As those who follow me regularly know, I’ve made macarons for quite some time – trying different recipes and combinations, doing my research and knowing that making macarons in humid conditions is an absolute no-no, and that leaving the sandwiched macarons to rest in the fridge overnight will allow the flavours to infuse to greater, more complex and intense depths.
I was therefore pretty intrigued when I was invited to attend the Mak Mak Macaron Masterclass at their store in Newtown, as part of the classes schedule for Good Food Month. I always jump at the opportunity to perfect my skills, and while I’ve pretty much narrowed down my best recipe to date, it still tends to be a bit unpredictable in how the results turn out.
I arrived bright-eyed and enthusiastic, ready to get my macarons on. But before I could get to that, I needed to meet the macaron team and they gave us a run-down on the characteristics of a perfect macaron.
A smooth, slightly shiny top, the ruffled “foot” are the physical features you look for, and then when you bite into it, you’re looking for a crisp, slightly chewy outer shell before it gives way to a soft, melt-in-the-mouth sensation.
But how to achieve this effect? I watched carefully as they showed us their technique of making Mak Mak macarons, and I noted a number of key differences between their recipe and my own:
- Not using “aged” egg whites, just room temperature egg whites;
- By using a drum sieve instead of a usual curved sieve, it made the icing mixture/almond meal mix a lot finer, resulting in a smoother top;
- They used the Italian meringue method where they “cooked” the meringue using the sugar syrup;
- They used a different method of incorporating the meringue into the almond mix – add a third and beat it in vigorously to get the vivid colour of the mixture consistent, then gently fold in the rest;
- Once you had piped the macaron mixture onto the trays, there then was a fair bit of vigorous banging of the tray on the table to flatten the macarons and getting them into a nice round circle;
- Not resting the macaron shells at all after they had been freshly piped into rounds. The mixture was thicker than I had ever handled and to my surprise still developed feet without a resting period.
And these will result in beautiful macaron shells! We sandwiched them together with a creamy Passionfruit Cider Ganache and happily packed up our macarons to take home.
I was so ridiculously pleased with them that I tried making them again with the same recipe at home and turned out with the same results – that’s the true test of a recipe! So now I’m going to share it with you 😉
For 25 macarons, you will need:
- 144g egg whites (divided into two parts of 94g and 50g);
- 135g almond meal;
- 135g pure icing sugar;
- 253g white sugar;
- 62g water;
- 4g purple food colouring paste.
- Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celcius.
- Combine almond meal, pure icing sugar and mix well.
- Pass this mix through a sieve to break up the clumps.
- Add purple colouring paste to 50g portion of egg whites and pour into bowl of sieved ingredients. Mix until it becomes a paste.
- In a saucepan, bring water and sugar to boil. Use a sugar thermometer to monitor the temperature of the syrup – 118 degrees Celcius is idea (soft ball stage).
- When the syrup reaches 114 degrees Celcius, separately begin to whisk 94g portion of the egg whites to soft peaks.
- When the syrup reaches 118, pour it over the whisked egg whites. Continue to whisk until the meringue cools and the bowl is warm to the touch (about 50 degrees Celcius).
- Take 192.5g of the meringue out of the mixing bowl and set aside.
- Add a third of the meringue that has been set aside into the macronage and mix hard to incorporate and soften it.
- Add remaining meringue and mix gently. Scrape the bottom until it is fully incorporated. Take care not to over-mix.
- Put batter into a piping bag fitted with a plain nozzle.
- Line baking trays with baking paper and pipe rounds of batter (4cm in diameter) into trays. Leave 2cm between each round.
- Tap the tray firmly against bench to remove air bubbles and settle the batter.
- Bake for eight minutes.
- Check shells by gently touching them. If it still wobbles to the touch, bake for another minute.
- Remove the trays from the oven and allow to cool completely. Once cooled carefully remove the shells from the trays and baking paper.
- Pair each shell with a like-sized shell.
- Put the ganache into a piping bag fitted with a plain nozzle (see recipe for ganache below).
- Pipe the filling onto half the shells and top with the remaining shells.
For the Passionfruit Cider Ganache, you will need:
- 200g passionfruit pulp;
- 20g white sugar;
- 110g Rekorderlig Premium Passionfruit Cider;
- 300g white couverture chocolate.
- Over medium heat, reduce passionfruit, cider and sugar by half until it’s thick and syrupy. Stir frequently and keep an eye on it to ensure it doesn’t burn. This should take about 20 minutes.
- Melt white chocolate in a bowl over a saucepan of water. Be careful not to get any water in the melted chocolate.
- Remove white chocolate from saucepan and allow it to cool down for five minutes. Mix in the warm passionfruit reduction.
- Put ganache in a piping bag and chill thoroughly before piping onto shells.
Aaaaand you’ll have gorgeous, perfect macarons! And these were made without half of the fuss I usually make over aging the egg whites or resting. I really do think this recipe is a winner. Give it a go at home and let me know what you think 😉