I have been making a lot of ice-cream lately. That is, ice-cream of the ‘make a custard and then freeze variety’, which, of course, has meant I’ve ended up with a lot of leftover egg whites. Coincidentally, I bought macarons by Pierre Hermé a couple of months ago when it was released in English and was eager to test some recipes!
First of all, let me say the book is great. Having only made macarons a few times before, I thought the book gave very good written and illustrated instructions for making the shells, making the ganache fillings and then filling the macarons. All of the recipes in the book make 72 macarons and, whilst I do love macarons, I wasn’t sure I’d want 72 of one flavour … so I decided to split the shells and make two flavours – raspberry vanilla and raspberry. The raspberry one is straight from the book and the raspberry vanilla is the strawberry and vanilla one adapted as I had plenty of raspberries on hand, but no strawberries. I also thought the tartness of the raspberries would go perfectly with the white chocolate vanilla ganache.
Whilst I made these together, I’ve written up the recipes/instructions as if made separately. My egg whites were a week old and I made all of my fillings two days before I made the shells. I also made a template which helped with the piping – you can download my macaron template here (it is A4 and I know, I know, the rows aren’t alternating as they should be, but they still worked out fine!).
150g ground almonds
150g pure icing sugar
110g egg whites, aged (preferably a week old), split into two 55g portions
3g red food colouring (I used this concentrated colouring, rather than the one suggested in the book, which was 22g of raspberry red food colouring)
150g granulated sugar
500g raspberries (fresh or frozen)
300g caster sugar
25g lemon juice
- Start by making the raspberry jam. Blend the raspberries using a hand blender/stick mixer for 5 minutes or until smooth. Note: At this point you could strain out the seeds if you want, but I preferred to keep them in in this jam.
- Tip the blended raspberries into a pot with the sugar and pectin and bring to the boil for 4-5 minutes before adding in the lemon juice and stirring to combine.
- Pour the jam into a shallow dish to cool before transferring to a container and placing in the fridge.
- To make the macaron shells, mix the ground almonds and icing sugar together and sieve into a large bowl three times (just to make sure all the lumps are removed).
- Mix the colouring into one portion (55g) of egg whites and pour this onto the almond/sugar mixture, but don’t mix in.
- Put the water and sugar into a saucepan and swirl together. Add the second portion of egg whites to a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Start heating the sugar/water mixture towards 118c. When it reaches 115c, start to mix the egg whites on high. Once the syrup reaches 118c, take it straight off the heat and pour it in a thin stream down the side of the mixer bowl, continuing to whisk on high.
- Continue to whisk the meringue on medium speed for about two minutes until you have a nice and glossy meringue. Let the mixture cool in the bowl to around 50c.
- Add all of the meringue to the bowl with the almond/icing sugar/egg white mixture and, using a spatula, fold the mixture together until it starts to shine. You should stir outwards from the middle and to the sides.
- Place your macaron template under baking paper or silkomats (if you have them) – I suggest having them all ready to go as you probably won’t want to stop and start piping once you get on a roll.
- Add the mixture to a piping bag (disposable if you have them) fitted with a plain tip and pipe within the circles. Place the baking paper/silkomats on a tray and tap underneath to flatten the shells out. Repeat until you have used all of your mixture.
- Set aside for about 30 minutes or until the macaron shells have formed a skin that doesn’t stick to your finger.
- Whilst the macaron shells are drying, heat your oven to 180c (fan-forced). Once ready, bake the macarons for 11-12 minutes. Pierre suggests baking for 12, briefly opening and closing the oven after 8 minutes and 10 minutes to let some steam out. I found that the shells closest to the front of the oven got a bit of extra colour – they weren’t completely burnt, but some weren’t edible either. After the first tray I tried varying the times and they seemed to work best cooking for 11 minutes, opening the door after 7.5 and then 9.5. I suggest doing one tray at a time to see what produces the best result for you as each oven is different.
- When you take the shells out of the oven, turn them over so that the flat side is up. Once they have cooled, they are ready for filling. At this point I tried to match up the shells as best as I could so they would be the same size and put them next to each other – much easier than trying to do it when filled!
- Place the raspberry jam inside another piping bag and pipe a generous amount onto each. You will have to work quickly here as I found the jam started to liquefy in the heat which meant it wasn’t great for piping. If that happens, place the piping bag into fridge for a little while to harden up again.
- Top the macarons with their ‘lid’ and place in the fridge for 24 hours. Take them out about 2 hours before serving to let them soften.
Raspberry Vanilla Macarons
150g ground almonds
150g pure icing sugar
110g egg whites, aged for week, split into two 55g portions
1 vanilla bean
150g granulated sugar
175g raspberries (fresh or frozen)
25g caster sugar
10g lemon juice
White Chocolate Vanilla Ganache
165g thickened cream (35% fat)
180g white chocolate
3 vanilla beans
- Start by making the raspberry jelly. Place the gelatine leaves in some water to soak.
- Blend the raspberries using a hand blender/stick mixer until smooth. Either press the mixture through a sieve to remove the seeds or, do what I do and pour the liquid through some muslin. It won’t run through the muslin very quickly, but if you give it a squeeze it will come out nicely – all that will be left in the muslin are the seeds. Stir in the lemon juice and sugar.
- Warm a quarter of the puree to 35-40c. As you aren’t dealing with much liquid here, I found this easiest to do by putting it in the microwave quickly.
- Squeeze out the gelatine leaves, add them to the warmed puree and stir until dissolved. Add in the rest of the puree and mix well to combine. Pour into into a dish lined with gladwrap. You want it to be about 4mm thick. Place it in the fridge for an hour to cool before putting in the freezer to harden for 2 hours. Once it is hard, you can either cut it up into squares or cut out circles. I cut circles using the back of a piping nozzle. Place the circles onto another dish and place in the freezer until ready to use.
- To make the ganache, place the cream into a pot. Split the vanilla beans into two, scrape out the seeds and add to the cream, along with the vanilla bean pods. Bring the cream to the boil and then take off the heat and leave for 30 minutes to infuse.
- Chop up the chocolate into small chunks and place them in a bowl over a pot of barely simmering water until melted (ensure that the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water). Remove the vanilla bean pods from the cream and pour the cream into the chocolate, 1/3 at a time, continuously stirring until well combined. Transfer to a container and leave in the fridge to cool.
- To make the macaron shells, follow steps 4-13 in the above recipe, omitting the red food dye and replacing with vanilla bean seeds.
- To fill the macarons, take out the ganache ahead of time to soften and place into a piping bag. When at a consistency that is easy to work with, pipe onto the shells. Top with a disc of raspberry jelly straight from the freezer – the discs are much easier to work with this way – if they get too warm they melt, making it impossible to lift them up. I suggest also piping a small amount of ganache onto the lids to help the lids stick.
- Place the macarons into the fridge for 24 hours and bring to room temperature for 2 hours before serving.