FOR THE MACARONS
90g egg whites that have been aged and brought up to room temperature
220g confectioner’s sugar
120g almond meal (or hazelnut meal) roasted in a 150°C oven for 10 minutes and allowed to cool
25g granulated sugar
1/4-1/2 tablespoon of powdered food coloring of your choice (avoid liquid food colorings as they change the consistency of the batter)
FOR THE GANACHE FILLING
140g Valrhon’s brand 35% white chocolate
65g heavy cream
60g of fruit purée, or 35g of pistachio paste, or black sesame paste, or 1 tablespoon of instant coffee
Place a baking sheet in the oven and preheat at 145°/150°C for small macaroons, 160°/170°C for large ones.
Use the pulse mecanism on your food processor to blend together the confectioner’s sugar and the almond meal, making sure that they don’t overheat. Sift this mixture.
Beat the egg whites until firm with 2 drops of lemon juice and a pinch of salt, allow them to foam and add the granulated sugar bit by bit. Before you finish beating the meringue, add the coloring.
Pour half of the almond mixture onto the meringue, and incorporate it with a spatula by starting from the middle of the bowl and moving upwards and out. When the mixture becomes homogenous add the rest of the almond meal and sugar and repeat the same process.
The batter should be a shiny, smooth, pliable, quasi-liquid mixture that resembles magma. Pipe out your shells in staggered rows at regular intervals on perforated baking sheets that you have covered with a silicone-lined baking paper. You should use a pastry bag with a 10 mm tip for this.
Place the shells into the oven on the heated baking sheet. Cooking time is about 13 minutes for small shells, but if you are making large macarons they will need a few extra minutes. Let them cool slightly before removing them from the baking sheet.
If you use a silicone-lined baking paper , the shells should pop right off, no need to entice them by slipping moisture underneath!
I suggest at this point that you make a small indentation on the bottom of each shell. This makes it much easier to fill them later on.
Cooking times will obviously vary according to the oven.
Due to certain atmospheric conditions or supernatural causes, perhaps you find it necessary to leave the piped shells out for an hour before baking to help the outer crust develop. We, on the other hand, don’t; but maybe you should give this method some thought if you consistently end up with macarons that are cracked or have no collar.
Macaroons freeze well. However, we recommend freezing the unfilled shells and then filling them—without defrosting—48 hours before serving.
Why use aged egg whites?
For macarons it is better to use egg whites that you separate from their yolks 4 or 5 days prior to baking. Once you separate the whites, refrigerate them in an airtight container and bring them up to room temperature the day before—or at least a few hours before—baking. Egg whites that are too fresh will start off okay in a meringue, but as you beat them they will become grainy and fall apart. They will be fragile and collapse if you try to bake them. Egg whites that you shock by placing in the fridge or freezer will be more liquid, smooth, and won’t spread out when you cook them.
SIMPLE GANACHE FILLING
Melt the chocolate in a double boiler, bring the heavy cream to a boil, incorporate the cream into the chocolate with a spatula. Add the fruit pulp. For the other flavorings, mix them into the cream before you add it to the chocolate. Allow the ganache to cool and refrigerate so that it thickens to a spreadable consistency. Garnish the macarons with the ganache by sticking 2 shells together. Depending on your taste you can garnish your macarons with a flavored pastry cream, jelly or jam, Lemon Curd, a mascarpone mousse, whipped cream, pieces of fruit or spices…
Don’t forget to garnish your macarons 2 days before you plan on eating them. Keep them in the fridge and bring them to room temperature at least 30 min prior to serving.
Pairs Well With
Making beautiful macarons is not difficult, but it is demanding. You will need organisation, the right tools, high-quality ingredients and time - you can’t on a whim decide to whip some up as an afternoon snack. But succeeding in baking them perfectly smooth on top with a "collar" at the base is definitely worth the trouble!
Submitted by: "Isabelle Kiefer, Raphaelle Marchi and Colette Powell"