I love macarons and looking back, it’s thanks to these delicious, bite-size treats that I learnt how to bake. When I first came to Paris, I discovered Pierre Hermé. After one bite of his irresistible macarons, I was hooked. When I went back to Australia, I became obsessed with trying to recreate them. I failed more times than you could possible imagine – and yes, I had many child-like tantrums over this. Eventually, I mastered the important techniques required to make them and while they are still a long way from being a Pierre Hermé macaron, they are rather delicious. Today, I wanted to share with you all my recipe for Chocolate, Earl Grey Tea and Raspberry Macarons. It may sound like a strange combination but it works together really well.
If you happen to have a Kitchenaid Mini at home, I really recommend using it for this recipe. I recently became an Ambassateur for Kitchenaid and was incredibly fortunate to receive a huge package of different appliances. I couldn’t believe it! I’ve always dreamt of owning my own Kitchenaid, but after years of having to travel between France and Australia, it was a luxury my bank account couldn’t justify. Receiving this package was like all my Christmases arriving at once, and I can’t thank them enough for this opportunity. After playing around with my Mini Mixer, I understand why they hold such a good reputation. It really is a great product to work with, and it’s perfect for making macarons as you need to make a tiny quantity of Italian Meringue. A normal mixer wouldn’t be able to touch the small quantity of egg whites, but this mixer does the job perfectly. If you don’t have a Kitchenaid Mini, don’t stress, you could also use electric beaters or a good old whisk!
Tips for perfect macarons
Get to know your oven. It is rare to find an oven that has an accurate thermostat. My oven is 20°C colder than the temperature reads so I know I need to account for that when I preheat it. If you’re not sure, buy an oven thermometer and double check.
Invest in a silicon macaron mat like this one here. This will save you so much time and will result in perfectly round, even sized macarons.
Don’t rush the drying stage. After you have piped your macarons, it is crucial that you allow the shell to rest until you can touch it and it’s no longer sticky – a little like testing to see if your nail polish has dried. Depending on the weather, this can take anywhere from thirty minutes to two hours. If they haven’t dried enough they won’t develop their ‘feet’.
Blend your almond meal. This ensures that your macarons are perfectly smooth and slightly glossy. However, if you don’t mind rustic looking macarons you can skip this step.
Once the macarons have cooked, slide the mat or baking paper onto a damp surface. This will stop the cooking process and prevent them from drying out.
The most important step in making macarons is when you fold the meringue into the dry ingredients. You need to be careful not to over fold or under fold it. The mixture is the right consistency when it falls off the spoon/spatula in a thick ribbon. As it falls back into the rest of the mixture, the outline of the ribbon should be visible at first, but should then be incorporated into the remaining mixture after a few seconds.
Feeling confident? I think you’re ready to get started!!
For the Earl Grey Tea Whipped Ganache (Prepare the night before)
90g of dark couverture chocolate
110g of cream + 200g of cream
1 tbsp of sugar
3 Earl Grey Tea bags
For the macaron shells:
75 g ground almonds
75 g icing sugar
¼ tsp of cream of tartar
60 g egg whites
25 g water
92 g caster sugar
gel or powder food colouring
For the Raspberry compote
200g of frozen or fresh raspberries
20g of sugar
1 teaspoon of agar agar
The whipped Earl Grey Tea Ganache
In a small saucepan, gently bring the cream and sugar to a boil. Remove from the heat, add the tea bags, cover with plastic film and allow to infuse for half an hour. After 30 minutes have passed, remove the tea bags and reheat the cream.
Chop the chocolate into small pieces and place in a bowl. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and whisk until smooth and glossy. Add the remaining 200g of cold cream, whisk well and place in the fridge for at least several hours or overnight.
The next day, whip the ganache until stiff peaks form. Fit a piping bag with a start shaped tip and fill with the ganache.
For the macaron shells:
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Sift the almond meal and icing sugar into a large bowl. Add 30g of eggwhite and a drop of pink food colouring. Mix well. It will feel very dry at first, but keep mixing and you will have a thick paste. Set aside.
Next, make an Italien Meringue by bringing the sugar, water and pink food colouring to a boil. Continue to heat until the syrup reaches 118°C. Place the other 30g of eggwhite into the bowl of your Kitchenaid Mini and turn on to high speed. While the mixer is whisking the eggwhites, slowly pour in the hot syrup. Continue to beat until the meringue cools down to room temperature (approximately 5-10mins).
The next stage is the ‘macaronage’, the stage where you fold the almonds and icing sugar into the meringue. You have to be very careful not to overmix or undermix. For best results, use a spatula and vigorously stir in roughly ¼ of the meringue into the almond mixture. Mix really well to loosen it up. Fold in the next ¼ more delicately and continue gently folding until all the meringue is incorporated. The mixture is the right consistency when it falls off the spoon/spatula in a thick ribbon. As it falls back into the rest of the mixture, the outline of the ribbon should be visible at first, but should then be incorporated into the remaining mixture after a few seconds. If the mixture looks quite lumpy still, continue mixing. If it looks really runny, you’ve mixed too much and unfortunately, you’ll need to start again.
Transfer the mixture to a piping bag. Hold the piping bag vertically, about ½cm from the surface of the silicon mat. Pipe enough mixture so that it is a couple of mm from the outline of the template, the mixture will spread slightly.
Give each of the trays a firm tap on the counter top, this will flatten the peaks and bring any air bubbles to the surface. Break these air bubbles with a tooth pick.
Leave the macarons to rest until they are dry to the touch. The time could vary from anywhere between 15 minutes to two hours depending on the weather.
Place the macarons in the oven and bake at 180°C for 10 minutes. Once cooked, slide the macaron mat onto a damp surface and allow to completely cool before attempting to remove them.
The Raspberry Compote
Place all ingredients in a small saucepan. Slowly bring to a boil, using a wooden spoon to smash up the raspberries as it heats. Allow to boil for 2 minutes, then pour into a container and allow to cool.
Pipe a ring of ganache on half of the macarons shells. Add a small amount of raspberry compote in the centre and place another macaron shell on top. Decorate with gold leaf. Store in the fridge.