Chocolate Macarons

March 4, 2013  |  By The International Kitchen
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Chocolate Macarons

Macarons are a classic French treat that can be enjoyed as dessert, or even as a part of breakfast, easily making them the most popular sweet in all of France. This particular tasty recipe comes from the kitchen of Chef Alison from our program A Culinary Adventure in the Loire Valley.

Every year award-winning Chef Alison leads a delicious excursion into the world of desserts with a pastry adventure cooking vacation (see the cooking vacation page for tour dates). In addition to macarons, discover fabulous recipes for such French classic desserts as pâté à sablé Breton, croquembouche, and madeleines, to name a few. Chef Alison also leads hands-on pastry classes during the regular Le Calabash program, which she runs with her husband Chef Sidney.

Ingredients

Equipment and preparation: You will need a kitchen mixer, a sugar thermometer and a piping bag fitted with an 1/4 inch nozzle.

Pâté à macaron
2 1/2 oz unsweetened chocolate, ideally 100% cocoa solids
6 1/2 oz icing sugar, sifted
6 1/2 oz ground almonds
2 medium free-range egg whites

Italian meringue
2 medium free-range egg whites
1 drop lemon juice (do not be tempted to use more than this or the egg whites will become too stiff)
6 1/2 oz caster sugar (or baker’s sugar)
3 tbsp water

Ganache filling
4fl oz whipping cream
4oz dark chocolate, or white chocolate if you wish

Instructions

Pre-heat the oven to 140°C / 284°F.

Pâté à macaron
Melt the chocolate in a bowl suspended over a pan of simmering water – do not let the bottom of the bowl touch the water.

In a large bowl, mix the icing sugar, ground almonds and egg whites to form a paste.

Fold in the melted chocolate and set aside.

Italian meringue
Whisk the egg whites and lemon juice in a kitchen mixer on a medium speed.

Meanwhile, place the sugar and water in a small pan and cook over a high heat until it has reached 117C (or 242F) or the ‘soft boil’ stage.

Reduce the speed on the mixer to its lowest setting and pour the sugar syrup onto the firmly whipped egg whites. Take extreme care when you do this as the syrup will be very hot and will burn your skin if it splashes.

Increase the speed to high and continue to whisk for 2-3 minutes.

Fold the Italian meringue mixture into the pâté à macaron until it reaches the ribbon stage – this is when a spoonful of the mixture poured back into the bowl sits like a ribbon on the surface. Do not over-mix or the macaron will crack when cooked.

Place the mixture in a piping bag fitted with a 1/4 in nozzle.

Line two baking trays with greaseproof paper and pipe on 1 inch discs, at least 3/4 inches apart. Leave for about 30 minutes to set (crouter). This helps to produce the feet (pieds) on your macaron. They are ready to go in the oven when they feel cooked to the touch

Bake in the oven for 15 minutes and then leave on a cooling rack until completely cold.

Ganache filling
Place the cream in a small pan and bring to a boil.

Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the chocolate until the mixture is smooth; cool the ganache and place in a piping bag fitted with a 1/4 inch nozzle.

Pipe about one teaspoon of ganache onto the flat side of a cooled macaroon and top with another macaron to make a sandwich.

Repeat with the remaining ganache and macarons, and store in a single layer in an airtight container in the fridge.


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