The annual Jour du Macaron is celebrated today in many celebre pâtisseries in Paris and around the world, all members of Relais Desserts. Launched in 2005 by The Picasso of Pastry, Pierre Hermé, Le Jour du Macaron is a charitable event to help the association, Vaincre la Mucoviscidose raise funds to fight against Cystic Fibrosis, a life-threatening, genetic disease that causes persistent lung infections and progressively limits the ability to breathe.
In keeping with the spirit of the celebration, I decided to try a tentative hand at making French Macarons from my new book, Mad about Macarons by Jill Colonna. Through her beautifully illustration publication, she guides you through the many technical aspects of getting those whimsical meringue-like cookies right. To my great delight, my pistachio macarons did grow ‘feet’ and develop light, airy shells but I still need practice to make them picture-perfect.
For the Macarons
150g egg whites
100g fine caster sugar
180g ground almonds
270g icing sugar
Green food coloring
For the Chocolate Ganache
200g dark chocolate
190g whipping cream
30g ground pistachios
50g unsalted butter
- Line baking sheets with perfectly flat baking parchment and set aside. Bring egg whites to room temperature.
- Whisk to glossy firm peaks, adding caster sugar gradually. Make sure that bowl and whisk are perfectly clean.
- Add a dash of green food coloring toward the end of mixing. Sift the ground almond and icing sugar together.
- Use a medium sieve, discard any large, coarse pieces of ground almonds. Mix it well to incorporate the sugar.
- Incorporate the beaten egg whites into the dry ingredients using a large spatula and mix well. Do not fold in.
- Work on mixture using plastic scraper, press down well going back and forward to press out air from whites.
- Do this for no more than 5 minutes until mixture is smooth so that it reaches the soft, brilliant ‘ribbon’ stage.
- Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a plain nozzle. Pipe out desired size of rounds, leaving space in between.
- Leave for about 30 minutes to set. Preheat oven to 160 oC/ 325 oF and place baking tray in the oven centre.
- Bake the macarons for about 10-12 minutes, test them after 8 minutes by touching the surface with a finger.
- Leave on the tray to cool, then scrape them off carefully with a palette knife. Meanwhile, prepare the filling.
- For the ganache, break the chocolate into small pieces into a bowl. In a saucepan, bring cream near boiling.
- Add ground pistachios, mix well and then pour over chocolate. Stir constantly till smooth, then add butter.
- Stir well until ganache is glossy and leave to cool slightly before spooning the filling into a large piping bag.
- Pair up the macaron shells, one row flat side up and one row flat side down. Pipe filling on upturned shells.
- Place remaining shells over the filled ones, using a circular motion to squash it down. Makes 20 macarons.
Pistachio Macarons & Chocolate Ganache