May 3rd, 2010

A Macaron Frenzy

I’m a complete fool when it comes to a good macaron. I have watched my good friend Fabien for years making macarons but strangely never had the courage to attempt making them myself. I always said that it’s a specialist skill unique to a good pastry chef. This goes very well  with the other  skill that Fabien has and that is to know exactly how to “butter me up”. Fabien knows there are two petit fours I love one is macarons and the other is Madeline’s or as I call them mini me’s.

The culinary world has gone into a macaron frenzy. It’s macarons wherever you turn your head. So it’s time that I jumped on the macaron band wagon and give it a whirl.

My recent visit to Pierre Hermé’s exclusive macaron boutique at Selfridges confirmed what a true master he is with funky flavour combination’s. My favourite must be the wasabi and strawberry.

I am also addicted to all pretty things in life, so my aim is not only to make my macarons as pretty as possible but also give it the professional look.

I achieved this with my macarons by using a garnish of  freeze dried raspberries, black sesame seeds and chopped pistachio nuts. I made one batch of macaron mixture, coloured it with one colour, used different garnishes and flavoured fillings. I made my own version of wasabi and white chocolate butter cream as well as a toasted black sesame seed butter cream and for the third flavour combination I used a strawberry and rose jam as a filling.

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You might think that the wasabi flavouring is a weird combination, honestly I though the same but all I can say is WOW! The wasabi has acidic and citrus undertones and combined with a really good quality white chocolate, I chose one with floral notes,to provide an  absolute dream flavour explosion. It surpassed all my expectations. I even think it tasted more fragrant than the wasabi and strawberry one I bought at Selfridges. (Hope no one takes any offence to me saying that.)  You have to add the wasabi to suit your taste, I suggest you start with a little  and mix it very well. I used a butter cream made from unsalted butter as my carrier for the wasabi. I also used wasabi paste and not powder, it’s entirely your choice. If you only have powder then I suggest that you should first make it into a paste and then add, to taste, to the butter cream.

To add a bit of glamour and sparkle to your baked macarons dust with edible glitter. You can get all sorts of funky shades and colours.

What I love  most about macarons is that you can make as many interesting colour and flavour combination’s as you wish. I have listed only a very few in the recipe below. I hope this short video will also give every macaron lover the confidence to give it a go and crack the art of making macarons.

Macaron Recipe

  • 110g ground almonds
  • 225g icing sugar
  • 4 large free range egg whites
  • 50g caster sugar
  • Food colouring of your choice (optional)
  • Garnish of your choice (optional) (eg: freeze dried raspberries, chopped pistachios, cocoa nibs, black sesame seeds, poppy seeds, coconut, etc.)
  • Edible glitter (optional)

Preheat the oven to 150 °C.

Sieve the ground almonds and icing sugar, discard the impurities and hard lumps.

In a clean and grease free mixing bowl whisk the egg white until it starts to aerate and lightly foam, add the caster sugar and continue whipping until a soft peak meringue forms.

Add food colouring of your choice (optional) and the sifted almonds to the meringue and mix lightly until just incorporated. Do not over mix.

Spoon the mixture into a piping bag, I prefer using disposable piping bags however any type will be appropriate.

Cut a 1cm gap at the point of the piping bag.

Line two large baking trays with parchment paper, spread a dash of the mixture underneath the paper to stick it to the tray.

Pipe 2cm macaron droplets evenly sized and  spread with a 3cm gap between each.

Leave the macarons to form a skin, about 10 - 20 minutes.

Sprinkle on your chosen garnish, optional.

Bake the macarons for 12 - 15 minutes in the preheated oven.

Let them cool on the tray for 5 minutes before transferring  to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Dust each half macaron with edible glitter, optional.

Loosen the macarons carefully from the baking paper, pair them up in lines with  one half turned over so that the flat side points up.

Pipe the filling of your choice on the flat side of one half and then sandwich the two halves together.

Keep them in a airtight container for up to 5 days.

Macaron Flavourings and Fillings

  • Garnish the macarons with chopped pistachio nuts and use a strawberry and rose jam for the filling
  • Garnish the macarons with black sesame seeds and fold toasted crushed black sesame seeds into the butter cream
  • Garnish the macarons with dessicated coconut and fold toasted dessicated coconut into the butter cream
  • Garnish the macarons with cocoa nibs and flavour the butter cream with rosewater

Wasabi and White Chocolate Butter Cream

  • 150g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 75g icing sugar
  • 40g white chocolate
  • 10g wasabi paste (I suggest that you add the wasabi to taste, add half the quantity and increase the amount to your liking)

Cream the butter and icing sugar till pale in colour and fluffy.

Melt the white chocolate, cool and gently fold the cooled  chocolate and wasabi paste into the butter cream.

Transfer the butter cream to a piping bag and if its too soft , refrigerate to become firmer, about 30 minutes.Alternatively if it's the right spreadable consistency leave at room temperature until needed.

Makes approximately 60 finished macarons


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18 Comments to “A Macaron Frenzy”

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  1. Alex says:

    They look too pretty to eat – almost!

  2. Ok, I’ll give it another go now…

  3. Memoria says:

    Your macarons look lovely!! The video of stills was very nice as well!!

  4. angela says:

    Please help!! I was so excited to wake up to see your recipe for these little delights on your website. I have also recently been at selfridges trying pierre hermes macaroons and must say i thought the passionfruit and chocolate one was to die for but i didnt try the wasabi one as i decided trying all flavours would just be greedy!
    Anyway i have tried a couple of batches today and mine keep sticking to the parchment, i have tried leaving them in for slightly longer but this made my bright purple go a rather dull almost brown colour and they still stuck anyway….any ideas?

  5. Madalene says:

    Hi Angela,
    I normally remove the parchment from the tray and lift it to a cooling rack, leave to cool completely and then take a pallet knife carefully loosen them. I know there is some greaseproof paper that you can buy at most shops that is brown rather than white in colour and anything sticks to it, never mind that you do. You must make sure to buy silicone paper otherwise known as parchment paper. I am meaning to write to them and let the manufacturer know.
    Hope you have success!!
    Good Luck!
    Madalene

  6. Fabien says:

    These macaroons are absolutely great! Far better than mine!
    OMG now that I watched your video I need to prepare them again, I’m totally addicted!!! :D

  7. Riana says:

    I like the video, it’s great. Wasabi and white chocolate sounds challenging but delicious the way you described it.

  8. Madalene, the flavour combinations sound wonderful! I was inspired by the April (?) issue of Delicious magazine and had a go at making them. I did several flavours and most of them turned out surprisingly well although the peppermint ones spread too much (too runny … too much peppermint essence?) and the lemon ones didn’t seem to work at all (only added zest, no juice).

    I will definitely be making them again though – they are very satisfying to make!

  9. The video was great. I haven’t made macarons in almost 2 years. It is time and this has inspired me.

  10. Bob says:

    Oh dear my plans for Bank holiday Monday have now changed going to be baking some pink glitterery numbers tomorrow now.

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