Writing this post is so going to make me look like a Masterchef groupie / copycat, especially after having made the Masterchef cupcake recipe and chocolate fondants, but I actually made these macaroons last week. They turned out to be a disaster and I was debating whether or not I should post about it, but now that the general public knows how ridiculously hard they are to perfect, hopefully I won’t be viewed as a total failure!
I first discovered macaroons last year while I was honeymooning in Paris. The tour guide was telling us we had to go and try out this thing called a macaroon at Laduree (a famous French bakery). They look like a biscuit, kind of like a melting moment / yoyo, but taste more like a chewy meringue. A macaroon is unlike anything else you would have tasted and are quite uncommon in Australia. I believe the correct French spelling is “macaron” but it is pronounced like “macaroon”.
I noticed a recipe for a pistachio macaroon in Nigella Lawson’s How to be a Domestic Goddess cookbook. I had heard that macaroons were notoriously difficult to make, but I didn’t realise how hard until I gave it a go myself… and I am just a beginner baker!
Before I begin, let me show you how the picture of how the end product is supposed to look like.
Don’t they look divine?! Nigella’s versions are quite cracked compared to a “normal” macaroon but they still look good enough to eat! Macaroons are supposed to have a smooth crunchy outer, but be soft and chewy on the inside. The perfect macaroon is supposed to have a footing which appears at the bottom of each flawlessly round disc. My macaroon however *cringe*… I’ll leave it to the photos to tell the story!
I experienced everything that went wrong with the Masterchef contestants’ macaroons. The batter was too thin, which caused the piped macaroons not to hold their shape and flatten out. This in turn caused a lot of the macaroons to join together! It was also very hard to try and make even sized rounds.
I didn’t even think to scrape the whole lot and re-pipe like Poh did – I just put them in the oven and hoped for the best. After about a minute they started to rise up and within a few minutes started to turn brown, probably an indication that my oven was too hot. They were supposed to be in the oven for at least 10 minutes, but after about 9 I took them out as they already looked burnt.
Some had the footing, while others had none. Some cracked and some stayed flat. The only thing going in my favour was that they came off the baking paper easily and the backs were okay!
Not all was lost though – for some weird but funny reason, each disc had its perfect match and I was able to join up the individual discs to make something that resembled a macaroon!
There was actually one or two that didn’t look too bad.
Despite their look, they tasted so insanely good! I couldn’t stop at one! I actually liked the initial super crunchy texture which then turned chewy in my mouth. They were very, very sweet though so next time I would probably try and change the quantities of icing sugar to pistachio. (Yes, there will be a next time!)
Makes about 20
125g icing sugar
2 large egg whites
15g caster sugar
125g icing sugar
63g unsalted butter, softened
1. Preheat the oven to 180C. You are supposed to let your batter sit for a while, so I wouldn’t start preheating the oven until during the resting time.
2. Grind the pistachios in a food processor along with the icing sugar (this stops them turning into an oily mess), until fine as dust. Make sure you sift the ground pistachios as I still had some chunks in mine. Re-grind any chunks again.
3. Whisk the eggs whites until fairly stiff, but not dry, sprinkle the caster sugar over and whisk until very stiff. This is the hard part because I had never whisked egg whites before so I wasn’t sure what it was supposed to look like.
4. Fold the whites into the pistachio-sugar dust and combine gently.
5. Pipe small rounds onto your lined baking sheet, using a 1cm plain nozzle. Let them sit for about 10 minutes to form a skin. I read that you should leave them about 30 minutes to an hour so I left them for an hour.
6. Put in the oven and cook for 10-12 minutes. They should be set but not dried out.
7. Remove from the oven and let cool, still on their sheets, while you get on with the filling. I have halved her recipe (already done in the ingredients) and it was still too much buttercream.
8. Grind the nuts and icing sugar in the food processor as before.
9. Cream the butter and continue creaming as you add the nut dust. Make sure you have a well combined soft buttercream.
10. Sandwich the macaroons together with the buttercream filling.
I thought I would leave you with a final photo of the next biggest thing in fashion… macaroon sunglasses!! I can hear Gucci knocking on my door for patent rights! 🙂
Over & Out, Rilsta xx