Monday, 5 November 2012

Macaroons Take II

So, despite me being less than satisfied with them, everyone else seemed pretty happy with my Halloween macaroons. Especially Charlie, who took a great deal of pleasure in poking hers. No, I'm not sure why either.

On Halloween itself, we went to a networking event after a long day of shorthand. I was very tired, I was the only person who had turned up to uni wearing a costume (a cat suit and ears) and there was a table full of free wine with my name on it. I don't remember much except I fell over on the way TO the pub, I asked a barman for his number and I sent an ill-advised text...

I woke up in the morning in a reflective mood - translation: with the mopey kind of hangover. I decided that good as wine is, she is a cruel mistress. So I'm going to run away and bake instead of getting drunk, and live in a castle made of diabetes and regret.

So I decided to try macaroons again. I did some reading up on the internet, and decided to try the Italian meringue method. I used this recipe by Pierre Hermés. It didn't really work, my macaroons aren't shiny and meringue like, they're more cakey, and they don't have feet. But at least they came off the baking sheet without disintegrating. And tasted good.
I adapted the recipe above and made chocolate macaroons filled with the chilli and lime ganache I made in my last blog post, and then made peppermint macaroons with dark chocolate ganache. I've already given you the recipe for the chilli and lime ganaches, and I made the chocolate shells according to Pierre Hermés' recipe, so I'll give you the peppermint one. So, if you want to make macaroons that aren't quite right, follow this recipe:

For the shells:

100g icing sugar
100g ground almonds 
40g dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids)
73g egg whites
100g granulated sugar
2.5 tbsp water
1 tsp green food colouring
1 tsp peppermint flavouring

For the ganache,

160g dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids)
180ml double cream
1 tbsp butter

1. For the ganache, melt the chocolate, butter and cream together in a ceramic bowl over a pan of barely simmering water. When the chocolate and butter has melted stir together until the ganache is all of a uniform colour and consistency.

 2. Sieve the ground almonds and icing sugar together in a bowl.
3. Split the egg whites into two halves. Add the flavouring and colouring to one and add to the almonds and icing sugar. There is no need to stir.
4. Begin whisking the other egg whites in a clean metal bowl. When they start to near soft peaks, begin heating the granulated sugar and water in a pan with a sugar thermometer.
5. When the egg whites reach soft peaks and the sugar syrup reaches 118C, add the syrup to the egg whites,  beating all the time.
6. When the mixture returns to soft peaks and looks glossy, pour it on top of the almonds and icing sugar mixture.
7. Fold the mixtures together until of a smooth consistency. Then spoon into an icing bag.

8. Pipe 3-4cm circles  2cm apart onto two baking sheets lined with baking parchment. Preheat oven to 180C. Tap the baking sheets sharply on the work surface to knock out air bubbles, then leave for 30 minutes.
9. Bake for 12-15 minutes. As you can see, mine have started to colour around the edges, so they were probably in too long.
10. Spread the ganache on half the shell halves, then sandwich them to the other halves.

And now, Charlie pokes a macaroon:

Until my next bake,


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