Food of the Month: Macarons

Monday 1 June 2015 by

Macaron, Favourite Food of the Month, Gluten free, Patisserie

Okay, so we’re steering away from a certain ingredient this month. But, after the macaron and mews tour at the weekend, there was no way it could be anything but the wonderful macaron for this month’s favourite food. Macarons (the French, ground almond sandwich kind) are delicious treats that are getting more and more popular in the UK. Just as the tour showed, there are so many places in London you can find some amazing flavours. Try the passionfruit and chocolate milk from Pierre Hermé, or black sesame from Super Cute Macaron, or better yet, try the infamous Marie Antoinette tea from Ladurée. If you want to go madly indulgent, try the Crunchie macaron from Recipes and Reviews. Macarons aren’t easy to make, but once you get the recipe down pat, you can go mad. But I had to go with my absolute favourite recipe I’ve ever made, and that was the blackberry macaron…

Macaron, Favourite Food of the Month, Gluten free, Patisserie, Blackberry macaron

Blackberry macarons – makes around twelve

You will need:

  • Sieve
  • Bowl
  • Whisk
  • Piping bag with 1cm nozzle
  • Silicon mat (or baking parchment with circles drawn on as a template)

Ingredients:

  • 100g icing sugar
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 2 medium egg whites
  • Small pinch salt
  • 55g caster sugar
  • Purple food colouring

For the filling:

  • 150g unsalted butter, softened
  • 75g icing sugar
  • 150g fresh blackberries (washed)
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt

How to do it:

Macaron, Favourite Food of the Month, Gluten free, Patisserie, Blackberry macaron, Ground almonds

Preheat the oven to 130-140°C fan, with the shelf in the middle of the oven for best results.

Sieve the icing sugar and ground almonds in a mixing bowl and mix together.

Macaron, Favourite Food of the Month, Gluten free, Patisserie, Blackberry macaron, Egg whites

In a separate bowl whisk (use an electric whisk with this!) the egg whites and salt into soft peaks. Add the caster sugar, a little at a time and continue to whisk until the whites are very thick and glossy (it has to be stiff enough to tip upside down without moving). Now add your food colouring, giving it one last quick whisk to put the colour all the way through.

Macaron, Favourite Food of the Month, Gluten free, Patisserie, Blackberry macaron, Egg whites

Gently stir in the icing sugar and almond mix a spoonful at a time. The mixture will lose some air and become quite loose, but go cautiously as you will then keep some air to it.

Macaron, Favourite Food of the Month, Gluten free, Patisserie, Blackberry macaron, Ground almonds, Egg white

Using a piping bag with a 1cm nozzle, fill with the mixture. Then pipe small blobs on to the sheet or silicon mat. Less is more here – the mix will settle in to the circles, so don‘t fill to the edges. If you feel nervy about piping, try out a few practice runs first.

Tap the baking sheet on the work surface to help the mixture settle and break any stray air bubbles, then leave for 20 minutes to dry out to get the surface that smooth, shiny colour. When you touch the macaron, your finger should come away clean.

Bake in the oven for around 7-8 minutes with the door open to release any steam, then close the oven door and cook for another 7-8 minutes. They will be cooked when they are firm, slightly risen, and come away from the tray cleanly.

Macaron, Favourite Food of the Month, Gluten free, Patisserie, Blackberry macaron, Earl Grey martini

For the filling, mix together your butter, icing sugar, vanilla extract and salt to get a thick cream. Then strain your blackberries to squeeze out all the juice (you can use the remaining pulp in a smoothie!) and mix in.

Once your macarons are dry, pair them up and spoon or pipe generous helpings of your filling onto one, and sandwich together.

Macarons are always a party favourite, and you can simply change the colourings and flavours as you see fit. Try savoury macarons, unusual flavours such as charcoal, or the sharp Japanese touches of green tea and yuzu. Popular all around!

Do you love macarons? What’s your favourite flavour?

Check out more asparagus inspiration on the Pinterest board!

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