While there may be some debate on where the macaron originally came from, a popular, and by far my favourite, version is that it was introduced to France in the 16th century from Italy when Catherine de Medici married Henry II of France. I can just imagine her rocking up to the palace with her Italian pastry chefs in tow looking down her nose at the courtiers and announcing I bring you “the macaron”…. ok possibly that is only the way it happened in my imagination!
Macarons are one of those things that strike fear into the heart of many a baker and I can say from experience that they definitely take practice and the old saying “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again” is certainly apt in this case. This is by far the best attempt I have made at the macaron and it has come about by trial and a lot of error…. I mean practice.
Adapted from Secrets of Macarons by Jose Marechal.
Makes 20 filled macarons
Note: you will require a sugar thermometer for this recipe.
- 200gm almond meal
- 200gm pure icing sugar
- 75ml water
- 200gm caster sugar
- 2 x 80gm egg white
- 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
- mint green food colouring gel
- chocolate sprinkles
- 100gm dark chocolate
- 50gm pure cream.
Place almond meal and icing sugar in food processor and process for 3-5 minutes. Sieve mixture into a mixing bowl and set aside for later use.
Bring water and sugar to boil in a saucepan. At the same time place 80gm of egg white in stand mixer and on a slow speed whisk to soft peaks.
Once your water and sugar temperature has reached 105°C increase the speed of the mixer and beat until the egg whites have reached firm peaks.
Once the temperature of the water and sugar has reached 115°C remove the sugar from the heat and gently pour into the egg whites in a thin stream while continuing to whisk at a medium speed. Be careful to pour sugar down the side of the bowl so you don’t hit the whisk. Continue to whisk for 10 minutes to allow mixture to cool.
In the meantime, combine the almond mixture with the remaining 80gm egg white and mix to combine.
Add in peppermint extract to almond mixture.
Add a small amount of gel colour to the almond mixture and mix, add more colour if required. Note: the colour will turn out lighter once you mix in the meringue so you do need to go darker than you want the finished colour to be.
Add 1/3 of the meringue mixture to the almond mixture and fold in until fully combined with a spatula, this will loosen the mixture. Add the remaining meringue and gently fold in until all the colour and mix is evenly combined – at this point be careful to not knock air out of the mix.
Pipe even rounds onto a tray covered with baking paper. Sprinkle with chocolate sprinkles.
Leave macarons to rest for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 150°C.
Bake for approx. 14-16 minutes.
Remove tray from oven and allow to cool completely before peeling macarons off the paper.
To make ganache bring cream to the boil, pour over chopped chocolate and mix with a spatula until melted and completely smooth. Cool in the fridge until at piping consistency.
Place ganache in a piping bag and pipe onto one side of the shell. Join macarons together.