The Macaron. Crunchy, yet pillowy, smooth, yet chewy. It is only the French with their heritage of confectionery who can dream up such a wonderful combination of tastes and textures within a one-bite cookie.
Much more than its Wikipedia definition…
A macaron (/ˌmɑːkəˈrɒn/ mah-kə-ROHN; French pronunciation: [makaʁɔ̃]) is a French sweet meringue-based confection made with egg white, icing sugar, granulated sugar, almond powder or ground almond, and food colouring. The macaron is commonly filled with ganache, buttercream or jam filling sandwiched between two cookies. The name is derived from the Italian word macarone, maccarone or maccherone, the meringue.
… the macaron is a symbol of both sophistication and child-like delight. And although so very easy to enjoy, anyone who is not a pastry chef and who has tried his or her hand at making these at home will tell you that they are a challenge to perfect.
To get them just right, you need to measure perfectly, follow the recipe to the T and make sure you are in the right state of mind. According to Chef Pieter: “Macarons do not react well to stress or anxiety. Rather listen to music radio or whistle a tune and embrace the pastry chef within!”
When you are ready emotionally, get the ingredients together and try your hand at these delightful French treats. And talking about all things French, why not pour yourself a glass of wine when you sit down with your batch of macarons? We find that our recently released 2014 Culinaria Pinot Noir, beautifully echoes both the delicate nature of the macaron as well as its tangy blue berry filling.
Macaron Recipe for Bastille Weekend
4 large egg-whites
70 g caster sugar
230 g icing-sugar
120 g ground almonds, plus 3 teaspoons
Pinch of salt
A few drops of purple food colouring, depending on how light or dark the macarons are wanted.
Makes approximately 40 shells or 20 filled macarons.
Preheat the oven to 150 °C.
Place the egg-whites and caster sugar in a bowl and mix with electric mixer until stiff enough to turn the bowl upside down without the contents falling out. Continue to whip for 1 to 2 more minutes.
Add the food colouring and continue to mix for a further 20 seconds.
Sift the ground almonds and icing-sugar and salt twice, discarding any almond lumps that are too big to pass through the sieve.
Fold into the egg-white mixture (it should take roughly 30 to 50 folds, using a rubber spatula).
The mixture should be smooth and very viscous; not runny. Over-mix will cause the macarons to be flat and have no foot, while, with under-mix, they will not be smooth on top.
Pipe onto trays lined with baking paper, rap trays on the bench firmly (this prevents cracking) and then bake in the oven for 20 minutes.
Check if one macaron comes off the tray fairly cleanly.
If not, bake for a little longer (be sure to use NON-stick baking-paper, otherwise the macarons will stick.)
100 g cream
200 g chocolate, finely chopped (use white chocolate if you like it sweet, milk or dark chocolate if you prefer it less sweet)
100 g blue berry puree
Bring the cream to the boil in a sauce-pot. Remove from the heat and add the white chocolate.
Allow to melt. Add the blue berry puree and place in the fridge to cool.
Use as a filling for the macarons.
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