Italian meringue macarons

For the first time, I’m going to share a macaron recipe.

It’s been about 2 years since I’ve been able to create good macarons but it hasn’t always been that way.
I rarely use this recipe as I prefer french meringue macarons.

To explain quickly, french meringue macarons are made with egg white whisked with a small amount of sugar to obtain a light but stiff base to then incorporate some icing sugar and ground almonds.
The italian meringue macarons are made by mixing half of the egg white (non whisked) with icing sugar and ground almonds and whisking the other half of the egg whites with hot sugar syrup to make a very stiff, heavy meringue which is then mixed with the almond paste.

Both recipes contain roughly the same amount of ingredients, only the actual method is different.

They also look and taste slightly different: The italian one looks matt and very rounded, with a small “foot” and is fragile and cakey.
The french one looks shiny, with a large foot. They have a slight crunch on the outside and should be chewy inside.

If you’re not a macaron crazy like I am, you may not tell the difference between the two but to me, this is important business.

Here is the recipe and some tips to creating the italian version to perfection.

For about 50 macarons, you’ll need:

– 200g of icing sugar
– 200g of ground almonds
– 2 x 80g of egg whites (4 large egg whites)
– 200g of sugar
– 80ml of water
– food colouring

First, you’ll need to grind the icing sugar and ground almonds together until you get a very thin powder, this will ensure your shells are smooth.
You can do it in a food processor but the almonds will certainly not be fine enough. I use a coffee grinder and it’s perfect. Sieve the powder that you get from doing this.

Heat the sugar and water together and let it reach 110°C.
For this step, it’s highly recommended to use a candy thermometer. If you don’t have one, count 4 minutes from boiling and you should get it right.
Just before your sugar reaches 110°C, start whisking half of your egg whites. Don’t whisk the egg whites until they’re firm otherwise the hot syrup will break them.
Add the sugar syrup, still whisking. Keep going until the meringue is cool.
I recommend using a kitchen robot because it will take a while to cool down.

Meanwhile, add the other half of the egg whites to your powders (almonds & icing sugar) and mix until you get a thick paste. You can colour the mix right now with the colour of your choice.

Always go darker than the shade you want as the meringure will lighten it up a lot.
I recommend using powder colours as they are much stronger than paste or liquid colours. The alternative is to add your colour to the meringue instead.

Fold a bit of the meringue into the almond paste to loosen it up a bit and then fold in the rest of the meringue.

This stage is the trickiest one: when to stop folding. You may have to fold the mixture for a while before getting the perfect consistency. You don’t want an under-mixed batter as it will form peaks and look rough and you don’t want an over-mixed batter as it will be impossible to pipe and never hold it’s shape as a circle.

The batter needs to be runny but not liquid.
If you take a spoonful of mixture, pour it on you worktop, leave it for 1 minutes, you’ll see how it behaves.

Line baking trays with baking paper, fill a piping bag with the mixture and pipe your macarons, this requires practise!

Hit the bottom of the tray to bash the extra air out of the mixture and leave in your dryest room.
If you leave them in your kitchen, they’ll never dry because of the damp air.
This stage may take from 30 minutes to 2 hours, depending on the weather and the temperature.

When you can very gently touch your macarons without the batter sticking to your finger, they’re ready to go in the oven. 140°C for about 20 minutes.

If you have a gas oven, it will be harder to get perfect macarons as the temperature is usually harder to control than an electric oven.

Take them out after 20 minutes and leave to cool completely before filling them with buttercream, jam, lemon curd, chocolate ganache….

Hope you enjoy the recipe

Mylène

A very busy September

I think this year’s month of September has been the busiest ever.
We’re so happy the business is working so well since we came back from France. We had very successful food fairs and festivals, a few wedding bookings….
I also made a tiny cake and some princess decorated biscuits for a very girly birthday party.

We basically had a lot of fun but not much sleep!

For this post, I’ll just put pictures to show you all the things we’ve been doing.

Mylène

Canapes

This week, we had our usual weekly order and an order which was very new for me: canapés. We had to make 300 canapés, looking beautiful and posh.
After a bit of thought we chose to make five different ones.

The option of a savoury macaroon was nearly automatic. I know it sounds a bit weird, the sweet shells and the savoury filling but the result is quite spectacular!
So, along with the macaroons, I made mini pizzas, toast with humous and pepper, blinis with smoked salmon and nice little potato croquettes on cocktail sticks.

Everything went perfectly until Saturday morning, the day of delivery. I was packaging the canapés to transport them and…. all my beautiful macaroons were stuck together and falling apart. They were impossible to use. It was 9 o’clock and they were needed  at  12.60 macaroons in 2 and a half hours, let’s start!
Macarooning, piping, resting (not me, the macaroons have to rest for an hour minimum), cooking, cooling and filling!!

At the end, they were ready by 11.30 and were looking much better than the first ones I made. We took the car to Blakesley to deliver them et voilà! The canapés were very much appreciated.

So finally a bit of a stress but everything end up perfectly in the end!!

 

Mylène

Radio Northampton with Vanessa Kimbell

What an amazing experience! I passed this last Sunday on the radio!! It was on BBC radio Northampton in the morning.

I was contacted Friday evening so I had a very short time to get the idea. I quickly made some samples to taste for the radio staff and had a bit of time to get nervous!

It’s a lady called Vanessa Kimbell who asked me to be on her one hour show. She wrote a cook book and has a lovely blog called Prepped. It was quite scary to go in the studio and speak in this big microphone when you know that many people are going to listen to what you’re saying.

I finally enjoyed it a lot. The atmosphere was relaxed and lovely, the presenters were very nice too. They tasted my patisseries and looked very happy with them.

Now I’m listening back to the recording online and I absolutely hate my voice and accent (you know this feeling when you hear your own voice) but everybody else looked impressed.

People from the BBC are going to send me the recording so I’ll be able to put it up properly on the blog.

Have a greedy day

                                                                               

Mylène