Sunday, July 4, 2010
Macarons with Passionfruit Curd
Ah the elusive macaron. So seemingly sweet and innocent on the outside, absolutely filled with sugar-coated kryptonite on the inside. Deceiving bakers everywhere, these tiny little almond meringue shells are taking over.
Last year, kids didn't want a beautifully frosted birthday cake in the shape of a butterfly anymore, they wanted nothing less than a gilded tower of picture perfect cupcakes, iced to within an inch of their lives with rich buttercream in pretty pastel colours. Gone was the messy cake cutting, which personally breaks my heart! The tradition of kissing the closest boy if your knife touches the bottom is dead thanks to the cupcake.
This year, cupcakes have been left to the wayside to make room for a slightly more complex birthday treat; the macaron. The film Marie Antoinette may have made them royalty, but Masterchef made them achievable. I have tried to make these three times. And only on the third go did they finally stand up in the oven on their little meringue feet.
Lucky for me, and you, I have been let in on the secret! You have to let go of everything you know about egg white folding - thank god because I am hopeless at it. Once your whites are whipped to firm peak perfection, and you have sifted any lumps out of your almond meal and icing sugar, you have to quickly mix in the egg whites to get rid of any air, rather than keeping in the air as you would making normal meringues or pavlova etc. THAT'S the clincher, a piping bag also helps with height and consistency.
There are one trillion flavours and combinations that would be perfect for macarons, I started very simple with a passionfruit curd filling, I wanted to get them right before I started mucking around with different flavours. So now that i've figured it out, there will be lots more experimenting to come.
Macarons with Passionfruit Curd
Adapted from raspberricupcakes.blogspot.com
100g aged egg whites (approx 3 eggs)
110g almond meal, dried in a cool (100 degrees C) oven for 5 minutes and sifted
200g icing sugar
1 drop rose pink food dye
Line two baking sheets with baking paper. Carefully sift your cooled almond meal into a large mixing bowl, making sure to not force any lumps through or you will not have a smooth shell. Sift the icing sugar into the same bowl and stir to combine.
Beat egg whites in a medium mixing bowl until it reaches soft peaks. With the mixer on high speed, gradually add sugar (and food colouring) and beat until it reaches stiff peaks, take care not to overmix!
Add meringue to your dry mixture and mix, quickly at first to break down the bubbles in the egg white, then fold carefully as the dry mixture becomes incorporated and it starts to become shiny again. Take care not to overmix, the mixture should flow like lava and a streak of mixture spread over the surface of the rest of the mixture should disappear after 30 seconds to a minute. Place in a piping bag and pipe rounds of about 3cm diameter on lined baking sheets or silicon baking mats. Gently rap your baking sheets on your bench top to remove any extra bubbles from your piped shells. Leave to rest for 5 minutes before baking.
Preheat your oven to 140-150 degrees C (temperature varies depending on your oven). Place on top of an overturned roasting tray or another baking sheet if they are not professional grade. Bake for 13-15 minutes, depending on the size of your shells. Remove from the oven and cool on the tray for a few minutes, then gently remove from the sheet and place on a wire rack to cool completely.
When the shells are completely cooled, spoon about 1 tsp of passionfruit curd into the centre of a shell, and sandwich another shell on top. The flavour of the macarons improves well after a night in an air tight container, so if you can, wait a while!