This is my second post on a series of food trends; first I posted on cake pops, and today I am writing about macaroons.
What is a macaroon: A macaroon (or macaron in french) is a sweet confectionery made with egg whites, icing sugar, granulated sugar, and ground almonds. They are also often filled with buttercream, ganache or jam filling and are brightly coloured!
History: Larousse Gastronomique cites the macaron as being created in 1791 in a convent near Cormery. Some have traced its French debut back to the arrival of Catherine de' Medici's Italian pastry chefs whom she brought with her in 1533 upon marrying Henry II of France. (see: Madmacnyc.com)
In the 1830s, macarons were served two-by-two with the addition of jams, liqueurs, and spices. The macaron as it is known today was called the "Gerbet" or the "Paris macaron" and is the creation of Pierre Desfontaines of the French pâtisserie Ladurée, composed of two almond meringue discs filled with a layer of buttercream, jam, or ganache filling. (see: Laduree.fr)
In recent years they have become much more popular, particularly in the United States and Japan! There are now specialist macaroon stores popping up in all of the major cities, as well as in traditional french patiseries.
Essential tools: You will probably have most of the kit you need to make these - a baking sheet, greaseproof paper, and a piping bag are all you need!
Method: You will need to make the macaroons in two parts. First the macaroon cookie, and then the filling to go inside. This is a basic recipe with a chocolate centre.
Ingredients for the basic macaroon recipe:
225g icing sugar
125g ground almonds
110g egg whites (about 4), aged overnight at room temperature
30g granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
Ingredients for the ganache centre:
230g chocolate (milk or dark whatever you prefer)
250g double cream
60g unsalted butter
Weigh out all of your ingredients and keep them all seperate and organised right from the start! This will make your life a lot easier!
First of all sieve the ground almonds and icing sugar into a bowl. They need to be really fine so sieve multiple times.
In your biggest bowl whisk up your egg whites with a pinch of salt until they are foamy. Slowly start adding the sugar a little at a time. Keep whisking until you have stiff peaks and the egg whites are shiny and glossy!
Next sieve in the almond/icing mixture a little at a time and fold into the egg whites. The mixture should be like "lava," it should be gooey and sink into itself yet still hold itself.
Place your greaseproof paper onto your baking sheet. A good idea is to secure this with 4 small blobs of the mixture in the corners.
Put the mixture into your piping bag and pipe circles (as even as you can!) about 2cm across.
If you leave a peak after piping, using a wet finger push the peak down so the tops are flat.
Leave these on a counter top for at least two hours so that they form a crust.
Place these in an oven at gas mark 3. They will take between 5 and 10mins on each side (in other words rotate them half way through the cooking time.)
Next make the filling.
Bring the cream to the boil. Take off the heat and stir the chocolate in until it is melted. Then add the butter a little at a time.
Allow to chill (doing this is the fridge is a good idea but keep stirring it.)
When it is at a "squeezable" consistency pop it in the icing bag.
Find two macaroons of the same size pip the ganache on to one and sandwhich the two together.
You now have one completed macaroon!!!!! Repeat and you'll have 30!!!!!!!!
Tips and Tricks: www.seriouseats.com lists a variety of different tips and tricks incuding:
sift your ingredients multiple times, use old egg whites, prop the oven door open with a wooden spoon for more even baking, let the macaroons rest for a day before eating!
I hope you've enjoyed this second post in the series! Come back soon for WHOOPIE PIES!