16 September 2012

Macaron or Macaroon?

So some of you have asked for the macaron recipe I've been using- but before I go ahead I just want to clarify one thing; Macaron or Macaroons? How is it really pronounced and what is the difference?

According to Mr Zumbo a.k.a the dessert king, a Macaron is characterised by a dome-shaped biscuit made of egg whites and almond meal, hard to the touch with a chewy interior. A Macaroon is a small meringue cake, typically made of coconut and often dipped in chocolate. So the next time you buy one of these sugary treats make sure you're asking for the right one! 

A few tips for your baking adventure: 

1. Aging the eggwhites is not necessary, it's recommended but I find that with the method I'm using it doesn't make much of a difference. 

2. Use gel or powder food colouring because the meringue is super sensitive and the tiniest amount of liquid can ruin it.

3. Have the right equipment- you MUST use a weight to weigh out your ingredients, no guestimating. You should also use a candy thermometer- they're easily found at homeware stores or even Victoria's Basement in the city (and usually fairly cheap). 

4. Have lots of patience :D 

Step by Step recipe for Passionfruit Macarons

Using the Italian Meringue method. 

Ingredients for the shell: 

110g egg whites weighed in separate bowls 
(55g for the meringue and 55g for the almond mixture)
150g caster sugar 
30g Caster sugar (For making your shells shiny)
 50g of water

150g Almond meal
150g Icing Sugar
Food colouring of choice

A candy thermometer if you have one

Passionfruit ganache filling

1/4 cup passionfruit puree (you can buy this from woolies)
1 tbsp of cream
50g of white chocolate- or more depending on how thick you want it

Step by step method just for you: 

Part 1:

  1. Weigh 55g of eggwhites and put that in a bowl. Weigh another 55g and put that in a different bowl.
  2. Weigh 150g of Almond meal and sift that into a big mixing bowl. 
  3. Weigh 150g of Icing sugar and sift that into the almond meal mixture. 
  4. Sift the almond meal and icing sugar together so it's well combined.
  1. Weigh out 30g of sugar for the meringue and 150g of sugar for the syrup. 
  2. Weigh out 50 of water. 
  3.  Line your baking trays (you need roughly 3). Personally I don't find silicon mats a whole lot better than normal baking paper so I wouldn't waste anymore money with that.
  4.  Prepare the piping bag fitted with a 1cm nozzle, put it in a cup ready to be filled. Also get your food colouring ready, and anything else you need. Pre-heat oven to 130°C - Depends on your oven though, the temperature ranges from 130-150 but just play around.

Part 2: 

  1.  Put the 150g of caster sugar with the 50g of water in a small saucepan and turn the heat on medium. It's important that you don't stir it even if your'e tempted to, just let it sort itself out :) 
  2. Mix 55g of egg whites in with the almond/icing mixture, make sure it's a smooth consistency, add your food colouring in at this stage too then cover it with clingwrap. 

  1. Put the other 55g of egg whites in a mixing bowl, throw in a pinch of salt and whisk it on low till it foams up like bubble bath, then start incorporating the 30g of sugar slowly (This is to make the shell shiny so I am told). Turn up the speed and keep beating the meringue till it looks like shaving cream. 
  1. Keep an eye on your syrup, it burns easily. If you have a candy thermometer then measure it from the hottest point- for me it's the edge of the saucepan because of the shape of the flames on the stove. You can also put in your food colouring at this point but I found that the colours got diluted down a lot when I did this. When the syrup reaches 108 degrees turn off the heat and let it cool slightly- this is important 'cause if you pour in a boiling syrup then you cook your meringue before you've even started and you end up with sticky, wrinkly soft toe look-alike things! 
  1. Keep beating the egg whites, have the speed on low and then slowly pour in your syrup down the side of the bowl- in a tiny stream at first and then a bit more as you go on. 
  2. When the syrup is fully incorporated into the egg whites- keep beating and turn your speed up a notch. Keep beating till the side of the bowl is cool/warmish to the touch and the batter looks like magma. 

Part 3: 

  1. Mix a little bit of the meringue in with the almond mixture to loosen it up- you can be rough at this point. 
  1. Pour in the rest and mix in a gentle circular motion- crucial step! Don't over mix or you'll end up with a runny mixture but don't mix too little or you'll end up with a lumpy mixture. I think it takes roughly 50 strokes but who's counting? haha. 

  1. To check if your mixture is the right consistency, lift the spatula and a thick magma like ribbon should fall back down into the bowl. If you haven't reached this point before forming your shells, they will have a tiny peak at the top instead of a rounded cap. 
  2.  Slowly transfer the batter into your piping bag. It can get messy here. 
  3. Pipe them onto the baking trays! For teddy bear ones just pipe two mini blobs for ears.
  1. Once you've finished piping, tap the tray from the bottom to get rid of the air bubbles... or sometimes what I do is just drop the whole tray onto the ground.
  2. Leave them to form a skin. Usually the time it takes for me to clean everything up is enough; 15-30 minutes? However, I don't see the harm in leaving them for longer, its up to you.
  3. Bake at 130 degrees for 18-20 minutes. I put a chopstick between the door to let out steam. 
  4. Let them cool and then decorate them with royal icing sugar :) 
  5. Sounds easy right? Well give it a go and have fun! 

Passionfruit ganache filling: 

  1. In a small saucepan, heat the passionfruit puree till it bubbles and thickens a little.
  2.  Add in the cream and keep stirring. When it's bubbling at the sides, remove from the heat and whisk in the white chocolate until melted. 
  3. Refrigerate until use.

p.s Sorry about the weird numbering- it kept re-setting itself every time I inserted an image, HOW ANNOYING. 

Till next time,