Spring is upon us and cherry blossom trees are brightening up my pre-finals period. With a little bit of time to kill before I head back to Oxford to revise, I decided to take inspiration from the pretty pink petal rain in my street and make these raspberry and white chocolate macarons.
You will see, the flavour combination between raspberry and white chocolate is to die for (make a big batch of that ganache and you will want to bathe in it). I like to add a tangy raspberry jelly in the middle (with seeds) to balance the sweetness and smoothness of the ganache. The result is a more interesting and more delicious macaron.
I’ve already shared how I make macaron before but this recipe is suitable to make a small batch (about 15 small macarons) so the perfect treat if you’re inviting friends over for tea, or just if you have the time to stress about making these capricious meringue based delights.
Also: I have Pierre Hermé to thank for a foolproof method using Italian meringue instead of French.
As always, you will need :
-a candy thermometer
-3 piping bags with a round nozzle
-a large baking tray lined with greaseproof paper
-a fine sieve
-a really good convection oven
MAKE THE SHELLS
Ingredients for the shells:
-100g of ground almonds
-100g icing sugar
-a hint of red food colouring paste
-72g egg whites, cold, split in half (36g/36g)
-100g of caster or granulated sugar
-25g of still water
To make the shells
- In my opinion, this is the most tedious task in macaron making but you have to sift the ground almonds and icing sugar together in a bowl.
- Mix the food colouring into the first 36g portion of egg white and pour it onto the almond and sugar mix without stirring.
- In a saucepan, place your water and caster or granulated sugar and place on a medium heat to prepare the syrup. Don’t let the syrup by itself and keep an eye on it, dipping the candy thermometer in the syrup every now and then to check the temperature. When it reaches about 110C, start beating the second 36g batch of egg whites with an electric whisk in a bowl. As the syrup reaches 118C, start pouring it gently in the egg whites while still beating.
- Keep beating the meringue while checking its temperature: when it comes down to 50C, start incorporating it in the dry ingredients by folding it with a wooden spoon or a spatula.
- Once you’ve incorporated all the ingredients, check the consistency of your batter : lift a bit of the mixture with the spoon or spatula and let it drop in the mixing bowl; if the bit of mixture you just dropped spreads enough that you can’t see its shape anymore after 10 seconds, you’re good to go. If it keeps its shape, fold the mixture a little more.
- Pour the mixture into a piping bag with a round nozzle.
- If you’re using a template, place it under the parchment paper you used to line your baking sheets/trays. You don’t have to use a template and can just draw little circles with a pencil on the other side of the parchment paper; or you can do it by eye. Whichever way, start piping your shells in circles: you need to hold your piping bag vertically, and the nozzle to be really close to the baking tray. Pipe, not by making little spirals but by adding pressure to the mix so that it spreads out. NB: the mixture will spread out a little.
- Once the shells are piped, tap your baking tray on a flat surface, or on top of a folded kitchen towel, several times to knock some air bubbles and to let the mixture spread evenly. Then leave the shells to dry and form a skin for at least 30minutes. You should be able to touch the shells after that time and the batter won’t stick to your fingers.
- While the shells are left to dry, preheat your oven to 175C.
- After 30minutes of drying, place the shells in the oven for 11-12minutes. You do not want to open that oven while they bake except for when you reach 8 minutes and 10 minutes: at those times, open the oven door really quickly to let some steam out.
- When they’re baked, they should have risen above their “feet” or “crown” and should not have browned – don’t let them get golden or you will lose the pale pink colour. Take them out of the oven and after 30seconds transfer the parchment paper on your working surface so they cool.
MAKE THE GANACHE
For the ganache you will need :
-120g of frozen or fresh raspberries
-1 tsp of caster/granulated sugar
-80g of white chocolate, broken in pieces
-1/2 leaf of gelatine, soaked in cold water
- Cook the raspberries an sugar on a very low heat until they’ve released all their juices. Mash them and remove from the heat once you’re left with a raspberry coulis.
- Pass the raspberry puree through a fine sieve to get rid of the raspberries. Try to extract as much of the puree as possible.
- Reheat the smooth coulis again, either in a pan or in the microwave.
- Once the coulis is hot, remove from the heat and add the white chocolate pieces and gelatine. Wait for a couple of minutes, then stir. You should be left with a smooth purple-pink ganache.
- Pour in a bowl and leave to cool in the fridge.
MAKE THE RASPBERRY JELLY
For the raspberry jelly you will need:
-75g of frozen or fresh raspberries
-1 tsp of caster or granulated sugar
-1 tsp of lemon juice
-1/4 of a gelatine leaf, soaked in cold water
- Cook the raspberries and sugar on a very low heat until you get a puree.
- Remove from the heat and add the lemon juice.
- Add the gelatine and stir well.
- Leave to cool in the fridge.
Once your ganache and jelly have cooled, they should not have a runny consistency. You’re ready to assemble.
- Unless you used a template, pair up your shelves according to matching sizes.
- Place the jelly and ganache in individual piping bags.
- For each pair, turn one shell over.
- Cut the end of the ganache piping bag and holding the bag vertically, pipe a generous amount onto the shell (you want to cover 3/4 of the surface of the shell).
- Cut the end of the jelly piping bag, and stick the tip in the middle of the mount of ganache. Pipe a smaller amount, enough so you can see the ganache mount grow.
- Top with the other shell, delicately adding pressure so the filling can reach the edges.
- Place in the refrigerator and keep in the fridge for at least 5 hours before serving. (I find they taste even better the day after.