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Food and Recipes

making macarons

The recipes below are from one of France's leading cooks whose speciality is exquisite desserts.

Discover macaron recipes – perfect for summer parties

This is the place to create two shell macarons perfectly – the latest in fashion and the ones everyone talks about.

Now do you remember the principle? If you have already mastered the technique of

delicious macarons using another recipe, do you really need to try another one? The recipes here may just surprise you.

On the other hand, if you are lacking experience or if the idea of Italian meringue is daunting, or if you don’t own a reliable sweet thermometer [they can be purchased from all good cook shops] then don’t worry, this recipe is for you.

Begin with classic macarons and you should obtain excellent results. This method is not only the fastest, but the most efficient. You can test out and learn to gauge your oven’s reliability.

 

Basic meringue recipe

110grams egg whites [several days old, brought to room temperature the night before]

225g powdered sugar

125g of finely crushed almonds [or hazelnuts] toasted for 10 minutes at 150° oven [allow to cool]

30g granulated sugar,

1/2tsp powdered food colouring.

 

Preheat oven to 145°/150° [for small macarons], 160°/170° [for large macarons], preheat smooth baking sheet at the same time.

 

Mix/pulse or sift together the powdered sugar and finely crushed powdered almonds using a food processor.

Beat egg whites, beginning slowly until they form a peak, add 2 drops of lemon juice and a pinch of salt bring to a foam like texture then progressively add the sugar.

At the end of this stage, add 1/2tsp of selected food colouring.

Add half of the powdered sugar and nuts to the beaten egg whites and mix well using a rubber spatula or a “corne” [a half moon plastic disk] using a bottom to top movement starting from the centre of the mixing bowl. Once the mixture is well blended, add the remaining powder and continue to blend together. This is called ‘macaronner’.

The mixture should be firm and glossy; it should be pliable but not too runny. You should at this stage be able to form a ribbon.

Using a silicon paper covered perforated baking sheet, pipe out the macarons in regular, alternate rows.

Place filled sheets onto hot baking sheets in preheated oven without air drying 13 minutes for small macarons and a few more minutes for large macarons. Let cool before removing the macarons from the baking sheets.

If you use silicone paper, the cookies should detach easily, there is no need to moisten the paper to prevent sticking.

An interesting technique is to slightly press the inside of the macaron shell, using your thumb to lightly indent the still warm macaron. This enables you to fill the shell without spillage.

Baking times are approximate, adjust in accordance to your oven, its quirks and reliability. Depending on the humidity of the weather, it is sometimes necessary to let the piped out macaron mixture airdry for 40 mins to 1 hour or more. I do not air dry the mixture…. However if you encounter crackling problems or unevenness of edges, Try this out! The above quantity results in 120 macaron shells or 60 assembled macarons.

Macarons can be frozen. My preference is to freeze the macaron shells only, then fill them Prior to defrosting, 48 hours before tasting.

 

Italian meringue recipe

2 X 40g of eggs whites

25g granulated sugar

100g of finely ground almonds

100g of icing sugar.

 

Syrup: 100grams sugar and 35g water.

Preheat oven to 145°/150° placing one or more baking sheet– depending on your oven size.

Sift together or quickly process in food processor the powdered sugar and ground almonds.

Beat slowly 40 grams of room temperature egg whites adding 25grams of sugar, until the form peaks. Meanwhile heat the 100grams of sugar and 35grams of water to 110°. Do not stir.

Slowly pour the syrup in a thin stream onto the egg whites beating at medium speed and continue the beating until they have cooled down to 40°C, approximately 10 minutes.

Mix together the 40grams of non beaten egg whites with the sifted powders, add the food colouring then fold in half of the Italian meringue mixture using a rubber spatula employing the ‘macaronner’ technique, from bottom to top from the centre of the bowl, add second half and continue to ‘macaronner’.

Fill piping bag with 10mm smooth tip and pipe onto perforated baking sheet covered with baking parchment or silicone paper. Bake 13 minutes – more or less depending on the reliability of your oven- Macaronner = Working the mixture using rubber spatula or half moon plastic disk to make it more pliable, using a bottom from top movement starting from the centre of mixing bowl. It should be smooth and glossy, supple but not runny.

This amount should result in approximately 60/70 macaron shells, or 30/35 completed macarons.

 

Why use old egg whites ??

For recipes when egg whites are not cooked, such as chocolate mousse, very fresh egg whites should be used, just separated from the yolks. However for meringues, macarons and other cookies, it is preferable to use egg whites separated for at least 3 or 4 days prior to baking. You should keep them chilled in the ‘fridge in a sealed container and bring them to room temperature the day before or a few hours prior using them. Overly fresh egg whites will rise well at first, then have a tendency to become grainy –thus falling apart. They will be fragile and will collapse once baked.

“Egg whites, broken by being chilled, or even frozen, will be more liquid, will remain smooth and not spread out during the baking process.” [source Pierre Hermé]

Why must the syrup reach 110°??

Italian meringue recipes often state that the syrup must reach a temperature of117°. If this works for you, don’t change a thing. (At the Valrhona School of Chocolate, the method taught in classes is to obtain a syrup at 110° for macarons). The most crucial point is that the syrup reaches this temperature. If your egg whites are not totally beaten at this point, continue beating, the syrup can wait a few moments. However, if your whites are ready before the syrup reaches temperature, do not stop the processor and leave it running at slow speed.

Simple Ganache:

60 grams of fruit pulp or 35 grams of pistachio paste, black sesame paste, a large Tbs of instant coffee, 65 grams of double cream, 140 grams of Ivoire Valrhona (can be bought in Selfidges) Green & Blacks or good quality white chocolate. Melt the chocolate over a double steamer, add the whipping cream bring to  boil 3 times, emulsifying with rubber spatula, and then add selected fruit pulp. Dilute pistachio paste, sesame or coffee in the hot cream before emulsifying. Let set at room temperature. Garnish the macarons two by two with selected filling.

Whipped Ganache :

50 grams + 125 grams of 35% whipping cream, 8 grams acacia honey, 105 grams of white chocolate, 1Tbs instant coffee [or pistachio paste, black sesame etc.]

The day before: bring 50 grams of whipping cream and honey to a boil, into which you may dissolve the coffee, pistachio or sesame paste or an infused perfumed tea. Emulsify adding in 3 times to the just melted white chocolate base over a double boiler. Let cool and add 125 grams of chilled whipping cream.

Keep  cold in the refrigerator overnight. The following day whip until firm.

You may vary the flavours according to your own taste.

Other fillings:

Depending on your taste, you can fill the macaron shells with a mousse-like flavoured cream, jelly or jam, softened 50% fruit flavoured almond paste or marzipan, lemon curd, a mascarpone mousse, whipped cream, crushed fruit bits or spices.

Do not forget to fill the shells 2 days before tasting. Keep chilled in the ‘fridge but do not store in sealed container as this could cause condensation leading to over-softened macarons. Bring to room temperature a good hour before serving.

Food colouring :

Use preferably good quality food colouring either powdered or paste. Liquid colouring has a tendency to modify the mixture structure.

Look for good addresses and hints under the heading of “Bons Plans” on the home page of this blog, if you live in France !!!!

Enjoy !

Sunday, 12 July 2009    Section: Food and Recipes
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