Have you ever tried French Macarons? I got to eat my first Macaron 3 years back when I was brought one from a local Patisserie in my Hometown. I had seen them before but never tried. It only took one small bite to make me fall for them. The shells are mainly made of Meringue and Almonds and can be filled with all sorts of buttercream, fruit, chocolate ganache or a combination of those. I have however tried several times to make them myself but always failed due to various reasons. After I got Christophe Felders Patisserie book for my birthday I was assured that I would have to try one more time or leave it for ever. I decided for the former and gave it one last shot: They were absolutely amazing!
My oven does not bake evenly but I figured where the macarons get too crisp or start to tear after a few trays. But even when they might not look perfect, they taste like heaven, soft and light as air. They also always get those characteristic feet and a smooth surface, just as they should be. As I mentioned before, I have tried various recipes and different techniques, this one might be one of the complicated ones but it works for me every single time.
A few things that you need to know upfront. It is crucial that you read the recipe carefully before you start. All ingredients should have room temperature and you need to weigh them very exactly! Half the magic is planning, proper planning makes baking much easier. Put everything you need on the counter, this includes all weighed ingredients as well as all needed equipment. If you do not own a stand mixer you at least need a helping hand to make this recipe.
- 4 sheets of parchment paper
- 2 € coin
- food processor
- candy thermometer
- heavy saucepan
- piping bag with round tip
- 200 g ground almonds
- 200 g confectioners sugar
- 2 x 75 g aged egg whites (equals 5 egg whites, let them stand in the fridge overnight covered with clingfilm to “age” them)
- 50 ml water
- 200 g fine sugar
- gel food colouring if desired
Grab the 4 sheets of parchment paper and cut them to the size of your tray. Use the pencil and the 2€ coin to draw lines of circles on your parchment and leave some space between the circles. Make sure you have an even number, as you will need 2 shells for one Macaron. The lines should be thick enough so that you can see them through the parchment when you turn it upside down on your tray.
Preheat the oven to 170°C with fan. Mix ground almonds and confectioners sugar, place in food processor and process in pulse mode. Afterwards sift the mixture into a bowl and set aside.
If you do not own a stand mixer, you need a helping hand for the next steps. Place 75 g egg white in your stand mixers bowl. Put water and fine sugar in the sauce pan and start to cook to a syrup over medium heat. Keep checking the temperature with the candy thermometer, you need to heat it to 118-119°C. Once your syrup has reached 114°C you can switch on the stand mixer and beat the egg whites with medium speed until stiff. Make sure you only use medium speed and don’t overbeat the egg whites in order to get silky egg foam. Once the sugar syrup has reached 118°C, remove from heat and wait for a minute or so until the bubbles have gone. Then pour into the egg whites in a steady stream while constantly beating. Once all of the sugar syrup is added, you can speed up the mixer and keep beating until the Meringue is luekwarm. While your Meringue is cooling down, you can add the other 75 g egg whites to your sifted almond-confectioners sugar-mixture and stir with a spatula until homogenous. If you want to colour your Macarons, add some gel colour to the Meringue before carefully folding it into the almond-mix. Spoon into a piping bag with a round tip and pipe onto the parchment covered tray, filling out the rounds that we drew on the parchment before. Once a tray is completed, slightly beat with the flat hand on the bottom of your tray. Place it in the middle of the oven and set a timer to 6 minutes. See how the characteristic feet develope and the surface smothens. After 6 minutes turn the tray and bake for antoher 6 minutes. Get them out of the oven, remove them from the tray and let them cool completely. Repeat with the next batch and so on until all of the Meringue is used up.
Once they are all baked and cooled, it is sorting time. Sort them by size and try to find matching pairs. Slightly press them on the inside with your thumb before filling the shells with whatever filling you desire. Don’t worry if your shells are too dry and crumble when you press them with your thumb, they just need to rest a little longer to become softer. They are best kept in a cookie tin in the fridge overnight. Before serving them, allow them to come to room temperature for about 10 minutes. My favourite fillings are lemon (see pic on top), fruit’n’buttercream (bottom left) and salted caramell butter (bottom right).