The macaron-loving sister decided to pop in last weekend, and with some egg-whites handily sitting on the kitchen bench (having used the egg yolks for some other concoction), I thought what better time to make macarons?
I hadn’t made macarons in SUCH a long time (can it really be 14 months??), that I thought I’d better make some before I forgot how to. And, I’m SO glad I did, as this was definitely the best batch I’ve managed to make so far. Whether I somehow managed to appease the macaron gods, or whether I’m actually starting to get the hang of it, I’m not sure. All the same, I won’t start singing my macaron-making praises too quickly just in case the next batch bombs!
On this occasion, I used Beth’s Foolproof French Macarons recipe. I’ve had it saved for years and have watched Beth’s instruction video a hundred times, so figured it was high time I actually tried it. And, I’m happy to report that the recipe’s a good’un, though (sadly) the buttercream, with its added raspberry juice, split. According to Beth’s blog, this is probably the result of not having all the ingredients at the same temperature, or adding the juice in too quickly. Another lesson (#563) learned.
Split buttercream aside, I was thrilled with my pretty-in-pink macarons and will probably stick with this basic recipe and method from now on, though I might try reducing the amount of icing sugar in the cookie from 200g to 175g, as I found it just a bit too sweet. And, I’ll probably slightly increase the amount of buttercream as well, as there was barely enough to fill the macaron shells, let alone lick out of the bowl (and you seriously have to question the logic behind that!). Enjoy!
- 3 egg whites (mine weighed 100g), at room temperature, preferably 'aged'
- 2ml (1/4 teaspoon) cream of tartar
- Pinch of salt
- 50g (1/4 cup) caster (superfine) sugar
- A few drops of pink gel food colouring
- 200g (2 cups) icing sugar (confectioner's sugar)
- 120g (1 cup) almond flour (ground almonds)
- 150g (1 cup) fresh raspberries (or you can use defrosted frozen raspberries), worked through a sieve to extract 3 tablespoons of puree
- 60g (1/4 cup) salted butter
- 75g (3/4 cup) icing sugar (confectioner's sugar)
- Preheat oven to 150C (300F) degrees.
- Tip egg whites into bowl of electric mixer and beat at moderate speed until foamy. With the beater still going, add the salt and cream of tartar. Turn the speed to high and start adding the caster sugar in a tablespoon at a time and continue to beat until the sugar has dissolved (feel the mixture between your finger tips) and the mixture is stiff and glossy.
- Now add a few drops of food colouring (be aware the colour fades somewhat as it bakes, so you might want to make it stronger than you want), and beat to combine.
- Now put the almond flour and icing sugar into a food processor and pulse a few times to reduce the size of the almond grounds (this step isn't absolutely essential, but is useful if you want a smooth macaron).
- Sift the almond meal and icing sugar and salt, discarding any almond bits that are too big to pass through the sieve and stir to combine.
- Now sift half of the almond/sugar mix into the egg white mixture and fold until just combined.
- Then sift the remaining almond/sugar mix into the mixture and continue to fold, using a ‘fold-pat down’ motion through the middle of the mixture (I flatten the mixture around the sides of the bowl as I go to deflate the air in the mixture). Take it to a lava-like consistency where the dripping mixture settles slowly back into the mix in around 20-30 seconds. It’s better to slightly under-mix than over-mix, as the piping process continues to work the mixture.
- Put half the mixture at a time into a piping bag (use a half inch opening or tip) and pipe onto two trays lined with baking paper or silicone baking sheets. Hold the piping bag vertical over the tray about an inch and pipe the mixture out in one ‘dollop’ rather than a circular motion. Keep a good space between each mixture, as it will flatten out a little.
- Once done, rap trays 3 times on the bench firmly to bring any bubbles to the surface (this prevents cracking) and then pop any remaining bubbles with a toothpick.
- Leave the tray out to ‘dry’ for about 30-60 minutes – find a warm place if your kitchen is cold or drafty (this step is vital for the macarons to develop feet). The macarons are ready to bake when you can gently touch the mixture and it doesn’t stick to your finger.
- Bake one tray at a time in the oven for 20 minutes. To check whether they’re done, very lightly touch the top of a macaron – if it’s still wobbly or slides on the feet, give it another minute or two. They’re done when they feel firm and the feet themselves don’t compress when they are lightly touched. And, if you lift one of the macarons gently, they should just start to pull away from the paper without sticking.
- Take out and place tray on wire rack to cool and dry out further. Don’t take the macarons off the baking paper while they’re cooling, or they may stick.
- Once cool, remove macarons and, if not using immediately, store them carefully on baking paper in a sealed plastic container. The shells can be stored for several days.
- Take the raspberries and, using a silicon spatula, press them through a sieve in order to get a puree. Take out 3 tablespoons of puree and put aside.
- In a bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter until pale and fluffy.
- Take out 2 tablespoons of icing sugar and put aside and, at low speed, add the rest a little at a time.
- Add the raspberry puree to the buttercream (in a thin steady stream), and beat at low speed until combined.
- Add the extra 2 tablespoons of icing sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, and beat until combined (adding this extra sugar in at the end will bring the buttercream together if it has split).
- Transfer the buttercream to a small pastry bag, fitted with a small round tip.
- Pair up matching sized macaron shells. Pipe a small mound of filling onto the centre of the bottom of one of each pair, top with the other shell and press gently down.
- Place filled macarons in the fridge and cover lightly with plastic wrap – they are better if you leave them for at least a day as the texture becomes softer and the flavours amalgamate.
- If not eating right away, keep refrigerated.
Food Photography Info: Canon 550D (EOS Rebel T2i); Sigma 30mm 1.4 DC ‘Art’ lens / Natural lighting