Here it is! My very first food post! Of course as a pilot recipe I needed to choose something very special.
Macarons now are so trendy that they start becoming less extraordinary however in my case the occasion I made them for was very special – my best friend Plami’s bachelorette weekend! I chose cherry because she loves them and dark chocolate…well because I love it.
I am still not an expert in the macaron world and I must admit I would easily trade a dozen of these for a small piece of moist carrot cake. However, I love the patience and precision they require and the wild world of colours and flavours you can experiment with. And for me there is always this exciting uncertainty about the end result … this time it was a perfect bite of summer celebration!
The recipe is very simple and here is what you need:
100g egg whites (about 3 medium eggs)
125g caster sugar
110g icing sugar
110g finely ground almonds
A food colouring of your choice (ideally not liquid)
A handful of sweet cherries
Few drops of lemon juice
100g dark chocolate with cherries (I used Lindt Excellence)
100g double cream
Rule No. 1 of macarons making is that the egg whites should be old. Well, apologies to the macaroon code, but I had no time to wait them age, so mine here were quite fresh and yet it worked out just fine.
Mix the egg whites with the caster sugar. If you are lucky to have a mixer with a stand now is the time for coffee. if not (like me) get yourselves some patience and strong biceps and prepare for a long mixing. Once the egg whites begin to harden add the colouring and keep mixing till you get a very solid texture. If you are not sure to stop just yet, mix for 2 more minutes – it is better to make them hard then leave them soft.
In a separate bowl mix the almonds with the icing sugar. Sieve the mixture to make sure it is evenly blended and fine. Once ready put it in the egg whites mix. Using a flat spatula start mixing by scooping from the bottom and folding the mixture on top. Then push the mixture to the sides energetically to ensure as much air as possible is taken out.
Keep folding until you get an even shiny thick mixture that drops like lava.
The next step will be piping the shells. To ensure you have similar shapes you can draw even circles on a baking paper or even easier – download an A4 macaron patterned template, print it out and place it under your baking sheet. Remember to remove the template sheet before baking!!
Pipe even amount in each circle. Once ready tap the tray into a hard surface (table, floor, etc) 2 – 3 times to get the air out of the shells. Then leave the shells to harden slightly for roughly 30 min before baking.
Bake in preheated oven on 180C for 12-13 minutes.
One ready let the shells cool down before assembling.
For the ganache I chopped the cherries very finely (use a chopper if you wish). Put them in a pan with few drops of lemon juice. Heat the cherries and stir until they reduce its volume. Drain if needed and set aside.
Broke the chocolate into pieces and place is a bowl. Heat the double cream and once hot pour it over the chocolate and stir until evenly blended. Add the cherries. Mix the ganache, transfer it into a piping bag and put in the fridge to harden up. You can leave it in the freezer for a bit to speed up the process. I needed about 30 min to get a tick creamy consistency.
With your shells cooled down and the ganache harden you are ready to assemble. Try pairing the macaroons by similar shapes and get the bottom shells readily aligned so that you can easily pipe onto one after another. Pipe the ganache in the middle of the shell leaving the edges clear so that the ganache can move to the side once you close the macaroon.
Et Voila! Your cherry macarons are now ready! Macarons taste even better the next day, but let’s face it, who can resist now!