sifted almond mixture, stir with spatula. Add the remaining mixture in a light circular motion.
- Press and spread out the batter against the bowls sides. Scoop the batter from the bottom and turn it upside down about 15 times. When the batter becomes nicely firm and drips slowly as you scoop it the mixture is done.
- Attach a 1cm tip to the pastry bag. Twist the bag at the tip to prevent the batter from leaking out. Pour batter into bag, clip the top to prevent batter from coming out.
- Pipe batter onto centre of circles on the baking paper (batter will spread). Rap the trap firmly against the counter. Dry batter at room temperature, uncovered, for at least 20 minutes (avoid rainy days). No tips should be seen in the circles.
- Place oven racks in the centre of the oven. Preheat oven to 120 degrees Celsius.
- Use heavy trays or double trays (stack 2 trays together) and put macarons into the oven for 15-18 minutes. Rotate trays mid way.
- If the insides of the macarons are still soft after 15 mins, lower temperature to 100 degrees C and cover the tray with aluminium foil and bake for another 2-3 minutes. The macarons should come off the baking paper easily.
- Cool macarons on the trays.
- Once cool, assemble macarons by joining two circles together with a filling.
NB: Alternative flavours for meringues:
a) Coconut – add 2 tbsp (30g) dry coconut powder to the almond powder mix prior to processing.
b) Green tea – add 1 tsp matcha to the almond powder mix prior to processing. Add green food colouring to glossy meringue (do not over mix).
c) Raspberry – add 2tbsp (30g) dried raspberries, ground in a food processor, to the almond powder mix prior to processing. Add red food colouring to glossy meringue (do not over mix).
Macarons can be filled with almost anything, whipped cream, jam, lemon curd, butter cream, or ganache (my favourite). Below are some recipes you may wish to use.
Dark Chocolate ganache
100ml thickened cream
100g dark chocolate, chopped
- Bring cream to the boil. Add cream to chocolate, mix slowly with a whisk. Cool.
White chocolate and rose ganache
100ml thickened cream
100g white chocolate, chopped
1 tsp rose water
- Bring cream to the boil. Add cream to chocolate, mix slowly with a whisk. Add rose water. Cool.
Passionfruit butter cream (Makes enough for 45 macarons)
7 tbsp (100g) unsalted butter
3 tbsp (40ml) water
3 tbsp (40g) granulated sugar
3.5 tbsp (50g) passionfruit
- Cut butter into pieces 5mm thick and place them in a heat-resistant bowl. Heat in the microwave (500W) for 10 seconds.
- Take the bowl out of the microwave and check the hardness of the butter. If the pieces are soft enough for your fingers to press into them, the butter is done. If they are still hard, heat them for another 5 seconds.
- Stir the bitter with a spatula until it becomes smooth and creamy like mayonnaise.
- Put water and sugar together in a bowl and stir well. Heat in microwave for 1 minute. Stir until dissolved. Heat for another 4 minutes. Stir.
- Scoop some syrup with a spoon and drop it into a small amount of water. Then try to scoop the syrup out of the water and make a ball with it using fingers. If you can do this, the syrup has the right density.
- While heating the syrup, beat egg lightly with a mixer.
- Pour the syrup like a thread into the egg and beat at high speed. Reduce the speed to medium and then to slow, and continue beating until the bottom of the bowl is no longer hot, and the mixture becomes white and heavy.
- Divide the butter prepared in step 3, adding it to the syrup in two or three batches. Beat with a hand mixer at medium speed each time you add the butter. When the butter is well mixed , the process is done. (During this process bubbles may appear – keep beating).
- Stir a drop or two of vanilla extract into the mixture. When the mixture is well stirred, it is done. Wrap leftover of cream with plastic wrap and place in freezer – it can be kept for at least a month.