Me and macarons weren’t on good terms over a year ago but after 4 months of working on our relationship, we’re pretty friendly and I’m going to share with you my recipe and method for a healthier relationship with macarons.
Every since I started working as a pastry chef I had always wanted to learn how to make macarons, it was honestly the ultimate goal! But I could never get it right and I never understood why. They always cracked, browned around the edges or would come out raw. Even going to college to learn how to make them didn’t help, we showed up to class one day and our tutor said (I kid you not) “we’re making macarons today, I’ve never made them but we’ll see how it goes”… yeah, there was a reason our whole class sent constant formal complaints throughout the year, but enough of that.
A pastry chef from a facebook group I follow shared her recipe one day so I gave it a go in work as a had some free time and I can’t even begin to tell you how happy I was when they came out. These little blue macarons with feet with no cracks! I went home from work that day with the biggest smile on my face.
Looking back at those macarons though, they weren’t perfect. They browned on the edges slightly, they were a tad hollow and the feet weren’t great so I tweaked the recipe and the method and now I can say I am 100% happy with how my macarons turn out.
This recipe uses the French meringue method instead of the Italian method. I much prefer the French meringue method because I find it so much easier! There’s less faffing around with hot sugar syrup and thermometer which means it all gets made much quicker. I only use the Italian method now if I’m trying to get a very specific dark vibrant colour as you can add colouring to two parts of the mixes. But anyway… Let’s get into the recipe.
- 3 large egg whites
- 50g ofcaster sugar
- 1 tsp of lemon juice
- 125g ground almonds
- 200g icing sugar
- Gel food colouring (optional)
- Blitz the almonds and icing sugar in a food processor for about 5 minutes and then sieve into a bowl and set aside (If you have about a tablespoon of almonds that you can’t get through the sieve then just chuck it. If you have quite a lot that you can’t get through then process again to get the almonds are finer).
- Whisk up the egg whites with the lemon juice in a stand mixed (or using a hand mixer) until very soft peaks then slowly add in the caster sugar while whisking on high until all the sugar has dissolved and you’ve formed a meringue. At this point you can add food colouring by whisking it into the meringue.
- Fold in by hand with a spatula half of the almond icing sugar mix until roughly combined and then add the rest. Fold the mix until you reach a ‘flowing lava’ stage, which if you’re like most people you have no idea what I’m talking about, but I’ll try my best to explain. Basically you want the macaron mix to reluctantly flow off your spactular and ribbon down to the rest of your mix which will then ‘melt’ into that mix in within about 10-15 seconds. Once you’re at that stage, stop mixing.
- Line two baking trays with parchment paper (or silicone mats) and put your macaron mix into a piping bag fitted with a medium sized round nozzle.
- Hold your piping bag vertically about 1cm above where you intend to pipe and apply a little bit of pressure to make a round macaron shape and release the pressure and move away. Do this all over your baking trays leaving about a 5cm gap between each macaron. You can use a paper template underneath your parchment paper if you want all of your macarons to be exactly the same size or if you’re not too confident with piping, I do it all free-hand though.
- Firmly tap your baking trays on all sides on your work surface to release any air pockets in your macarons.
- Pre-heat your oven to 140C and let your macarons sit at room temperature for about 20-30 minutes until it forms a ‘skin’ (when you lightly touch the macaron with your finger it shouldn’t be tacky anymore or none of the mix should come off on your finger).
- Pop your macarons in the oven at 140C and bake for about 15 minutes, then take them out and allow to cool completely before removing them from their trays.
- Sandwich your macarons with whatever you like (i.e buttercream, fruit curd, caramel or ganache)