Is it me or do the colours look like sh1t3? Yes, you heard… 🙂
Welcome to Moo Eleven’s March into the Masterclass that is THE MACARON. The PURPLE Macaron. (Design skills = questionable). Macaron with a capital M.
Different opinions? Yes.
A perfect, foolproof recipe? No.
As difficult as everyone says… erm…. ???
The first batch I made I refused to post here. Not that I’m a snob – no way. It just got so late and was such a disappointing effort that fetching down the light tent, setting it up and taking ‘foody’ photos at eleven o’clock just seemed unbearable. They were chocolate ones, made using the French style meringue. I knew straight away that they weren’t right – bubbly, no frilly feet, bizarre shapes…
Pierre Herme would have had a fit.
So, back to the drawing board. I donned the headphones (so as not to annoy everyone with YouTube videos of MORE baking) and scoured the internet looking for tips, techniques, tutorials and more.
I hope people don’t mind but I found some great sites to visit for useful info. I’ve included links at the bottom of this post. People’s dedication to the Macaron is nothing short of amazing. Or weird…?
Eventually I settled on Mary Berry’s recipe from this website:
Mary Berry’s Pink Almond Macaron
The recipe used the Italian Meringue method and they worked well – imagine how excited I was when the feet formed and they looked reasonably smooth on top! I did have to go and hunt out a sugar thermometer – apparently they don’t exist here outside of Sainsbury’s! £7.99, but worth the investment. Now I can measure the temperature of sugar. Would I dare measure the temperature of anything else with the sugar thermometer? Or would the Sugar Thermometer Police come looking for me?
Back to the M’s.
I changed the recipe slightly – I used Lavender sprinkled on top and coloured them with Grape Gel colouring. Next time, I would add the lavender to the mix, rather than sprinkling it on top, possibly grinding it first. I would also grind my almond powder with my icing sugar first too. In terms of colour, they weren’t vibrant enough, so next time I will add more colouring. If your gonna go Gawdy, go GAWDY. I read that powdered colour is best – something to try in the future I think. The lavender choice was delicate. The Macarons themselves very sweet, but fairly well formed. I imagine their formation comes with piping practice!
Not being a huge fan of buttercream, I think my experiments will branch out into fillings – maybe lemon curd would have been a nicer choice? It needed something tart to counteract the sweetness of the meringue. However, despite these little changes, they tasted lovely and were certainly delicious straight from the fridge the next morning!! :0 For breakfast 🙂
I haven’t posted a definitive recipe yet – I want to experiment further but here’s Mary Berry’s recipe, taken directly from the article: Pink Almond Macroons
Now for some Ministry to soothe the nerves….
200g • 7oz icing sugar, sifted
200g • 7oz ground almonds
200g • 7oz caster sugar
4 tbsp cold water
4 large eggs, separated
1 tsp almond extract
red food colouring
90g • 3oz soft butter
150g • 5oz icing sugar, sifted
♥ Line 2 large baking trays (or 3 smaller ones) with baking parchment. Combine the icing sugar and almonds in a bowl and set aside.
♥ Put the caster sugar and water in a stainless steel pan. Heat gently over a low heat, stirring, until the sugar has dissolved.
♥ Bring to a boil, and boil for a few minutes without stirring, until you have a shiny, clear syrup, the consistency of single cream. If you have a sugar thermometer it should read 110C, no more. Remove from the heat and leave to cool slightly.
♥ Put 2 of the egg whites in a bowl (reserving the yolks to use elsewhere) and beat with an electric whisk on high speed until stiff but not dry. Slowly pour in the sugar syrup in a thin, steady stream, beating constantly until all the syrup is used and you have a shiny meringue.
♥ Add the remaining 2 unbeaten egg whites to the sugar and almonds, and mix to a very thick paste with a wooden spoon.
♥ Add the almond extract and stir in just enough food colouring to make the mixture pink. Add a heaped tablespoonful of the meringue, beat well, then carefully fold in the remaining meringue until the mixture is an even pink colour. Do not overmix or it will be too runny.
♥ Fill the piping bag with the mixture. Pipe 40 small rounds, each about 3.5cm • 1½ in in diameter, on to each baking tray (or 80 rounds divided among 3 trays). If you do not have a piping bag, use 2 teaspoons to spoon the mixture on to the trays.
♥ Set aside to dry for about an hour until a skin forms on top.
♥ Bake in a preheated oven at 150C/130C fan/gas 2 for about 25 minutes until firm and glossy on top. Turn the oven off and leave the macaroons to cool in the oven for about an hour. Transfer to a wire rack with a damp palette knife and leave to cool completely.
♥ Make the filling: cream the butter and half the icing sugar in a bowl, beating until pale and fluffy. Beat in the remaining sugar a little at a time until the mixture is smooth. Using a small palette knife, spread a little jam and butter cream over the bottom of 40 macaroons, then sandwich together with the remaining macaroons.
MORE FABULOUS WEBSITES:
Canelle et Vanille : http://www.cannellevanille.com/2010/04/cherry-blossom-macarons-for-martha.html