Sunday, 15 April 2012

The Macaroon Mission: Rose Macaroons

I know in my last post I said that I was the most British person I knew. But right now, I consider myself to be rather French. One day I will live in Paris, drink coffee by the Eiffel tower, and most probably wear Breton tops and develop a moustache.

Let me confess. I have an obsession with macaroons, but have always been to scared to make them. Let's be honest, I'm no Pierre Herme. But I've been trying to make the perfect macaroon. And failing, for the most part. I tried the BBC recipe, thinking that it would be uncomplicated and useful (because it's the BBC and it's uncomplicated and useful, obviously).

There was a reason I didn't post about it. I think next time I'll stick using the BBC website for homework help and little else.

I found a great Edd Kimber recipe, which I suspect is the Pierre Herme recipe, just simplified. If you are unaware of who Edd is (shame on you), he won the first series of The Great British Bake Off. What a babe.


170g icing sugar
160g ground almonds
120ml egg whites from about 4 medium eggs, separated into 2 equal batches
160g granulated sugar
Pink food colouring

For the filling:

100g granulated sugar
37g water
75g eggs
45g egg yolks
200g butter, very soft
Pink food colouring
Rose Water, to taste

1. Sieve the icing sugar and ground almonds in a bowl, discarding any particles that stay in the sieve, and mix until fully combined. Add the first batch of egg whites to the almond mixture, mix to form a thick paste and set aside.
2. Tip the second batch of egg whites into a spotlessly clean bowl and have an electric whisk at the ready. Place 50ml of water and the granulated sugar into a small saucepan on medium heat. Bring to the boil and cook until the syrup registers 110C, using a sugar thermometer, at which time start to beat the egg whites on high speed. Once the syrup is at 118C pour it slowly down the side of the mixer bowl, avoiding the moving whisk. Continue to whisk on high until the mixture has cooled slightly and you have a shiny peaked meringue mixture - the bowl should no longer be hot to the touch, but still warm. Add the colouring and whisk to combine.
3. Tip the meringue mixture onto the almond mixture and gently fold together. It is important not to over-mix the batter.
4. Heat oven to 170C/150C fan/ gas mark 3-4. Line 3 baking sheets with baking parchment. Transfer the batter to a piping bag fitted with a plain nozzle. Pipe round about 2.5cm diameter (I drew out circles, I'm hopeless) onto the prepared baking sheets. Leave to rest for 30 minutes out of the fridge, or until the macaroons have developed a skin.
5. Bake the macaroons for 14 minutes. Immediately slide the parchment onto the work surface and cool for a few minutes before gently peeling the macaroons off the paper.
6. To make the filling, add the sugar and water to a saucepan and cook over a medium heat to 120C. Whilst the syrup is coming to temperature add the eggs and egg yolks to the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk and whisk until they thicken and lighten in colour. With the mixer still on slowly pour the syrup down the side of the bowl and continue to whisk until cooled. Begin to beat in the butter at medium/high speed one or two pieces at a time. Add the food colouring and rose water.

Yes, the food colouring didn't work. I think it could be a liquid food colouring thing. I'm off to buy gel food colouring tomorrow, so yeah.

I mean, they look orange, but they are far more presentable than the last batch. Lets just say that the BBC said nothing about over-folding the mixture, and my macaroons came out of the oven looking like one giant ocean of lavender flavoured loveliness. Tasty but not pretty.

I'm still searching for the perfect recipe. I didn't like the buttercream method, and it seemed to split when I added the rose water. Does anyone have a recipe they use a lot? Until then, I'm going to sit here and eat macaroons until they fall out of my ears.

Oh. And thank you M&S (you beauties) for releasing affordable Jubilee themed macaroons. A guilty pleasure just became far less guilty.