Look closely at the photograph.
“They look like aliens, Moo.”
“Cherries for eyes, cream mono-brow…”
“Whatever – it’s still an eyebrow.”
“And the meringuey bit is the mouth! See?”
Hmmmm. Magic eye picture moment. I’m not seeing it…. wait…..wait…..focus….
Look at these little BEAUTIES!
Now I’ve impressed myself.
Check, check, check, check. (Is a ‘check’ a ‘tick’??!!) No red pen here. No ‘See Me’ at the bottom of the homework. This recipe WORKED. It was the Mary Berry recipe, using Italian meringue but using a few little tips from t’internet. I’m not sure exactly how much the little tips helped, but these were perfect.
* When leaving the skin to form, put them in a warm oven for an hour.
* Once the ’rounds’ are piped, give the baking sheet two very sharp taps. This apparently pushes the air up, helping to create the neat little frilly feet.
* Run the sugar syrup down the sides of the cool mixing bowl when ‘streaming’ it in. This creates a good temperature for the sugar syrup.
Funny though, I feel the need to be honest here.
I don’t think I really like Macarons very much.
I KNOOOOOOOW, how unfashionable of me. But they’re so sweet, I felt my recent root canal aching before I’d even tried one.
They were better with the contrasting tarty creme fraiche – buttercream was just too much. I think the French Macaron Makers must have some sort of deal going with Le Dentistes. “You feed ’em Macarons, we’ll pull their teeth. Win-win. Oh La La!”
Here’s the recipe, taken directly from Mary Berry’s online article, with a few additional tips:
Pink Almond Macaroons
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
Low-fat Creme Fraiche
Jar of Morello Cherries
♥ Line 2 large baking trays (or 3 smaller ones) with baking parchment. Combine the icing sugar and almonds in a bowl and set aside. (Sift it together, throw away any large lumps that are left)
♥ Put the caster sugar and water in a 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. 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, (run it down the cooler bowl sides) beating constantly until 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. (Tap the baking tray very sharply two or three times on your work surface to push air to the top of the meringues).
♥ Set aside to dry for about an hour until a skin forms on top. (In a warm oven)
♥ 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.
Fill with creme fraiche and cherries!