I have to start by saying that I am obsessed with French macarons. Ever since I walked into the Laduree store (boutique? cafe? Heaven? Can any word truly describe this wonder?) in Paris on my honeymoon, I have had a macaron obsession that will not die, even after eating many, many truly awful examples that don't deserve to be called macarons. So it is no surprise that I was determined to make some pretty pink ones for Irini's Fairy Garden Party. For my first try at making macarons, I think they came out pretty well. They looked great, and they tasted great, and at the end of the party there was not one. single. one. left. Which made me happy. And then sad. Because I really wanted to eat some more ;)
(recipe adapted from the Women's Weekly recipe Strawberry French Macaroons)
3 egg whites (I left them at room temperature overnight, after seeing that tip on Masterchef)
1/4 cup caster sugar
red food colouring
6 - 8 fresh or frozen (thawed) raspberries
1 1/4 cup icing sugar (sifted)
1 cup (120g) ground almonds - for best results, sift first, and grind any that don't fall through in a coffee grinder/small blender. These need to be quite fine.
2 cups buttercream (any good recipe - I used leftovers from Irini's birthday cake)
3 tablespoons raspberry puree, from about 200g fresh or frozen raspberries
- Preheat oven to 150 C/300 F. Grease oven trays. On back of baking paper, trace (with pencil) forty 3 cm/1 1/4" circles about 2.5 cm/1" apart. Line trays with marked baking paper.
- Beat egg whites in a small bowl until soft peaks form. Add caster sugar and a few drops colouring and beat until sugar dissolves (test by rubbing a small amount of mixture between fingers - it should not feel gritty) and mixture is thick and glossy. Transfer to large bowl.
- Push raspberries throught a fine sieve; you need 1 tablespoon raspberry puree.
- Foldicing sugar, ground almonds and puree into the egg white mixture in two batches.
- Place into piping bag with a 1cm (1/2") plain tube. Pipe rounds using marked circles as a guide. Tap trays on bench so macarons spread slightly. Stand 30 minutes.
- Bake for 20 minutes and cool on tray.
- Meanwhile, mix buttercream with raspberry puree and a few drops of colouring if necessary.
- Sandwich cooled macarons with raspberry buttercream.