Macarons - these humble morsels have a reputation for reducing grown women to tears…both the women
tearing their hair out doing the baking and those doing the tasting.
I've never really been a fan of the store bought variety (despite having ample opportunity to taste the real deal while living in France for a year.) For some reason they never really captured my imagination - or my taste buds for that matter.
That is, until a friend came over for dinner last week and brought a batch she had made…to say I was bowled over is an understatement.
They were so soft and light, seemingly completely insubstantial, yet packing a punch of chewy sweet delicious lingering flavour…I was smitten…and once they were
sob finished, I had to have more…immediately!
Louise mentioned the Ottolenghi recipe so I did a quick search which came up with a few different options as well as instructions and oven temperatures that varied quite widely.
After a few experiments, I've found a combination that works well with my oven.
In a food processor whizz together:
110g icing sugar, 50g ground almonds, 12g cocoa powder.
Once its a fine powder, sieve into a bowl.
Using an electric beater, whip up:
2 egg whites until stiff.
Add in 40g castor sugar.
Once the meringue forms soft glossy peaks, add half the almond mix and fold in gently. Add the remaining mix and fold until incorporated.
Place a piping bag upright in tall glass to make it easier to fill then scoop the meringue into the bag.
Line 2 baking trays with non-stick parchment paper. As a guide you can draw circles leaving spaces to allow for the mixture spreading.
Pipe the meringue into each circle forming a disc.
Give the tray a bash on the counter to allow air bubbles to escape.
Leave the trays out for 15-30 minutes to allow the mixture to firm up.
Preheat the oven to 170ºC and bake for 12-14 minutes.
At 12 minutes open the oven door to allow steam to escape.
Remove from the oven and slide the parchment paper off the trays.
Allow to cool.
For the ganache, heat 100g double cream in a saucepan.
Once its simmering, remove from heat and add 100g chocolate (I use Cadbury's Top Deck).
Allow to stand for 2 minutes and then whisk until its smooth and glossy.
Add 2 T Kahlua and mix it in.
I put my ganache into the fridge to allow it to harden.
After 10 minutes it should be firm enough to scoop between 2 macaron wafers.
I'm heading out to dinner with friends in town this evening and am wrapping a few macarons in a gift box for the hostess.
I've decorated my box with beautiful ribbon and an exquisite button from the new Incomparable range.
I'm parting with these macarons rather hesitantly…perhaps I'll pop to the farm stall on the way and take her a bunch of flowers instead!