Friday, 12 October 2012

Red Macarons With Chocolate Ganache

There are times when I'm driven to make a certain recipe, but the prospect of failure puts me off, I don't really like to try any recipe unless I'm sure I have a chance of success. It's a control thing, so when I thought about making Macarons, I assumed it was for experts, mine wouldn't look like the real thing. There is a long history attached to these little cakes and they have a very definite look and feel to them. Now I'm no expert but I think these look the part. I don't think Ladurée will be looking for my services any time soon but I'm really happy with them (for a first attempt).
When I started baking first, I though that certain recipes were "too difficult" and that because I wasn't part of that heritage I had no right bake them, well I have long since given up that idea and this is one of those recipes. These are light and beautiful, when I bite into them the light crisp shell gives away to soft and rich ganache...heaven. Don't be put off by what others say, go out on a limb and make these, be proud of them, share them with others. Doing this post has been cathartic for me and given me the confidence to try new flavours and new recipes. Enjoy baking.....

Makes 15 to 20 Macarons

For the macarons:
155g Ground almonds
200g Icing sugar, sifted
3 Egg whites
Red food colouring paste ( I used Sugarflair paste Christmas Red)

Chocolate Ganache Filling:
100g Dark chocolate (55% cocoa solids is sufficient)
100ml Double cream

Make the ganache first and allow to cool completely. Break the chocolate into small pieces, place in a small jug with the cream and melt in the microwave. This should only take 2-3 minutes, but it's best to check every 30 seconds just in case the chocolate burns (yuck). Stir until smooth and allow to cool.

Meanwhile line two large baking sheets with baking paper (parchment paper). Whisk the egg whites in a large spotlessly clean bowl (otherwise they won't whisk up correctly) until they form stiff peaks. Add the icing sugar a couple of tablespoons at a time until it is all incorporated.

Your mix should be meringue like (shiny and smooth). Gently fold in the food colouring paste (about a quarter of a teaspoon) and ground almonds until everything is completely mixed through and smooth (my batter should have been smoother, less bumps on the finished shell)

Spoon or pipe small rounds onto the baking sheets, leaving a 2cm gap between each. If you are piping the macarons, hold the piping bag vertically over the sheet, gently squeeze the bag, until a small round is formed, carefully but quickly lift the bag away and move onto the next macaron (it would be worth watching the professionals do this, they almost whip the bag away from the macaron once it's piped). TIP: Place a small splodge of macaron mix under each corner of the baking paper to prevent the parchment paper lifting while you are piping.

Gently bang the baking sheets on a solid surface to remove any air bubbles and to smooth out the tops. With a wet finger smooth away any remaining peaks, this looks more professional and it prevents the peaks burning in the oven. Leave for 30 minutes to form a skin.

Preheat the oven to 160ºC/325ºF/Gas Mark 3. Bake for 15 minutes or until firm.

Cool on the tray before transferring to a wire rack (I used a pallet knife to move them).

Spread a large teaspoon of ganache over the base of the macaron and sandwich on the top halves.

Related Reading:
Ladurée: The True Story of the Ladurée Macaron
No so Humble Pie: Macaron Troubleshooting and A Recipe
David Lebovitz: French Chocolate Macarons Recipe
You Tube: Piping Macaron Shells

1 comment:

  1. These are beautiful! I love macarons, and making them, and will try these as a christmas offering. Thanks for the recipe and lovely photos.