- 200 gm Almond Meal
- 200 gm pure Icing Sugar
- 60 gm of old egg whites (older eggs that have been separated and left out for at least 24hours)
- 60gms of egg whites (fresh)
- Food Colouring (aim for 5 drops)
- 160 gm Caster sugar
- 50 ml of Water
Are they So 2011?
Since Adrian Zumbo appeared on Masterchef in 2010, the hype surrounding Macarons in Australia has gone bonkers! Completely bonkers I say. And now, my fellow sugar addicts, you are asking me (via ESP) is it worth my shiny coins?
And the truth is, quite simply, yes! Because making macarons is the equivalent of running 20kms. You don’t do it unless you are crackers. Or to prove a point. Or unless you are running 20kms towards something lovely. Like a macaron store.
Paris, the city of amazing food, have the luxury of owning the two finest producers of macarons, (who happen to be located in close proximity to each other!) The first is Laduree, who has been creating these magnificent creations since 1862, and is a well known patisserie. I am lucky to say, I have tasted his creations and now can understand the line up and the price for one of his gems! The second, Pierre Hermes, who originally worked at Laduree, branched off to created his own store, which is equally as famous (depending on who you talk to). Many debate the question who is the better macaron King with most votes heading Pierre Hermes’ way, except Blair from Gossip Girl who is frequently referring to Laduree!
So my question is, are we going to get sick of them? Will there prestigious diminish due to the increasing supply?
Now For the Recipe
Takes a lot of effort!
The recipes for macarons vary quite dramatically and are sprawled across the internet. I set out to see if I could accomplish the art of macarons, and in the process developed a new flair for profanity. I made approximately 6 billion of which maybe 300 worked. In doing so, I think I may have just developed the best ever recipe.
FEET: The feet refers to the bottom airy ring around the macaron biscuit. The rise of the mixture when placed in the oven causes the stretch, otherwise known as the feet. The mixture won’t rise quick enough if the oven is too low, the mixture is too dense or wet.
CRACKS: A common problem seen in macarons- the best ways to defeat this issue is to:
a) ensure the oven is at the exact temperature
b) making sure the skin is formed before cooking
c) ensuring the mixture isn’t too wet
d) placing the tray on the second highest shelf
e) going down to Bunning’s and purchasing a tub of Shelley’s No Gaps. Although they may taste a little funny afterwards.
SKIN: After letting the macarons rest in a dry, warm area (30 mins – 1 hr), you should be able to touch them without getting any mixture stuck to your finger. A fully dry skin should form.
SHELL: Should have a hard shell on the outside but gooey on the inside, without any discolouration!
EGGS: the older the better, as they are more stretchy
INGREDIENTS: Macarons are based on almond meal- not the cheap substitute of coconut! The icing sugar should be in equal parts to the almond meal.
FILLING: Can either be a butter cream- the easiest, ganache, or jam – which you will need pectin to help set the jam without the overkill of the sugary taste!
EQUIPMENT: It is important to use a digital kitchen scale to measure out the exact weight of your ingredients. A candy or a digital thermometer is worth owning. Finally, you wouldn’t believe it but even the brand of baking paper makes a difference. After experimenting with different types, I prefer Multix baking paper.
Sounds easy? Well no, there are many factors which could affect how the macaron turns out. Mixture is too runny or dry, the meringue (beaten eggs) are not quite right, even humidity can stop the macarons from having the perfect feet. It will take a few attempts before you find the perfect temperature for your oven!
1. Combine the almond meal and icing sugar together and sift twice
2. Beat the old egg whites until soft peaks form
3. Meanwhile, put the sugar and water on the stove over medium to high heat, stir until the temperature reaches 118 degrees
4. Pour the sugar syrup into the egg whites (whilst still beating) and beat until firm peaks. The meringue should have a white, glossy shine.
5. Add the food colouring, beat until even colour
6. Add 1/3 of the egg white mixture with the fresh egg whites to the almond meal mixture and mix well (this is hard work!!)
7. Once combined add the remainder of the egg mixture and gently fold. The final mixture should take a few seconds to slide off a spatula, then be able to mix itself back into the rest of the batter.
8. Place mixture into piping bag and pipe 3-4cm rounds on trays lined with baking paper – a template is a great way to ensure similar size and line up beautifully when paired together.
9. Tap the tray on the bench a few times to remove any air bubbles.
10. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees
11. Once a dry skin is formed put macarons in the oven, turn the temperature down to 130 degrees and cook for 16-18 mins. The macaron should have a hard shell.
12. Leave to stand on the tray until cool.
Volia. Now add your favourite macaron filling- Adriano Zumbo’s filling is a perfect recipe to follow (not wanting to add to this blog for copyright reasons – although it is easily found on the internet under passionfruit ganache).