Friday, 16 September 2011

Macaroons mark deux

So! My first attempt turned out quite well- they didn't look quite right, had a lack of 'feet', weren't overly shiny or smooth, but they tasted good.

Like many others out there, I have decided that I would like to be able to bake at least a passable macaron. Ground almonds are one of my favourite ingredients as I love the texture and almond is one of my favourite flavours. Nom.

So, after Monday night's marmalade pudding and custard I had some egg whites to use up. After work on the Tuesday I had an hour or so before the pub quiz and decided that would leave me ample time to mix the paste, make the Italian meringue, pipe and have some dinner. HA! Well, I did it- a few were a little larger and more messy than the others, but really I just wanted to practice texture, consistency and baking. Back from the pub at 12 having done terribly at the quiz, I got them in the oven. Here they are.

As you can see, better than the first go, but still not quite smooth enough. Also, I used the main and top oven, causing the top oven to be notably hotter which discoloured that batch, but they still tasted the same.

170g icing sugar
160g ground almonds
120ml egg whites from about 4 medium eggs, separated in to two equal batches
160g granulated sugar
drop of food colouring - I used red
-blitz the almonds and icing sugar together until fine. Sift in to a large bowl (you will need to mix everything in this bowl eventually). Add one lot of whites to this and mix to make the paste. Set aside
- Get the other egg whites ready in a heat proof bowl with an electric whisk to hand. Place the granulated sugar and and 50ml of water in to a small saucepan. Heat until dissolved then boil until the syrup reaches 110C. Beat the eggs on high to form stiff peaks. When the syrup gets to 118C carefully and slowly pour it in to the eggs. Continue to whisk on hight. They will go thick and shiny. Continue until the meringue is cool. Add the colour and mix.
- add the meringue to the paste and fold together. It should be thick and smooth- if you over mix it it will spread and not rise.
- heat the over to gas 3/150C. Line 3 pans with baking paper. Pipe the mixture in to small circles 2.5cm in diameter. Smack them hard on the counter to dislodge air bubbles and leave to rest out of the fridge for 30 minutes. This supposedly helps to form a skin and improve shine.
-Bake for 15 minutes. Slide the paper on ta cool work surface for a few minutes before peeling them off the paper. If the shell comes off and they stick, they are underdone. Return to the oven for a few more mins and try again.
- Leave to cool then fill with jam or butter cream or ganache or whatever. I used raspberry jam on some and nutella on others.

I found that all of my macarons were under baked after 15 minutes, and still after a few more. The batch that turned out the best were the ones that I decided to leave in the oven overnight after I had turned it off. These ones had a flat and attached underside, perfect for piping the filling. This leads me to wonder if baking them should involve a combination f a high heat to aid rising, and then a low heat to dry them out- like a traditional meringue. I shall toy with this theory next time.

Recipe from June 2011 Good Food magazine

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