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Wednesday, 13 July 2016

French Macarons

At several dollars for just one beautiful cookie I always considered French Macarons an indulgent treat.  I adored visiting the La Renaissance French Patisserie at The Rocks in Sydney or purchasing just two carefully selected Adriano Zumbo macarons popped into a tiny little box.  Even the ones from McDonalds were ok in a pinch.    I would say "oh I'd love to be able to make these" then I decided to try...after a couple of attempts that pretty much failed,  I tried again on a day that was "kid free" and succeeded!  Now that I know the little secrets and have watched gazillions of youtube videos on "how to make the perfect" macaron I am able make these little sweeties myself!   The above platter I made for my eldest daughter's 21st birthday recently.  I made them several days ahead and they all froze perfectly, filled, until the party day.  We had baby pink with milk chocolate ganache, orange with dark chocolate ganache, lemon with lemon curd filling.  I have also made white French vanilla with white chocolate ganache (coloured blue for a "frozen" birthday gift) and today I made chocolate macarons with chocolate ganache filling.

Don't be scared to give these a try, even if they don't look perfect they taste amazing.  Here are my tips to start with:

- measure EXACTLY.
- sit eggs out at least 24 hours until you want to make the macarons
- sift dry ingredients 3 times
- mix the ganache batter to "lava" consistency only
- a finger dipped in water will smooth any tiny last bump on top of the setting macaron
- drop the trays from about 20cm on to the bench at least 3 times to eliminate air bubbles
- allow the macarons to sit for at least 1 hour to form a "skin"
- start with your oven at 190oC.  Reduce to 160oC immediately as you put the macarons in.
- cook for exactly 12 minutes (this will depend on your oven...but this works with mine)

Basic macaron recipe:

2 large egg whites (room temperature for at least 24 hours)
1/4 cup caster sugar
Pinch of cream of tartar
1 cup icing sugar
3/4 cup almond meal

(food colouring of choice - gel colouring is best).

Step 1:  Prep your area.  You will need to line a large baking tray with baking paper (put a circle template under the paper if required for consistency of size).  Have a piping bag ready with a large round tip (mine is about 8mm across).  You will need a mixer, large sieve for sifting.

Step 2:  Sift the icing sugar and almond meal into a large bowl.  Repeat.

Step 3:  Beat the egg whites in the mixer...when they just start to get frothy add a pinch of cream of tartar.

Step 4:  Turn the speed of the mixer up and beat until the eggs are looking white and thick... slowly add the caster sugar a tiny bit at a time.

Step 5:  Sift the sugar/almond mix over the beaten eggs and gently with a spatula mix it all together.  Mix for about 50 strokes until the mix dribbles like lava when lifted up... it will gently form together.  (check out some videos online to make sure you understand this consistency).

Step 6:  Put the mixture into your piping bag and gently pipe little disks on to your baking tray.

Step 7:  Tap the tray to remove air bubbles and sit aside to allow the macarons to form a "skin"

Step 8:  Turn on the oven and heat it to 190oC whilst the macarons sit and form a skin.

Step 9:  Put tray in oven and immediately turn heat down to 160oC.  Bake for about 12 minutes.

Step 10:  Remove from oven and allow to cool.  Gently remove from paper and fill with desired filling.  

2 comments:

  1. Trying your recipe out and just wondered if it's 160°C fan forced or conventional oven? Also is it 190°C down to 160 or 180 as you have 3 different temperatures? Thanks

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  2. Thank you for bringing this to my attention. My oven is fan forced. The recipe has now been corrected. Heat the oven to 190oC . Then as soon as you put the macs in the oven, turn it down to 160oC.

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