When we were in Paris we fell in love with macarons. Slightly chewy, full-flavoured, and ridiculously delicious, macarons are the pinnacle of French baking.
When we came home I immediately searched out recipes to make macarons at home. I found a few, including David Lebovitz’s, but the one that I found to have the most consistent results is this one by La Cuisine de Mercotte.
You should read through the instructions a few times before you begin, and remember to age your egg whites a few days so that the macarons will be chewier.
Here’s what you’ll need:
Step 1. 5 days ahead: Separate eggs.
Measure out 2 separate portions of 50 grams of egg whites and store in airtght containers for 3 days in your refrigerator, then an additional 2 days on your counter.
Step 2. 2 days ahead: Remember to move egg whites to your countertop.
Step 3. Baking day: Measure and prepare.
Weigh out your ingredients.
Toast the almond meal.
Combine almond meal and icing sugar in a food processor and pulse to combine. Sift to remove large bits.
Place almond meal and sugar in a bowl and gently stir in 50 grams of egg whites. Add a drop of food colouring here if desired.
Prepare baking trays. Stack two trays and line with parchment paper or Silpat.
The next two steps are done at the same time. Make sure you have a kitchen timer and candy thermometer handy.
Step 6. Make the syrup.
Combine 150 grams caster sugar and 50 grams water in a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan and heat to 110ºC (230ºF). The sugar mixture will be thick and bubbly, and should remain colourless.
Step 7. Beat the egg whites.
Combine 50 grams egg whites, pinch of salt, and 2 drops lemon juice in the bowl of a stand mixer. (If you don’t have a stand mixer, enlist the help of a very patient friend to hold your handheld mixer.)
When egg whites begin to foam, add 35 grams of caster sugar in 3 parts. Beat until shiny and firm.
With mixer on medium-high, gently pour hot sugar syrup down the inside of the mixer bowl. Beat on high for 10 minutes.
Step 8: Finish the batter.
Gently incorporate meringue into almond mixture, by lifting from the outside in, for 2-3 minutes.
If you are using parchment paper to line your baking trays, use small dots of egg white mixture to secure the parchment to the tray.
Step 9. Pipe mixture with 10mm bit onto prepared trays.
Step 10. Bake for 13 minutes at 145ºC (293ºF). Cool completely.
Step 11. Fill with ganache, buttercream, or fleur de sel caramel cream.
100 grams egg white, divided
150 grams almond meal
150 grams icing sugar
150 grams + 35 grams caster sugar
50 grams water
2 drops lemon juice