Pudding Lab • Christmas Macarons
How to make Christmas Macarons
There are two techniques you can use to make a macaron shell. The French meringue or the Italian. The French meringue is an easier technique, however the Italian meringue will give you a much better consistency. It is however more technical to get right. Hopefully with our guidance we will help you get the perfect results as this is the technique we use at the Pudding Lab.
300g Ground Almonds
290g Icing Sugar
110g Egg White
½ Tsp Cinnamon
½ Tsp Nutmeg
10g Cocoa Powder
300g Caster Sugar
110g Egg White
10-15mm piping nozzle,
To get your macaron shells perfectly smooth the first job is to put the ground almonds and icing sugar into a food processor and blitz for a minute or two. Then put the mix through a sieve, this will remove any larger pieces of almond. To this you can add the spices and the first measure of egg white and set aside.
Take a good heavy-based pan and add the water. Once the water starts to warm add the caster sugar. Adding the sugar to the warm water will help it start to dissolve quicker and therefore have less chance of crystalizing. Use a pastry brush dipped in water to clean the sides of the pan if any crystals do start to form. Take a digital thermometer and place in the sugar solution to keep track of the temperature. You are looking to take the temperature to 118 degrees. Now then, this is the tricky part! You have start whisking your second measuring of egg whites in an electric mixer and add the sugar to the egg whites, not only when the sugar gets to the right temperature but also when the egg whites are at the right consistency. They should be past the ‘frothy’ stage of whisking but it’s important to not over-whisk them as the resulting batter will be too thick.
Once you have added the sugar to the egg whites keep the mixer running and you should see your meringue mix double in size and be of a smooth silky finish. Mix until the mixing bowl’s cool to touch. Your meringue is ready when you can turn the mixer off and confidently remove the mixing bowl and turn it upside down over your (or someone else’s) head without it falling out!
Once cooled add half the meringue mix to your almond mix and stir in. Once incorporated you can then gently fold in the second half of the mix to finish your macaron batter. The batter should be of a consistency where it starts to run off your mixing spoon instead of falling off in a clump. If the batter is too thick you can gently work it with your spoon which will loosen the batter slightly. Be careful not to over work it though as you won’t get very good results.
Once happy with the consistency you will need a piping bag with a 10-15mm piping nozzle and either a macaron mat or some greaseproof paper. We recommend a silicon mat which already has the ring guide on it so that your shells are consistent in size. As with most of this recipe piping will only come with practice. You are looking to hold the tip of the nozzle about 1cm above the mat and gently squeeze the mixture out until it fills two thirds of the circle guide. If your mixture is the correct consistency, it should slowly start to flatten and spread to fill the circle on the guide. Once piped, a little trick to remove any air bubbles from your mix is to gently tap the tray on the countertop. Next it’s best to leave the shells on the counter for about twenty minutes. This is to start forming a dry layer on the outside of the shells. You will see this has occurred when they lose their shiny finish to more of a dull look. Once this has happened place them in a pre-heated oven at 150 degrees. Bake them for nine minutes and then open the oven door for ten seconds. Close the door and bake for a further nine minutes. All ovens are different so cooking times may vary. The perfect macaron will have what we call ‘legs’ at the bottom and then a firm shell on the top. They should be soft and chewy on the inside.
The shell is the technical part of the recipe, the filling is where you can get creatively different. They can be buttercream based, ganache based or even cheesecake mix based. You can put jams in the middle, gels or curds, it’s completely up to you. As this is a Christmas recipe,
I would make a cheesecake mix which would simply be half and half cream and cream cheese mixed together and then add some mince pie mix through it. This would be piped onto one shell and then the other shell added to finish your macaron. The perfectionist will look through all their shells and pair them up with other shells of the exact same size. For best results leave in the fridge for at least 24 hours before eating (if you can resist!) or come and see us at the Pudding Lab and choose from a variety of flavours.
We hope you enjoy attempting these tricky little things and don’t worry if they go wrong, we didn’t get them right on our first try either (or Second!)