This post marks the occasion of Valentine’s Day – which doesn’t have to be all about having a mate; it can simply be thinking about the things you love. I love vanilla ice cream, hydrangeas, singing in the car, board games, new stationary, old baking tins, watching my cat lick her paws and I love people. My boyfriend says I love people too much – but I think that’s impossible!Oh and I love macarons. Ever since going to Adriano Zumbo’s little patisserie in Balmain and trying flavours of wasabi, vegemite, rosemary & apricot, licorice and bubblegum I became a disciple to the religion of Zumbaroons.
I received the Zumbo cookbook for xmas (thanking you sister) and at first I was a little frightened by the Willy Wonka styling, but these recipes are solid and trustworthy. I must admit, his unorthodox approach to an otherwise traditional fare gets me a little bit hot under the collar.
The shape of my macarons aren’t perfect (next time I will use a smaller piping bag nozzle), my filling was a little runny and I really wanted them red, not pink (thanks a lot ‘pillar box red’ food colouring) but I plan to work on these things for next time!
makes approx 30 macaronsFor the macarons
150g almond meal
150g icing sugar
55g egg whites
150g caster sugar
55g egg whites
1g egg white powder (or omit this and use older egg whites)
1 tsp food colouring
For a simple filling:
2 tbsp fresh cream
Icing sugar to your sweetness
Freeze dried raspberry powder to your taste
For a more complex filling make a creme patisserie, then add a little liquid cream and freeze dried raspberry powder
MethodFor the macarons
1. Preheat the oven to 150ºC.
2. Process the almond meal with the icing sugar in a blender until fine. 3. Sieve the ingredients – any large lumps should be processed once more.
4. In a bowl, mix 55g egg whites with the almond meal/icing sugar mixture, cover and set aside.
5. In a mixer with a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites and add the egg white powder.
6. In a sauce pan, bring the caster sugar and water to the boil. Add the food colouring. Brush the sides of the sauce pan with water and simmer until the mixture reaches 118ºC.
7. Slowly pour the sugar syrup down the side of the mixing bowl (containing the beaten egg whites) and continue whisking until the temperature reaches 50-55ºC (this should take approximately 8 minutes).
8. Fold 1/3 of the almond meal mixture into the egg white mixture. Then fold in the rest of the almond meal mixture and mix until it is glossy and slides down the side of the mixing bowl.
9. Fill a piping bag with the mixture and pipe onto baking paper lined oven trays. Pipe into circles (3-4cm in diameter) and leave to sit for 15 minutes (until you can touch the top without leaving a mark).
Cook for 16 minutes.
For the filling
10. Mix the mascarpone with a touch of cream, a little icing sugar and sprinkle of raspberry powder. It should be the consistency of whipped butter – easy to spread onto the macarons.
For the complex filling make a standard crème patisserie (pastry cream or custard), mix in a little cream and the freeze dried raspberry powder. The benefit to this is that you will have pastry cream left over and your partner may profess their undying love for you after you serve it to them for dessert with canned black doris plums and lightly toasted pistachios. The negative is that it takes more time than my other suggestion.
11. Fill the mascarpone into a piping bag and pipe a blob onto one side of the macaron. Match up with an even sized mate and press slightly so the filling spreads to the edges.