It’s been a while since I have posted any macarons. Well, any macarons that I have made. If you followed me on Twitter or Instagram this past summer, you’ll have seen many, many macarons in classes I assisted at over at La Cuisine Paris. Or gawked at on one of my many food walks throughout the city. But it had been a while since I made any at home. Now life has kinda sorta gotten back on track and we’re back into a more normal routine, I felt I had better add some macs to the mix, you know, to keep my hat in the ring. I’m always worried I’ll forget how to make macarons, you know?
In fact, I felt like I needed to “get back on the bike” with the Italian method of macarons. I’ve successfully made them a few times before, and in fact, taught my first ever class using the method over in Paris this summer. But I’m not quite as comfortable with them as I am with the French method, which I have honed to perfection. If you’re not familiar with the different types of meringue, see here for a description. The Italian meringue method is the one Hermé uses. The one Zumbo uses. The method I was taught over and over again two summers ago in Paris “because it’s more reliable.” Well I felt I needed to get back on that wagon to make sure I cam reliably make Italian meringue macarons too.
I was quite happy with the way these came out – the recipe and method come from a variety of sources of information – my classes in Paris two summers ago, observing class after class of macaron making this past summer at La Cuisine Paris (thanks Guillemette, Emmanuelle and Jenny for your tips and tricks and patient answering of questions!), reading Hermé and Zumbo’s books and a LOT of practice.
The filling for the majority of these was a chocolate passion fruit ganache, inspired by the many fruity ganaches used in the fillings for macarons at La Cuisne Paris. I learned to whisk hot jams into chocolate to melt it and then whisk some butter in once it’s cooled a bit – in the classes I taught, we primarily used strawberry and raspberry jam but I was inspired by a passion fruit jam that I picked up on my travels in Paris to make this one. At La Cuisine, they use glucose syrup to help the ganache have a smooth consistency but I remember being told that honey was a good substitute and it worked fine here.
- 150g ground almonds
- 150g powdered sugar
- 55g egg whites
- food colouring (about 2 teaspoons powdered colour)
- For the Italian meringue
- 150g sugar
- 38g water
- 55g egg whites
- For the ganache
- 150g passionfruit jam, strained
- 30 liquid honey
- 300g dark chocolate
- 50g unsalted butter
- First make the ganache
- Heat the jam and honey in a small saucepan over medium-high heat.
- Once the syrup is boiling, pour over the chocolate ⅓ at a time, whisking constantly.
- Once the mixture is smooth and slightly cool, add the butter and whisk to incorporate.
- Place the ganache in a sealed piping bag and place in the fridge so it hardens to a pipe-able (think Nutella) consistency. Keep checking on it and it it feels too hard, simply remove and allow it to warm a little at room temperature.
- Line two heavy baking trays with Silpat.
- Prepare a 14” piping bag with a plain tip (I use Ateco 803), twist the bag at the tip end and place inside a glass to facilitate filling the bag.
- Weigh the ground almonds and powdered sugar into a food processor bowl placed on a digital scale to ensure the correct weight.
- Pulse the almond/ sugar mixture a few times.
- Sift the almond' sugar mixture into a large bowl.
- Add the first 55g egg whites and food colouring.
- Mix vigorously to form a stiff paste with a wooden spoon. Set aside.
- Place the other 55g egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.
- Meanwhile, place the water and sugar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat.
- Once the liquid starts to boil around the edges (bubbles forming), place a digital thermometer in the liquid and when the liquid reaches 112˚C (234˚F), start whisking the egg whites at a high speed in the stand mixer (about 8).
- Once the sugar syrup reaches 118˚F (244˚F), remove the saucepan from the heat and reduce the speed of the stand mixer to the lowest speed.
- Carefully pour the sugar syrup into the egg white mixture and once you have added it all, turn the speed up to maximum.
- Beat the meringue mixture until the bowl is *just* warm to the touch (if you want to measure it, it should measure around 50˚C (122˚F).
- Add about ⅓ of the meringue mixture into the ground almond paste, mixing vigorously until you cannot see any white streaks of meringue.
- Add about another ⅓ of the meringue to the almond paste mixture.
- Using a large rubber spatula, gently lift some of the mixture and, as you are turning the bowl about a quarter turn, allow the mixture to drop back gently into the bowl.
- Continue like this until all the meringue is incorporated and you can't see any more white streaks. It will take a while, be patient and certainly don't beat the mixture vigorously at this stage.
- Add the last ⅓ of the mixture and continue to incorporate the meringue gently using the lift and turn the bowl method until all the meringue is combined.
- The mixture should fall smoothly off the spatula (it might still look a little grainy at this stage - that's ok) when it's ready.
- Transfer the mixture to the piping bag, sealing the open end with a twist and holding firmly with the hand that will not be actively piping.
- Pipe your macarons, holding the piping tip at an angle touching the baking sheet, about 3cm in diameter (they will spread during cooking), and quickly removing the tip when you have finished piping, making a shape like a comma.
- REST the tray of macaron shells for 30 minutes before baking. At this point you should pre-heat the oven to 320˚F.
- Bake for 14 minutes at 320˚F, turning the trays from back to front halfway through.
- A better test to see if they are cooked than simply watching the clock is to place a finger and a thumb on opposite sides of a macaron shell and slightly move it from side to side. If it jiggles, it's not cooked, if it stays put, it's cooked.
- Remove from oven and let the tray sit for a few minutes.
- Remove silpat from the tray and place on a cool surface and allow to sit a few minutes longer, then remove macaron shells to a cooling rack.
- Pair up like shells to facilitate the filling process.
- Once completely cool (preferably the next day), fill with ganache or cream filling of your choice.
- Best enjoyed 24 hours after filling.
Yeah ok, so it’s 34 steps in the recipe but hey – it’s broken down as much as I could to make it simple
Since I was taking these to school I filled a few with my good old cream cheese frosting (125g butter, 250g cream cheese and 3/4 cup of powdered sugar) which is always a crowd pleaser.
I’m pretty happy with this method, but it won’t be without its many more practice batches. I’m in love with the idea of fruity chocolate ganaches (so versatile!) and will definitely be experimenting more with those as fillings for my macarons. Thanks La Cuisine Paris, Pierre Hermé and Adriano Zumbo for the inspiration.
I’m submitting this to this month’s Mactweets (with a theme of seasonal fruits). I am sure it’s passion fruit season somewhere!
For fabulous macaron classes in Paris, check out La Cuisine Paris.
And hey, if you’re in Toronto, I’ll be teaching a macaron class at Aphrodite Cooks on November 3rd. Details here.
* Want to win a trip for two to Montreal to dine with ME during restaurant week in November? It’s easy – enter the Dine with a Blogger contest here! (US/Canadians only, sorry international friends!)
Canadians – have you checked out my “What’s for Dinner?” contest? A gorgeous $350 gift basket is up for grabs!