I’ve said goodbye to the dreary winter in the southern hemisphere and now happily back in beautiful sunny Paris (it’s not often you can put ‘sunny’ and ‘Paris’ in the same sentence but this week definitely presents rare opportunity). On the long journey over, I couldn’t help but dream of the delicious summer fruits overflowing from the market stalls that I could soon be gorging on. While I’m fond of sunset orange nectarines and plump juicy cherries, my all-time favourites are definitely the lipstick-red raspberries that are normally lined up in tiny doll-size cardboard baskets. The rareness of raspberries (along with their outrageous price tag) in South Australia, have always given them a luxurious quality and makes me appreciate them just that little more.
This is a recipe I’ve been eager to make for quite a while now, however, my inability to produce a half-decent macaron has always stopped me. Until recently I’ve had absolutely no luck in making them and gave up trying quite some time ago, that is, until a very kind Instagramer shared an excellent recipe with me. I wouldn’t go as far as to say that it’s foolproof, but it is definitely the best I’ve come across.
The recipe makes 6 delicious, large macarons filled with a creamy white chocolate and rose ganache surrounded by fresh raspberries. Adapted from: http://macarons.corteen.co.uk/p/italian-meringue-macaron-recipe.html
For the macarons
- 150 g ground almonds
- 150 g icing sugar
- 120 g egg whites (no need to age them)
- 50 g water
- 184 g caster sugar
- pink powder food colouring
For the filling
- 100g of white chocolate
- 170g of cream
- 2tsp of rose water
Enough raspberries to go around the exterior of 6 large macaronsPreheat the oven to 180°C. Line a tray with baking paper and trace circles 5cm in diameter. Make sure that you leave a gap between the circles. Prepare a second sheet, as all the macarons will not fit on one.Weigh out 60 g of egg whites and add the food colouring. Sift in the almond meal and icing sugar, it will feel very dry at first, but keep mixing and you should have a thick paste. The colour should be very vivid at this stage, as the addition of the Italian meringue will dull the colour considerably.
Next, make the sugar syrup – Add the caster sugar and 50 ml of water into a small saucepan and cook over a medium to low heat until the temperature reaches 118 C. There is no need to stir, I just give the pan a swirl every so often to pick up any bit of sugar stuck around the edge.
Once the sugar is at about 100 C, start beating the remaining 60g of eggwhite in a stainless steel bowl with an electric mixer. Once it starts to slightly bubble and stiffen and the sugar has reached 118°C, slowly start drizzling in the sugar while continuing to beat. Once all the sugar syrup has been added, continue beating until the meringue cools down to room temperature.
The next stage is the macaronage – the folding in of the almonds/icing sugar into the meringue. This is probably the most important part of making macarons and probably the easiest thing to get wrong. You want to knock out some, but not all, of the air out of the meringue. Overmix and the macarons will be difficult to pipe, will spread in the oven and won’t rise. Undermix and the tops of the macarons won’t be nice and smooth, and they’ll rise too much.
It takes a while to get used to what the right consistency should be, there is a definite element of trial and error. It’s always better to be cautious and undermix rather than over mix.
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.
Transfer the mixture to a piping bag. Hold the pipping bag vertically, about 1/2cm from the surface of the baking paper and pipe onto the baking trays. Pipe enough mixture so that it is a couple of mm from the outline of the template, the mixture will spread slightly. Once you’ve piped enough mixture lift the piping bag up quickly to give a peak which will gradually disappear into the rest of the mixture.
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 an hour depending on the weather.
Place one tray of the macarons in the oven and bake at 180°C for approximately 10-12 minutes. After 10 minutes remove one from the oven and check that it is cooked. The outside should have a crisp, delicate shell whilst still being slightly moist in the interior. Set aside while you prepare the filling.
For the filling
Break up the white chocolate into small pieces and set aside in a medium size bowl. In a small saucepan heat 100ml of the cream until it starts to boil. As soon as the first bubbles appear, remove from the heat and pour over the white chocolate. Stir until it is glossy and smooth, then stir in the rose water. Place in the fridge to cool.
In a separate bowl, whip the remaining 100ml of cream. Once the cream starts to thicken and the white chocolate mix has cooled, start to drizzle the white chocolate into the cream while continuing to beat with an electric beater. Do not try to beat the mixture until it is stiff because at this point the mixture will separate. After beating for a minute or two place in the fridge for at least an hour (or the freezer for 20mins).
Prepare your macarons by lining them up on a clean surface. Remove the filling from the fridge and whip again, this time until nice and thick. Fill a piping bag with the mixture and pip large blobs into the centre of the macarons. Place raspberries around the exterior and place the other macaron on top. I decorated mine with a single raspberry dusted with edible gold shimmer, but this isn’t really necessary.