Macaron, The Spectacular Cookie

In The Kitchen With Elizabeth Reid
Pistachio & Tiramisu Macarons


Story & Photography by Christine Fillat

You love the fine things in life. You have a sweet tooth. You have a penchant for the delicate crunch and delightful subtle sweetness of when you bite into a macaron. You may not be able to fly off to France to find the authentic cookie of your fantasies within 24 hours. Yet you can make your own fabulous confection! All you need is a couple of specialty kitchen tools: a kitchen scale, a pastry bag with tip, and a nice, warm oven.  And a little patience.
But it’s worth it!  Bonne Chance!  Good Luck!

 

MACARON SHELL RECIPE:
Ingredients

• 150 grams egg whites (at room temperature)
• 100 grams granulated sugar
• 180 grams ground almonds or almond flour
• 270 grams powdered sugar
• Gel or powdered food coloring

Instructions

1. Whisk the egg whites until they hold firm peaks, and then add the granulated sugar a spoonful at a time while continuing to whisk.

2. Mix the ground almonds and powdered sugar together, making sure there are no lumps. Add to the meringue (egg white and sugar) mixture. Mix together well. There is no need to be gentle here. Add any gel or powder coloring you want to add at this point. The next step is to use a pastry scraper or hard spatula to push back and forth in this mixture for 5 minutes. This pushes out a lot of the air in the mixture. Once completed, put the mixture in a pastry bag fitted with a #10 tip. On parchment paper lined trays, squeeze out small rounds (about the size of a 50 cent piece) from the pastry bag, leaving space between them to spread a bit. It is best to make them roughly the same size so that they will all be cooked uniformly when removed from the oven.

3. Let these piped circles sit out for 30 minutes to an hour. This helps to form the “feet” of the macaron shell. In a preheated fan oven (set to 320 degrees), cook for 10 to 12 minutes. Test the top of one macaron at 10 minutes to see if it wobbles when you touch it. If so, cook another minute or two.

4. When the pans are removed from the oven, let the shells cool on the cooking sheets. Remove them from the parchment with a palate knife. This helps to handle the shell delicately and prevents breakage. If they stick to the paper, try either letting them sit out an hour longer or pop the tray in a freezer; both of these tricks can help with removal.

5. When ready to fill, line up in pairs, choosing the ones that pair easily before filling.

**The above recipe is used for both types of macarons; you may color them according to their filling.

 

PISTACHIO FILLING:
Ingredients

• 100 grams unsalted butter, softened
• 180 milliliters of milk (full fat)
• 2 tablespoons pistachio meal
• 30 more grams of pistachio meal
• a few drops of almond extract
• 1 egg
• 20 grams of sugar
• 20 grams of custard powder (usually near the gelatin section)

Instructions

1. In a saucepan, bring milk, all ground pistachios, and almond flavoring to near boiling. Separately, mix egg, sugar, and custard powder. Off the heat, add the egg mixture to the pistachio mixture whisking well together.  Return to low heat and stir until thickened. Cover with plastic wrap to prevent skin from forming on the custard. Let cool. Once cool, cream the butter and then add the cooled mixture and mix well.

2. Transfer to a piping bag with a #10 tip and pipe filling onto one shell of each pair. Assemble the macarons. Refrigerate for at least 24 hours before serving. The macarons can be frozen.

 

TIRAMISU FILLING:
Ingredients

• 130 grams whipping cream
• 2 tablespoons coffee powder or 1 of espresso powder
• 170 grams white chocolate
• a few drops of almond extract

Instructions

1. Heat the cream with the coffee powder in a saucepan.  Melt the chocolate in a bowl over boiling water.  Slowly add it to the cream. Add the almond flavoring. Cool in the refrigerator for an hour.

2. Transfer to a piping bag with a #10 tip and pipe filling onto one shell of each pair. Assemble the macarons. Refrigerate for at least 24 hours before serving. The macarons can be frozen.

 

With roots in France and Atlanta, GA, Elizabeth Reid is an Annapolitan
and life-time gourmet who teaches French at The Key School.

From Vol. 4, No. 2 2013
Annapolis Home Magazine