Macarons with Chocolate Raspberry Ganache
The macaron took me a while to fall in love with. At first I just adored the way they looked. Too cute to eat. Big macarons, small macarons, yellow macarons, pink macarons, ice cream macarons, cheesecake macarons. While living in Paris pretending to learn French I discovered these multi-coloured pretty little things in Patisserie windows on every block and corner. But they are SO SWEET! Sweeter than ten roshogollas doused in sugar syrup. And with every little macaron I popped into my mouth, the more I wanted. In every colour imaginable. The slight nutty flavour, crisp outer layer, fluffy chewy meringue-y texture, a gooey ganache sandwiched within and overall cuteness makes the damn thing so addictive.
While eating macarons is fun, making them is far from. Why is it so difficult? Scouring through numerous recipes online I came across 3 adaptations of Pierre Herme (Mr Macaron Extra-Ordinaire). Some called for 4 eggs matured overnight (ie. left out on a kitchen counter), while others said 3 matured over 48 hours (uhh…gross). What got me more excited was a lot of the recipes had comments from people claiming they got it right the first time round, complete with pretty little “feet” (the little crinkly skirt at the base of a macaron layer). LIES!
So my first attempt – 4 eggs matured overnight + baked on thin-based baking trays. What a disaster. Half of them burnt, half of them lame, flat and floppy. All feetless. The batter was too runny and not “magma-like” as it supposedly should be. I didn’t even bother making the filling as the macarons weren’t worth dressing up.
OK, no pain no gain, Rome wasn’t built in a day and all that. I tried again. This time I let 3 eggs mature over the whole weekend and used heavy based baking trays. The batter, again, wasn’t like magma. Nor was it like cake dough (I suppose cake dough is a bit like magma? I don’t know. I’ve actually never seen magma). It was quite a lot more dense and stiff than in the last attempt and as it looked so different I felt a bit more confident. After baking them, even though there were no feet this time either and they were wrinkly and bumpy, they tasted closer to what a macaron should taste like.
I’m still grumpy about no feet appearing and the bumpy-ness, but I’m going to call time-out and chill over a cuppa and some of my macaron babies.
Macaron Recipe (adapted from Pierre Herme)
140g ground almond
250g icing sugar (I used caster, maybe that’s why my batter got a grainy texture?)
3 eggs at room temp, matured over 48 hours
3 drops red food colouring (to make them pink)
1) Using a 10p coin (roughly 1 inch in diameter) draw circles spaced an inch or two away from each other with a pen on baking parchment torn to the size of baking trays. Make 3 of these. Flip them over (pen drawing side down) onto the baking trays.
2) Preheat oven to 180C.
3) Sift ground almond and icing sugar twice and mix well in a big mixing bowl.
4) In a separate bowl, whisk egg white till they are white and foamy. Add in the food colouring and turn the speed up to high and whip them just until they are firm but still glossy and supple forming stiff peaks. 5) Fold in the dry ingredients gently into the whites in three or four additions with a rubber spatula. It’s supposed to look like “magma”, but mine didn’t 😦
6) Spoon mixture into a piping bag fitted with a plain large nozzle (I only have patterned nozzles. This probably didn’t help the look of my macarons). Pipe into small rounds onto 10p outlines on parchment paper. Rest piped macarons for an hour to form skins over them.
7) Bake for 10-12 minutes leaving the oven door ajar by a bit (wadge a wooden spoon in there to keep it a bit open). Swap the macarons around the different oven layers mid-way, and swap sides to get even baking. By not doing this I burnt my first batch.
8) Remove macarons from the parchment – they should be removed as soon as they come from the oven. I peeled them off after letting them rest for about 30 seconds and some of it had bits stuck to the parchment. Apparently to pull them off smoothly, you will need to create moisture under the macarons by pouring a little hot water under the paper and letting rest for a bit before peeling the macarons off the paper.
9) Sandwich with ganache, jam, or ice cream.
Chocolate Raspberry Ganache Recipe
300g dark cooking chocolate
1/3 cup double cream
12 raspberries, blended to a puree (I used frozen ones)
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp corn starch
Melt chocolate with the cream in a bain-marie. Once melted, stir in the raspberry puree and butter till the butter melts and is well mixed in. Sprinkle over the corn starch and mix well again. Let cool to room temp till it thickens.
This ganache is rather bitter sweet so for a sweeter tooth I’d stick in some more sugar.