FRIDAY FLASHBACK – Mastering macarons

Finally - cracked the macaron!!
Finally – cracked the macaron!!

So anyone who has been following this blog for a while knows that macarons have been my pastry nemesis.

I’ve tried a few times now and had total disasters, so my wonderful husband bought me a cooking class for Christmas and I’m chuffed to say that I am now the proud baker of perfect macarons.

I’m sure the recipe has a lot to do with it, and this one was based on Adriano Zumbo’s, removing the egg white powder.

However, some brilliant tips I picked up:

  • Use a recipe which has a sugar syrup base – you’re effectively making an Italian meringue which is always going to hold together better than whipped egg whites.
  • Add your food colouring to the sugar syrup to avoid affecting the consistency too much – use gel form if you can.
  • Stir the mix approximately 40 times to get the right consistency.
  • After piping, leave the macarons to sit for approximately 30 minutes for them to form their feet. This is pretty routine and you’ll find it in all recipes.
  • Note that all ovens are different so no recipe will work for everyone. Start at a low temperature (approx. 130C) and keep returning them to the oven if they are not ready. The first lot I did at this temperature took 36 minutes to bake, but I’ll now refine it and crank up the temperature until I find my perfect setting.
  • To test if they are ready, try lifting one off the baking paper and if it starts breaking away it’s not ready. Don’t discard the broken macaron because it will come back together in the oven.

Macarons

150g almond meal
150g pure icing sugar
75g water
150g caster sugar
2 lots of 55g egg whites

Sift together the almond meal and icing sugar – this forms the tant pour tant (TPT) which translates as “equal amounts”. Pour in one lot of egg whites.

Place the other lot of egg whites in a mixer. Create your sugar syrup by dissolving the caster sugar and water in a saucepan and letting it reach 118C.

Start whipping the egg whites and add the sugar syrup. Continue to whisk until you have a glossy meringue.

Add the meringue to the TPT, then stir approximately 40 times with a spatula. You’re looking for a consistency that is quite wet but eventually falls off the spatula – not in a clump, but kind of a ribbon.

Pipe onto baking trays and leave for 30 minutes to form a crust on top. You can test it with your finger – just make sure it doesn’t stick.

Bake for around 15 minutes at 140C (but as I said, trial your oven at a lower temperature first time you cook it to avoid burning them).

Leave to cool, then fill with flavoured ganache. I used rosewater white chocolate ganache for my pink macarons and passionfruit ganache for my yellow ones, made by folding passionfruit pulp into white chocolate ganache.

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