I can’t think why I’ve never made macarons until recently. Perhaps it’s because, if you buy them from a shop, they are sooooo expensive that I thought they must be tricky to make at home. Well, I had a surfeit of egg whites and I didn’t want to make a pavlova or meringues, so I thought I’d have a crack at macarons.Turns out they aren’t that tricky at all once you practice!
I consulted quite a few recipes but the Ottolenghi one seems to be both simple and effective! My first batch didn’t look amazing because I over-baked them and they cracked but the batch after that were pretty darn good judging by how quickly they were snaffled up. You can see the difference between the perfect smooth ones and the cracked ones in the picture. They both tasted great though. This recipe will make about 20 little ones if you use a £2 coin as your template – that’s about the width of a thumb joint. They are perfect to take along as a dinner party contribution to nibble on with an espresso and coeliac sufferers can eat them as they don’t contain gluten.
You will need…
- 2 baking trays covered with baking parchment – attach it with a little of the meringue mixture to stop it moving. Pencil 20 circles on to each sheet using something the size of a £2 coin or an eggcup as a template. A little space needs to be left between each circle so that the macaroons don’t run into one another.
- Either a piping bag or a couple of teaspoons to dot the mixture onto the baking sheet.
- 2 large mixing bowls, a fine sieve and an electric whisk.
- 110g icing sugar.
- 50g ground almonds.
- 12g good quality cocoa powder. I use Bournville or Green and Black’s.
- 2 egg whites (60g).
- 40g caster sugar.
- To fill, I used a mixture of cream of pistachio for half and salted dulche de leche for the rest. You could use plain chocolate ganache or ganache mixed with chopped nuts.
- Prep your baking trays and preheat the oven to 170°C.
- Using a fine sieve, sift the icing sugar and the cocoa powder into a large bowl. Add in the ground almonds and mix thoroughly.
- Add the caster sugar and the egg white to the other bowl and whisk into a thick meringue but don’t let it go dry.
- Add the egg white, a third at a time, to the icing sugar and almonds. You will end up with a sticky, smooth and glossy kind of dough. Just be careful not to knock the air out of the mixture or they won’t rise.
- Dot the circles on the baking sheet with macaron by using a piping bag or a couple of teaspoons.
- Lift the tray and tap it firmly underneath so that the mixture spreads into the circles.
- Leave them to stand uncovered for at least 30 minutes.
- Bake for 12 minutes in the oven – this will depend on your oven but really isn’t likely to take more than 15 minutes. They will crack if you overcook them which is the mistake I made first time around – the second time, they were perfect. I cooked mine one tray at a time so they could go on the middle shelf and that way if I messed up the first tray, the second would be OK.
- Take the macarons out of the oven and leave them to cool. Gently lift them off the baking parchment with a palate knife when you want to fill them.
- Drop a teaspoon of the filling in the centre of one macaron shell and then gently press the second shell on top so that the filling just comes to the edge without oozing out all over the place.
- Place them on a plate and cover gently with cling film and put them in the fridge to set. Take them out about half an hour before serving. They should be crisp on the outside and deliciously soft on the inside.