I used my chocolate loving friend’s birthday as an excuse for making these, and then I kept half for myself… Having a bitter filling for the macaron shell is a good idea, otherwise all that sweetness is bit of a shock to the system. I’m also a sucker for the green and red combo.
Macaron shell ingredients:
200g icing sugar
100g ground almonds
2 tbsp cocoa powder
half a cup of egg whites at room temp (about 3 eggs)
a pinch of salt
40g caster sugar
2 or 3 non-stick or silicon reusable baking liners
Chocolate ganache, raspberry and pistachio filling:
120g 70% dark chocolate, broken into pieces
120ml double cream, at room temp
Handful of shelled pistachios
Freeze dried raspberries
Macaron shell method:
- Tip the icing sugar, cocoa powder and ground almonds into the bowl of a food processor and blend for 30 seconds (if you don’t have a food processor sieve the icing sugar, cocoa powder and ground almonds into a bowl and stir till evenly combined)
- Tip the egg whites into a spotlessly clean and dry mixing bowl. Add the salt and, using a handheld electric whisk, beat until they will just hold a stiff peak.
- Continue to whisk on a medium speed whilst adding the caster sugar a teaspoon at a time. Mix well between each addition to ensure that the sugar is thoroughly incorporated before adding the next spoonful. The mixture should be thick, white and glossy. Add a little red food colouring paste to boost the brown colour.
- Using a large metal spoon mix 1 tablespoon of almond mix into the egg whites slowly. add the remaining almond mix in 2 or 3 batches and fold carefully.
- The mixture should be thoroughly incorporated and smooth but do not over mix or it will be too runny and your macaron mix will be too runny. It is better to under mix than over mix. To check the consistency of your batter pick up a little with your finger – it should form a little peak that dissolves back into the batter.
- Fill your piping bag with the mixture (I place my bag in a jug to hold it open) and pipe evenly sized circles onto the baking sheet – I do this by holding my nozzle at the centre point of each macaron close to the baking sheet and piping till the right size is achieved. If you see peaks after piping a whole row, the mix is not ready and needs a little more folding.
- When you’ve finished piping rap the tray a couple of times on the edge of a hard surface to ensure any air bubbles are got rid of.
- Preheat the oven to 170C/325F/Gas mark 3
- Leave the macarons until they have formed a dry shell, they should not be sticky, tacky or wet when tested with your fingertip. This normally takes about an hour but using a gentle blow dryer on them does reduce the time a little. This drying time is important as it ensures the macarons have a glossy surface and their trademark ‘feet’.
- Bake the macarons on the middle shelf of the oven for about 10 minutes (all ovens are different so keep an eye on them! This is only a guideline time – mine normally take 8 minutes) the macarons should be firm with the slightest amount of give. *
- Leave to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes and then move to a cooling rack.
- If you wish to decorate the macarons as I have done in the photos dip a course bristle paintbrush in red food gel and then lightly in water to slightly wet it. tap the brush sharply on your finger or a mug over the macarons to spray them lightly with food dye.
*tip: if your macarons are too brown lower the temperature of the oven and cook for slightly longer. Or place tin foil over the macarons half way through the cooking process.
- Combine the double cream and chocolate in a bowl over simmering water until the chocolate is melted and forms a glossy mixture.
- Allow the ganache to cool, stirring occasionally *don’t worry if the ganache splits a little.
- With an electric whisk, whisk the ganache until it forms a lighter airier mix – this tends to fix the splitting issue!
- While the chocolate and cream are on the heat, toast the pistachios in the oven for about five minutes. Allow to cool and then remove the brown skin (this can be a little fiddly).
- Tear the raspberries apart and place a little piece of each in the centre of the flat side of 1 of each macaron shell pair.
- Place the ganache in a piping bag and pipe generously around the raspberry of the shell. Sandwich the filling with the other empty macaron shell (see 1st photo).
- Grind the pistachios in a processor until they are breadcrumb-like.
- Combine the ground pistachios and freeze-dried raspberries on a plate an roll the sides of the macarons in it to coat the ganache (see 2nd photo).
Makes about 24 macarons