I came across a photo on Google images of macarons; two sitting in a tower behind a vietnamese coffee. They looked so yummy i decided i had to make some this weekend. Luckily i'd seen the recipe on Saturday, as it call for the egg whites to be left out overnight, so i was able to do that and make the macarons up on Sunday morning.
I went with a recipe i found on Gourmet Traveller, an Australian foodie site. Here it is; but i'll reproduce it below as well for simplicity. I followed it as exactly as i could, except i didn't read that i was supposed to keep 20g of the eggwhites back until the end.
Macarons with white chocolate and raspberry ganache
Cooking Time Prep time 20 mins, cook 15 mins (plus resting)
130 gm pure icing sugar
110 gm almond meal
105 gm eggwhite (about 2), at room temperature, left out overnight
65 gm caster sugar
4-5 drops rose food colouring
White chocolate and raspberry ganache
50 ml pouring cream
100 gm white chocolate
45 gm raspberries, coarsely chopped
Process icing sugar and almond meal in a food processor until finely ground, triple-sift into a large bowl and set aside. Whisk 90gm eggwhite in an electric mixer until soft peaks form (1-2 minutes). Add caster sugar, a tablespoon at a time, whisking continuously until incorporated and mixture is thick and glossy (2-3 minutes), then add food colouring. Stir in almond mixture in batches until incorporated and mixture slowly slides down sides of bowl when bowl is tilted. Add remaining eggwhite to loosen mixture, spoon into a piping bag with a 1cm plain nozzle, pipe 3cm-diameter rounds of mixture onto heavy baking-paper-lined oven trays, stand until a crust begins to form (4-5 hours).
Preheat oven to 140C. Bake macarons until firm but not coloured, swapping trays halfway through cooking (10-12 minutes), set aside, cool completely on trays.
Meanwhile, for white chocolate and raspberry ganache, bring cream just to the boil in a small saucepan. Remove from heat, add chocolate, stand until melted (5 minutes), stir until smooth and glossy. Refrigerate until firm yet still pliable (45 minutes-1 hour) then stir until smooth. Add raspberries, stir to form a ripple effect, then spoon a teaspoon of ganache onto half the macarons. Sandwich with remaining macarons and refrigerate until set. Macarons will keep for 1-2 days refrigerated in an airtight container.
Note If fresh raspberries are unavailable, substitute defrosted frozen raspberries.
This recipe appeared in the July 2009 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.
It's worthwhile following the link, as they give you a quick rundown on some tricks of making the tiny treats.
The method all went well for me until i realised my cheapie piping set didn't have a 1cm tip. I really need to find a decent set. I tried making a bag from baking paper, but the tape kept unpeeling. So i grabbed the plastic bag that i'd bought the almond meal in and filled that. However, the seal on the bag was not idea for piping - when i cut a 1cm tip into it, it stayed joined to the bag in the middle so i had two smaller tips. No idea what was going on there but i had run out of ideas so i just piped as carefully as i could. A tip - cut the baking paper to fit the tin, as the macarons are not heavy enough to hold raised edges down and will run.
I did only leave the macarons to dry for 2 hours... could be why they were a bit flat when out of the oven. Or, it could be that i overmixed the almond mixture into the eggs, i suspect it's this more than the drying time. Next time i would not add it in spoon by spoon, but rather in 2 or 3 lots. You can see here that the mix is too liquid and they've spread too far.
I was very careful with my oven, as it tends to run hot, but unfortunately i still ended up with one tray of the treats being browned on top. Never mind; just means i need to practice :) Think i'll use the bottom element only next time.
I had a bit of trouble getting them off the baking sheet once they'd cooled. The middle of the base is a little sticky still, and stuck to the sheet. A silicon sheet would prevent that.
The ganache was easy to make but it didn't make enough. I ran out with about 4 pairs of shells to go.
Although they're not perfect, they taste pretty damn good!