What is a macaron anyway?
A macaron is a delicious sweet shell “sandwich” filled with chocolate ganache. It can be flavoured with vanilla, chocolate or any other flavour that takes your fancy. Macarons can be coloured to match your colour scheme or left deliciously pale, they can be handpainted or embellished with edible gold leaf or sprinkles. There are no rules here so use your imagination and make something wonderful. They are amazing as wedding favours or make a great thank you gift. They can even replace a wedding cake to add an unconventional twist to your wedding day.
Birthday cake? Who needs one when you can have a macaron tower instead!
Macarons also make great corporate gifts that clients will love.
Today I will describe how to make a basic vanilla macaron using Italian meringue as I find this type of meringue is more stable and holds very well.
The only special equipment you need to make these is a sugar thermometer and a couple of piping bags. So let’s get started.
For The Shells
250g ground almonds
250g icing sugar
100g egg white (I use two chicks pasteurised egg white)
I vanilla pod
For The Italian Meringue
250g caster sugar
100g egg white (as above)
For The Chocolate Ganache Filling
400g white chocolate
200g double cream
1 vanilla pod
1. Make the ganache by splitting the vanilla pod and adding the seeds to the cream, bring this to a steady simmer in a saucepan, chop the white chocolate into small pieces and put in a heatproof bowl, pour the hot cream over the chocolate and mix until all of the chocolate has melted and you have a smooth consistency. Cover with cling film and leave to cool and thicken (this can be placed in a fridge if you are short on time).
2. Heat the oven to 150 degrees Celcius while you make the Italian meringue.
Put the sugar and water into a saucepan and slowly heat the mixture. Keep an eye on the temperature with your sugar thermometer. Begin whisking the eggs whites with a stand mixer or handwhisk at full speed. When the syrup mixture reaches 121 degrees C remove it from the heat and wait for the bubbles to go. Pour in a slow steady stream into the egg white and continue to whisk until the mixture has cooled down
3. To make the shells. In another bowl mix together the icing sugar, ground almonds and vanilla bean seeds, mix in the egg whites using a spatula. Fold one third of the meringue mixture into this using the spatula. Add the rest of the meringue and continue to mix thoroughly with the spatula. This stage is called “macronage”, the mixture should have a smooth, silky slightly runny texture. If you take a spoonful of mixture on your spatula and let it drop the mixture should flow continuously like a ribbon. If it doesn’t then keep mixing until it reaches this stage. You can add gel colour at this stage or leave them beautiful and pale allowing the vanilla beans to shine.
4. Line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper. Fill a piping bag with your macaron mixture and pipe shells of approximately 3cm in diameter on your baking sheet. You can just snip the end off the piping bag or use a no.8 plain nozzle if you prefer.
5. Let the tray sit for 10-20 to form a crust before placing them in the oven to cook for around 12 minutes. When you take them out of the oven slide the baking paper off the baking tray to allow the macarons to cool without drying out too much.
6. Once cool, put the shells side by side in pairs. This is the stage that I handpainted the macarons in the photo below. Fill another piping bag with the cooled and thickened ganache and pipe the bottom shell (using a no. 12 plain nozzle or just snip the end off the bag) stop about 4mm from the edge of the shell, put the other shell on top of the ganache to make your ‘sandwich’ and gently press then together until the ganache reaches the edge of the shells.
7. Let them ‘rest’ in the fridge for a couple of hours.
8. Eat & enjoy x
Please post you photos if you try this recipe I’d love to see your creations.
If you’d like to book in for a wedding cake consultation please get in touch I’d love to meet you.