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How to make macarons

How to make macarons

How to make macarons

Why not try?

Macarons are the dainty, often pastel-coloured meringue confections that have recently become the height of patisserie fashion. Worshipped by the French and increasingly by the rest of the world, they are not to be confused with the lumpen coconut biscuits known as macaroons. Unlike macaroons, which are very easy to make, producing perfect macarons is a notoriously tricky technique to master but Great British Chefs shows you how.

This recipe is for making macarons using Italian meringue as the base. This involves pouring hot sugar syrup into the egg whites as they are being mixed, as opposed to the less stable French meringue method of folding dry ingredients into the meringue mixture. Once you have perfected the basic recipe, you can start experimenting with colours and flavours or try Graham Hornigold’s combinations.

Because the cooking time is so crucial, it is a good idea to test a small batch before cooking all your macarons. It is also important to know your oven – choose the shelf that is exposed to the most consistent heat and don’t put too many trays in the oven at the same time.

Ingredients

Method

1
Place the ground almonds, icing sugar and half the egg whites in a mixing bowl and mix together to form a smooth paste. Remove from the mixing bowl and set aside. Clean the mixing bowl and paddle thoroughly
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2
Place the remaining egg whites in the clean mixing bowl and begin to whisk on low speed
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3
Put the caster sugar and water into a pan and heat gently to dissolve the sugar. Once dissolved, increase the heat and use a sugar thermometer to monitor the temperature of the sugar syrup. When the temperature of the sugar syrup has reached 105˚C, increase the mixer speed to high and add the remaining 20g of caster sugar to the egg whites to help stabilise the meringue
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4
Once the sugar syrup has reached 118˚C (soft ball stage), reduce the mixer speed to medium and gently pour the hot liquid into the egg whites in a slow, steady stream. Increase the mixer speed to high and mix for one minute. If colour is required, reduce the speed to low, add the desired food colouring and whisk until combined, or until the meringue has cooled to blood temperature and is thick and glossy
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5
Fold one third of the meringue into the almond mixture with a spatula and mix carefully until incorporated
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6
Repeat with another third of the mixture and when incorporated, fold in the remaining meringue and mix until smooth and shiny
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7
Pour the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a plain 10mm nozzle and pipe 45mm rounds on to baking trays lined with silicone baking paper. Leave to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes so that a dry skin forms on the top of the macarons
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8
While the macarons are resting, pre-heat the oven to 130˚C/Gas mark ½. Place the baking trays in the oven for 17–18 minutes until the macarons just peel off the paper. Allow to cool completely before filling and decorating
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9
For the buttercream, pour the egg whites into a mixing bowl and mix on a medium speed
10
Put the caster sugar and water into a pan and heat gently to melt the sugar. When it has melted, increase the heat and use a thermometer to monitor the temperature of the sugar syrup
11
When the temperature of the sugar syrup reaches 118˚C, gently pour the hot liquid into the whisking egg whites in a slow, steady stream. Increase the speed to high and continue to mix until the meringue has cooled to blood temperature
12
Add the soft butter a little at a time and continue to whisk until smooth and fluffy
13
Add any flavouring and colouring required and use the mixture to sandwich two macaron shells together

Tips

Cook the macarons the day before you want to serve them so they have time to break down a bit and become soft and chewy inside.

Be careful not to over-mix the meringue or to overwork it when folding it into the almond mixture.

It is vital to leave the uncooked macarons to rest so they form a skin – if you put them in the oven too quickly, they will crack. Resting is also key for creating the signature ‘frilly’ bottoms of the finished macarons.

Don’t mess with the flavour of the shell – put the flavour in the middle instead.

Don’t under-fill the macarons or they will be too dry.

 
 
 
 

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