Be my Valentine Macaroon
As a little valentines gift, I decided to make my Valentine a batch of Macaroons. They are sweet, romantic, pretty and a whole lot of hassle! I don’t want you to be under any illusions that these are quick to whip up! Oh no, they took me 6 hours and my kitchen was turned into total chaos by these dainty cakes. Half way through I was frantically texting my baker friend for help (got phone covered in sticky goo in process) due to the difference in texture between the two colour batches..and I thought all was lost…But, just like magic, they came out of the oven looking gorgeous and tasting fantastic. Phewww!
What dishes do you find stressful to make?
‘I adapted Edd Kimber’s recipe, winner of BBC’s Great British Bake Off, by changing the filling from chocolate to custard.
Makes roughly 30 macaroons
170g icing sugar
160g ground almonds
120ml egg whites from about 4 medium eggs, separated into 2 equal batches
160g granulated sugar
a few drops of food colouring in your choice of colour
100g unsalted butter, very soft
2 egg yolks
50g granulated sugar
3 1/2 tablespoons milk
seeds of 1 vanilla pod
1 tbsp raspberry jam
Put the icing sugar and ground almonds in a food processor and blitz until fully combined. Sieve the mixture into a large bowl, discarding the granules that stay in the sieve. Add the first batch of egg whites to the mixture and mix to form a sticky paste, set aside.
Now make the Italian Meringue by heating the granulated sugar with 50ml of water in a saucepan over medium heat. Meanwhile pop the second batch of egg whites into a very clean bowl, set aside. Bring the sugar to the boil and monitor it using a sugar thermometer, cook until it reaches 110C, at which point start whisking the egg whites using an electric whisk. Once the syrup reaches 118C take it off the heat and pour it slowly down the side of the mixing bowl, whilst continuing to whisk the whites.
Continue to whisk at high speed until the meringue mixture can make shiny peaks when the whisk is lifted out. Now add the colouring. If you want different coloured macaroons, divide the meringue mixture as well as the almond mixture in equal portions, and colour the meringue separately.
Now tip the meringue onto the almond mixture and gently fold together. It is important not to over-mix the batter – it should fall in a thick ribbon from the mixing spoon. The ribbon should also fade back into the batter within about 30 secs – if it doesn’t, fold a few more times.
Heat oven to 170°c /fan 150°c /gas 3-4.
Line 3 baking trays with good quality baking parchment so the macaroons don’t stick and scoop the prepared mixture into a piping bag fitted with a plain nozzle. Pipe round blobs of 2.5cm in diameter onto the baking trays and then tap the trays hard onto the work surface. This forces any air bubbles out of the macaroons and gives a smooth finish.
Bake the macaroons for 14 mins, one tray at a time. Remove the tray from the oven and slide the parchment onto the work surface and cool for a few minutes before gently peeling the macaroons off the paper. If they don’t come of by themselves, gently help them using a flat pallet knife.
Make the custard filling
Make sure your butter is very soft, you can help it along by mashing it.
In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolks and granulated sugar together until pale. Then add the milk and combine.
Pour the mixture into a small saucepan and heat over low heat and add the scraped out vanilla seeds. Whisk the mixture frequently to ensure that it does not scorch and cook for a few min until the mixture becomes thick like custard.
Pour the egg mixture back into the bowl and whisk continually until it returns to room temperature. Now whisk in the butter in three batches and stir until smooth, then add 1 tbsp raspberry jam and stir until all ingredients are combined.
Finally sandwich the macaroons together using the filling.