Chocolate Macaroons

Recipe from 'Kitchen Secrets' by Raymond Blanc. Click here to purchase book.

Although created in France way back in the sixteenth century, macaroons continue to mesmerise us. They are the little black dress of pâtisserie and a blissful treat. Still today, they remain a standard-bearer of a fine pâtissier.

Macaroons Thumb

Ingredients Required

For the macaroon paste
60g Pure chocolate (*1)
185g Icing sugar
185g Ground almonds
2 Organic/free-range medium egg whites
For the Italian meringue
185g Caster sugar
50ml Water
2 Organic/free-range medium egg whites
½ tsp Lemon juice
For the ganache
100g Good-quality dark or white chocolate
100ml Whipping cream

Cooking Method

Prepare ahead

The macaroons are best made the day before and kept in an airtight container in the fridge, ready to assemble. Be careful not to squash them as they are very fragile. The ganache should also be made a day in advance.

To make the macaroon paste

Preheat the oven to 170°C/Gas 3, placing a baking tray on the middle shelf to warm up (*2). Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water, making sure the bowl is not touching the water. Stir until smooth and remove from the heat. In a large bowl, combine the icing sugar, ground almonds and egg whites and warm briefly in a microwave for about 10 seconds. Using an electric mixer, mix together to form a smooth paste, then fold in the melted chocolate (*3).

To make the Italian meringue

In a small saucepan over a medium heat, dissolve the sugar in the water, then cook over a high heat until the sugar syrup reaches 120°C (*4). Meanwhile, using an electric mixer on medium speed, whisk the egg whites with the lemon juice to firm peaks. Lower the speed (*5) and pour in the hot sugar syrup. Increase the speed to high and continue to whisk for 2–3 minutes.

To pipe and cook the macaroons

While still warm, fold the Italian meringue into the macaroon paste until evenly combined – the mixture should have a ribbon consistency (*6). Spoon into the piping bag fitted with the 8mm nozzle. Pipe the mixture into 3cm rounds on baking trays lined with non-stick baking paper, spacing them at least 2cm apart (*7). Carefully slide the macaroons on the baking paper onto the preheated baking tray and cook for 8 minutes. Leave to cool and firm up on the baking trays for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the ganache

Finely chop the chocolate and place in a heatproof bowl. In a medium saucepan over a medium-high heat, bring the cream just to the boil. Immediately take off the heat and slowly pour onto the chocolate, whisking constantly. Continue whisking until the chocolate is melted and the ganache is smooth, then  leave to cool. Place in a piping bag until needed.

To finish

Pipe about 1 tsp ganache onto the flat side of a macaroon and sandwich together with the flat side of another macaroon. Repeat to pair the rest. Store in a single layer in a sealed container in the fridge until needed.

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Variations

Omit the chocolate from the macaroon paste and flavour the filling with any of the following:

Lemon: Colour the macaroon paste with 8 drops of natural yellow food colouring; use lemon-flavoured cream or lemon curd for the filling.

Raspberry: Colour the macaroon paste with 8 drops of natural red food colouring; use good raspberry jam for the filling.

Pistachio: Colour the macaroon paste with 8 drops of natural green food colouring; use pistachio paste for the filling.

Coffee: Flavour the plain macaroon paste with 2 tsp coffee extract. For the filling, bring 40ml whipping cream to the boil in a small pan, take off the heat and stir in ½ tsp instant coffee granules to dissolve. Add 40g finely grated milk chocolate and stir until smooth. Let cool before using.

Vanilla: Keep the macaroon paste plain. For the filling, beat 60g soft unsalted butter with 120g sifted icing sugar and ½ tsp best vanilla extract until smooth.

 

 Kitchen Secrets

Recipe from 'Kitchen Secrets' by Raymond Blanc, published by Bloomsbury. 

Click here to purchase book.

Recipe © Raymond Blanc 2011.

Photograph © Jean Cazals 2011.