Ah the Macaron; fancy, delicate, stubborn, downright infuriating. I would argue that behind every great baker there is a failed batch of macarons- it’s almost like a right of passage. Yet trust me when I say that with a little perseverance and lots of practice you can have these dainty little confections mastered in no time!
While many recipes call for fiddly steps such as heating up sugar, I managed to find a super simple recipe by Rachel Allen that involves minimal fuss (I adapted the quantities to suit how many I wanted). Once you have this basic recipe mastered then you can experiment with different flavours and fillings. I decided to go for a pistachio flavour as green is one of my favourite colours and it’s really simple to incorporate pistachios into the recipe. Now go forth and conquer my friends…
Prep time: 1 hour
For the shells:
100g Icing Sugar
50g Ground Almonds
25g Pistachios plus one extra handful for topping
37g Caster Sugar
2 Large Eggs
For the Filling:
250g Icing Sugar
Green Food colouring
Specialist equipment: Gel or powder food colouring must be used for the shells as liquid will make the meringue to runny.
I use a macaron mould that I bought from Lakeland to ensure that my macarons are all perfectly round, but you don’t need to use one.
You will also need a food processor or a hand held blender.
1. Set the oven to 150°C/ 300 F/ Gas Mark 2
2. To make the shells…Grind your 25g of pistachios in the food processor. Then add the ground almonds and icing sugar blending together until they are all combined.
3. Separate your eggs, discarding the yolks and keeping the whites.
4. Whisk the egg whites and caster sugar together until you have a stiff glossy meringue.
5. Add your green food colouring to the meringue, whisking briefly until the colour is evenly distributed. Word of advice- make the colour brighter than you think it should be as much of the colouring will fade during the baking process.
6. Now for the tricky bit. Tip your ground almond, pistachio, icing sugar mix into the green meringue mix and using a spatula, begin to gently fold the dry mix into the wet, incorporating as much air as possible.
7. You want to keep doing this until the dry mix is totally incorporated into the wet meringue mix. Pick up your spatula with some of the mixture on it and then let it run off- you want it to fall from the spatula like a ribbon and leave a trail on the surface of the mix in the bowl. Knowing when it’s done is the tricky bit but I would say that under mixed is better than over mixed.
9. Now its time to pipe your shells. As I said before, I use a mould for this, but it is not necessary- you can just pipe directly onto a tray covered in a sheet of baking parchment. If you want to be really neat you can even draw circular templates on to the paper.
12. Once you are satisfied that they have a shiny top you need to put them in the oven for 12-14 minutes. Once you take them out of the oven leave them to cool before trying to handle them, as they can be quite delicate while they are still warm.
13. To make the filling… Make a buttercream filling by beating the butter and icing sugar together with green food colouring until it is smooth.