Last Sunday Astrid Wootton taught a macaron class in our kitchen attended by Mary and me, Astrid's partner Jade, Ella Haddad and her two small girls and our Munsterlander, Minnie. It was a crowded house with some great results.
The first step in making chocolate macarons is to blend almond meal, cocoa and icing sugar and then put it through a sieve.
Next the almond meal and sugar is mixed with 80g of egg white and stirred through and set aside.
Then beat up another 80g of egg whites to stiff peaks while at the same time heating up 200g of caster sugar with 75ml of water til the syrup is at soft pull - about 140C.
This is the preparation for Itlalian meringue. The hot sugar syrup is then slowly whipped into the beaten egg whites resulting in a silky, partially cooked meringue which will defy gravity.
What follows is the macaronage. About half of the Italian meringue is stirred quite strongly into the almond meal, sugar and egg white mix and when mixed through gently fold in the balance of the Italian meringue.
It is mixed correctly when you can pull the spoon out and wave it around the bowl and ribbons form on the surface.
The mix then goes into a piping bag ...
... and is piped on to a baking sheet. The discs are then set aside for 30 minutes before cooking begins.
The same method is followed for the pistachio macarons with ground pistachios taking the place of the almond meal and cocoa mix.
A tiny amount of green food gel is stirred into the macaronage for a more vivid colour.
The macaron halves then go into a pre - heated 125C fan forced oven for 14 minutes. Take them out and leave the baking paper on the sink which should be ever so slightly moistened. Leave them for 10 minutes before pushing them off the baking sheet from underneath and placing them on racks to cool further.
The biscuit halves are then paired off for size and the chocolate macarons are gently spread with chocolate ganache or salted caramel and the pistachio with pistachio butter or salted caramel. As the halves are put together a gentle twisting motion is used to bring the filling to an even thickness and to the edge of the "foot" of the biscuit.
Thanks heaps Astrid. You are a star and a great teacher.
And the recipes with precise quantities and more detailed instructions will be posted next.