Stylish, picture-perfect and delicious, macarons are the ultimate in pretty sweet treats.
Adaptable to any colour scheme or flavouring, these delicate little fancies make the perfect gift or centrepiece for a smart afternoon tea. This gorgeous book gives you step-by-step instructions on how to master the basic macaron recipe so that you always get a crisp exterior, chewy cookie, and flavoursome filling.
Flavours to enjoy include salted caramel, pistachio, lemon, cappuccino, cherry and chocolate, malted milk chocolate, and raspberry and passion fruit.
Once mastered, you can try your hand at the beautifully decorated macarons, from pandas to flowers, caterpillars to Chinese lanterns, bumblebees to tennis balls, these stunning and playful designs will delight and thrill at any occasion.
White chocolate & raspberry macarons
Lightly dip the bristles of a clean toothbrush into liquid food colouring. Using your fingertips, ‘flick the bristles over uncooked macarons for a Jackson Pollock effect.
1 quantity Basic Macarons recipe (see below )
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
red liquid food colouring
½ quantity White Chocolate Ganache (see below)
200 g/1½ cups fresh raspberries
2 solid baking sheets lined with baking parchment
a clean toothbrush
a piping bag, fitted with a star-shaped tip
34 CLASSIC MACARONS
Prepare the Basic Macarons mixture according to the recipe on page 6, adding the vanilla extract to the meringue mixture in Step 4.
Pipe rounds of mixture onto the prepared baking sheets. Tap the baking sheets sharply on the work surface. Trickle a little red food colouring onto a saucer, then dip the clean toothbrush into it. Flick the bristles over the macarons so that they are flecked with red.
Leave the macarons to rest for 15 minutes 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 170°C (325°F) Gas 3.
Bake the macarons in the preheated oven, one sheet at a time, for 10 minutes. Leave to cool on the baking sheet.
Fill the piping bag with the White Chocolate Ganache and pipe 4 rosettes near the edge of half the macaron shells. Place a raspberry between each rosette and sandwich with the remaining macaron shells. Leave to rest for 30 minutes before serving.
This basic macaron recipe is ideal for the beginner. Use it to make all the Classic Macaron recipes on pages 32-75, or simply make the shells in any of the Classic Flavour Variations (see pages 8-9) and fill them with the quick fillings (see page 26) or homemade fillings (see pages 27-31) or your choice
200 g/1½ cups icing/confectioners’ sugar
100 g/2/3 cup ground almonds
120-125 g/½ cup egg whites (about 3 eggs)
a pinch of salt
40 g/3 tablespoons caster/superfine sugar
a 5-cm/1-inch cookie cutter (optional)
2 heavy baking sheets, lined with baking parchment
a hand-held electric whisk
a rubber spatula
piping bag, fitted with a 1-cm/½-inch tip
MAKES ABOUT 40 5-CM/2-INCH SHELLS
PREPARATION: Draw 20 circles around the cookie cutter on a baking parchment sheet and turn it over. You will be piping the macaron mixture onto each circle. Set aside until needed
Note: If you are using a fan oven, you might consider using the silicone mat method given in the Patissier Macaron recipe (see page 10), as the sheets of baking parchment can blow around the oven and spoil the macarons.
- Tip the icing/confectioners’ sugar and almonds into the bowl of a food processor and blend for 30 seconds until thoroughly combined. Set aside.
- Tip the egg whites into a spotlessly clean and dry mixing bowl. Add the salt and, using an electric hand-held whisk, beat until they will only just hold a stiff peak.
- Continue to whisk at medium speed while adding the caster/superfine sugar a teaspoonful at a time. Mix well between each addition to ensure that the sugar is thoroughly incorporated before adding the next spoonful. The mixture should be thick, white and glossy.
- At this point you should add any food colouring you are using. Dip a cocktail stick into the food colouring paste and stir into the mixture, mixing thoroughly to ensure that the colour is evenly blended. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
- Using a large metal spoon, fold the sugar and almond mixture into the egg whites.
- The mixture should be thoroughly incorporated and smooth – this can take up to 1 minute. When it is ready, the mixture should drop from the spoon in a smooth molten mass.
- Fill the piping bag with the mixture and pipe evenly sized rounds to fill the circles drawn on the baking parchment on the prepared baking sheets. (If the main recipe you are following elsewhere in this book uses this Basic Macarons method, you will most likely need to resume the main recipe after this step.)
- Tap the bottom of the baking sheets sharply, once, on the work surface to expel any large air bubbles.
- You can scatter edible decorations, liquid food colouring etc. onto the unbaked macaron shells at this stage.
- Leave for at least 15 minutes, and up to 1 hour, until the macarons have ‘set’ and formed a dry shell. They should not be sticky, tacky or wet when tested with your fingertip.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 170°C (325°F) Gas 3. Bake the macarons on the middle shelf of the preheated oven, one sheet at a time, for 12 minutes. The tops should be crisp and the bottoms dry. Leave to cool on the baking sheet.
TIPS FOR SUCCESS:
* Get your equipment ready before you start. Weigh all your ingredients carefully and bring them to room temperature.
* No two ovens are the same, so get to know your oven and do adjust your oven temperature by a few degrees if you feel it’s necessary, or turn the baking sheets around halfway through baking if your oven cooks hotter in places.
* If your macarons aren’t perfect the first time, don’t give up – remember practice makes perfect!
WHITE CHOCOLATE GANACHE
Choosing white chocolate for ganache is very difficult to get right when following a recipe, as the consistency of white chocolate varies so much from manufacturer to manufacturer. This recipe works well using either Valrhona Opalys or Valrhona Ivoire which you can buy online (see Suppliers, page 144). If you use a different brand of white chocolate, the results may vary a little, but always choose a good quality one.
230 g/1½ cups good-quality white chocolate, broken into pieces
120 ml/8 tablespoons whipping cream (see Tip on page 29)
50 g/3½ tablespoons unsalted butter
MAKES 500 G/18 oz
Melt the chocolate in a microwave or in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water, stirring regularly.
Place the cream in a saucepan and heat over medium heat until it is just about to boil. Pour about one-third of the cream over the chocolate and stir with a rubber spatula gently, until blended. Add a little more cream and stir again until smooth.
Keep adding the cream gradually, until you have added it all and the mixture is silky and smooth.
Allow the ganache to cool to 30°C/86°F, then stir in the butter, a little at a time. If you add the butter when the ganache is too hot, it will split.
Cover the ganache with clingfilm/plastic wrap, pressing it onto the surface of the ganache to stop a skin from forming.
Allow to cool to room temperature, then leave in a cold place for 24 hours. Ganache doesn’t react well to being stored in the fridge, so find a cold room of your house. However, in the summer, or if your house is warm, you will need to use the fridge. After this time, the ganache should be a nice spreadable consistency.
Excerpted from Macarons: 65 recipes for chic and delicious treats by Annie Rigg and Loretta Liu. Published by © Ryland, Peters & Small. Used with permission from the publisher.