Friday, 30 May 2014

Raspberry Macarons

You know what it's like when there's something that you really don't want to do, so you keep finding (valid) reasons to put it off, until you just can't anymore?
Well, there were these egg whites, you see. And they were in my fridge. Aging.
And I could have said that they were for Swiss meringue buttercream.
I could've, but ... talk to myself, yes; lie to myself, no.
They were for macarons.
Most people  have happy thoughts about these continental confections. I don't.
They've stumped me way too many times, but I'm cursed with persistence, and just had to try again.

So, with egg whites sufficiently aged (you really don't want to know how long they'd been waiting. Really, you don't.), I took the plunge.
In fact, I threw caution to the wind and added an ingredient: raspberry jelly powder.
If you're an amateur macaron-maker (like me), you probably don't want to play around with the macaron recipe much. But I was through being bullied by these truculent treats.
And what do you know: success!

Co-incidentally, though, on that very day, Daniela (Daniela's Deliciously Decadent) gifted me with some of her perfect macarons.
Mine looked like ugly sisters in comparison.

But, I'll share them and the recipe with you anyway:

Raspberry Macarons
Recipe by Tea, Cake and Create

3 egg whites (100g-110g), at room temp. Aged for 2-3 days.
2 TBS caster sugar
200g icing sugar
125g ground almonds/ almond meal
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
2 TBS raspberry jelly powder (or use 1 tsp raspberry extract)
Pink gel/ powder food colour

Prepare baking trays with parchment. Make sure that the parchment is flat and that the trays aren't warped.

Put the almond meal and icing sugar into a food processor and pulse until well mixed and finely ground.  Sift into a bowl. Discard the large granules which don't pass through the sieve.

Whisk the egg whites at low speed with an electric beater until frothy, then add the cream of tartar and caster sugar.
Beat until soft peaks form, then add the raspberry jelly powder and gel colour.
Beat at high speed until stiff peaks form.

Sift the almond meal / icing sugar mix into the meringue in two batches  - folding in between.
Once again discard any large granules of almond meal.

Use a spatula and a figure-of-8 motion to gently fold the batter until it is loosened and falls in "ribbons" from the spatula.

Transfer to an icing bag with the tip cut off or one fitted with a large plain round icing nozzle (not more than 1cm diameter).

Pipe small dots of batter beneath the corners of the baking parchment , to keep it in place on the baking tray.

Pipe your macaron rounds - about 3-4cm diameter, about 2cm apart. Pull your piping tip to the side - this leaves a tiny tail, which will settle.
Rap the tray twice on the counter. (Yes, really! If you don't air bubbles may crack the surface of the macaron as it bakes).

Now, turn on your oven to 150'C

Leave the macarons to stand for 15-30minutes until they form a "skin" - ie. when touched with a clean, dry finger they aren't sticky.

Bake at 150'C for 15-20 minutes.
Check that they're not browning as the end of the baking time approaches.

Leave to cool for 5minutes, then remove from the trays. If they are undercooked, they will stick to the parchment. You can pop them back into the warm oven for a few more minutes just to dry out a little more.
(Macarons are best after being filled and left for 24hrs - the filling rehydrates them a bit.)

Dark chocolate ganache

300g dark chocolate, cut into small, even sized pieces.
120ml cream ( 35-40% fat content) 

Place both ingredients into a double boiler (a heatproof bowl placed over a pot of simmering water) OR in a microwave-proof bowl.
Heat slowly, stirring frequently until all the chocolate has melted. 

Leave to cool down at room temperature. Place some cling-wrap onto the surface of the ganache to prevent a crust forming. 

Allow the ganache to set to spreading consistency, then either spoon or pipe it onto a macaron shell. Place another macaron shell on top.

Store the macarons in the fridge, but allow them to come to room temperature before serving.

It's a lot of work, isn't it!? But now you know...
If you want macarons, contact Daniela!


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