200 g ground almonds
200 g icing sugar
200 g caster sugar
75 mL water
2 portions of 80 g egg whites
1 vanilla bean
400 g white chocolate
200 mL pouring cream
Sift ground almonds and icing sugar (no lumps please!) and set aside
Bring water and caster sugar to the boil in a saucepan, making sure the mixture doesn’t go over 240 degrees Fahrenheit.
At the same time gently beat one portion of egg whites to soft peaks.
When the temperature of the sugar and water mixture reaches 240 degrees, whip it off the stovetop and increase the speed of your beater (currently in with the eggs). Pour the hot mixture into the eggs in a thin stream.
Continue to beat this meringue mix for another ten minutes so that it cools
Combine your original ground almonds and icing sugar with the other portion of egg whites to make a paste.
Scrape your vanilla bean and add some seeds to this paste.
Combine the meringue mix and the paste, working the combined batter carefully.
Place baking paper onto a cookie sheet
Fill a piping bag with the resulting batter and pipe onto the tray ensuring consistent size (1 ¼ inch or 3 cms diameter for tiny ‘cocktail party’ size) and regular spacing
Tap the trays on a bench top lightly and then leave to rest before cooking for about half an hour.
Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit / gas 2. Bake for 14 minutes.
To make ganache:
Heat the cream in a pan, to just boiling.
Pour over chocolate and stir. If there are remaining lumps, pop the bowl into microwave for short intervals
Once combined cover and cool in fridge for an hour or so.
Assembling the macarons:
Use a piping bag to generously fill half the shells (leaving a little margin around the edge)
Top with the remaining shells.
Place in the fridge for approximately one hour. They should be crisp on the outside and soft / chewy in the center.
This macaron is elegant and unfussy; great for the beginner. Once you get the hang of it you can play around with the fillings or shells. Buttercream is an alternative to the white chocolate ganache or you can use milk or dark chocolate ganache instead of white. You can add food colourings to the shells or top with a few pieces of coconut, like we did. This recipe, which makes about 40 tiny macarons or less larger ones, celebrates the almond flavor of a traditional macaron. Tres chic!
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