Another Monday, another macaron. And this one is a cracker – you might know of my love of pecan pie from my Pecan Pie & Toffee Sauce recipe. Well here is another one. This time, though, it’s evolved into these wonderful macarons.
There is something kinda fun about taking a classic dessert and flipping it on it’s head. You recognise the flavours and sometimes the textres but it’s not as you know it. It’s not got a crust and you don’t eat it with a fork. You don’t serve it with ice-cream and some toffee sauce. Instead, all those familiar flavours are in one [or let’s say two] bites and this time, it’s a cookie. Not just a cookie, a French cookie.
Let me know what you think in the comments below and as usual, likes, comments and shares are all massively appreciated.
100g ground almonds
100g icing sugar
72g egg white
100g granulated sugar
Brown food colouring gel
50g butter, softened
100g icing sugar
Pre-heat the oven to 170°C or 160°C fan.
Sieve the almonds and icing sugar in a bowl several times. Three at a minimum. If you don’t have a sieve, use a food processor but either is fine.
Pour half of the egg whites – that’s 36g to be exact (and you need to be exact) – into the almond and icing sugar mixture and mix together with a spoon. It should all come together to create a paste, almost – thick and sticky. Sometimes it calls for me to push the mixture together against the side or bottom of the bowl to bind it together, but just do what works at this stage. Pour the rest of the egg whites into a stand mixer or clean bowl.
Put the sugar and water onto a medium-high heat in a high-sided saucepan. Combine carefully so all the sugar is coated in the water then leave very much alone. It’s worth having a pastry brush and a bowl of water to hand incase sugar crystals form up the side of the pan. Just dab them with the wet brush and they’ll fizzle away, causing you no bother. Bring the mixture to the boil. Using a sugar thermometer, bring the syrup up to 110°C. At this point, start mixing the egg whites in your stand mixer or with an electric hand held whisk. Once the temperature reached 118°C and the eggs are frothy, carefully and slowly pour it into the egg whites. You want to almost dribble the mixture in – pouring it in too quickly is dangerous and you may end up cooking the egg. Cooked eggs are great and all, but on toast, with some bacon. Not in a macaron.
Whisk for about 5-6 minutes of high speed. Halfway, add food colouring. If you want to add more, do so. The colour always fades a little in the oven.
After 6 minutes, the meringue mixture should be approaching stiff peak stage. So long as it holds up on the whisk, it’s done. Take about a quarter and add to the almond and sugar mixture – beat this together to loosen the mixture. Add another quarter and carefully fold together – you don’t want to remove the air you’ve just put into the meringue so slowly and carefully does it. Once combined, add another quarter and repeat the process. You may not use all of the meringue so test every now and then – take a bit of the mixture on the spatula and if it falls away in a ribbon-like consistency and disappears into the rest of the batter in about 10 seconds you’re there. It should fall from the spatula within 2 seconds.
Decant the mixture into a piping bag, fit with a plain round nozzle of about 1/2″. Blob a little of the mixture onto a baking sheet and place the baking paper on top, using the mixture as a glue to stick it down. Baking paper is needed – baking parchment will not suffice!
Pipe the circles onto the baking paper. Sometimes, there may be a ‘nipple’ to your meringue, but worry not, this should disappear with the next movement. That being: taking the baking sheet and knocking it on the counter top several times. Just raise it above the counter a few inches and drop. Rotate 90 degrees and repeat. And twice more.
Leave the macarons uncovered for 15 minutes and then place in the oven for 12 minutes on a low shelf. Any higher the macarons tend to brown and discolour. Once cooked, leave to cool completely before even attempting to remove from the baking paper.
While they are cooling, make the buttercream. Beat the butter with an electric whisk for 5 minutes until pale and smooth. Add 50g of the icing sugar and beat for 2 minutes. Add the remaining 50g and beat once more, with a little splash of milk. Add the pecan flavouring and beat together.
Transfer to a piping bag with a round plain nozzle and pipe around the edge of one side of the shell to each macaron. Do this with all of the shells, leaving the centre empty. Transfer a new spoonfuls of the caramel to a second piping bag and fill in the centre with the caramel.
Repeat the process with all the macarons and place in the fridge for firm up. After a couple of hours, remove from the fridge and tuck in 30 minutes later and enjoy the nutty and caramel goodness!