Today I'm sharing my macaron recipe. I use it every time I make macarons, and it has become fail-safe for me. Macarons were my first pastry undertaking where I really challenged myself. It was spring of 2011 and I had nothing to guide but a cookbook on macarons. And this book was written in French. I got the zany idea that this girl from south Louisiana could master one of the most intriguing little pastries because I witnessed my roommate make them.
At the time, I was taking this self-appointed gap year of sorts when I finished law school. It was 2010, and instead of toughing it out in the jobless job market, I decided that it was an ideal time to spend a year in France. During that year, I was an "English language assistant" at a high school in the Paris suburbs. And during the rest of my time, I was exploring all that France and Europe had to offer. I lived in an apartment with some other 20-something recently-graduated French students. And it was my roommate at the time who made macarons, inspiring me that I could make them too.
I didn't try to make them until I moved to New York City months later. With my macaron textbook in tow, I decided that I would not only master them, but that I would sell them. Fast forward many weeks, even months, and dozens of failed attempts. Any type of way one can fail to make a macaron, I did. Some were footless. Some were cooked on the outside and TOO gooey on the inside. Some took on too much color (overbaked!). And many, many cracked--leaving unsightly little monsters who clamored to the baking sheet. And finally, one day, I figured them out.
Now, I can make macarons in my sleep. Well, not exactly.. You see, there was actually a "macaron tower" challenge on episode 3 of the Great American Baking Show--one of those episodes that no one got to see. The thing about the Great American Baking Show is that we were actually outside. It happened to be humid with thunderstorms abound that day. And if there's one thing about macarons, it's that they are sensitive. I mean hypersensitive. Any little change in the environment can impact their outcome. And normally it's no big deal--in baking, you've got to adapt. But when there's a clock counting down and cameras coming at you from every angle, it's a lot easier to make mistakes! My macarons came out beautifully, but they still weren't to the caliber I'm used to!
So, enough about that, and let's get on to the recipe! The recipe I'm sharing is for passion fruit macarons. But, this recipe can be adapted for any type of macarons. You can of course skip the food coloring altogether, and use whatever filling you'd like. Raspberry jam is a simple, tasting filling for a macaron. You can also use ganache, buttercream, or even straight-from-the-jar lemon curd. Enjoy!
Passion Fruit Macarons (Makes about 36)
110 grams egg whites (55 grams + 55 grams)
1/2 teaspoon red powder food coloring*
1/2 teaspoon lavender powder food coloring*
150 grams powdered sugar
150 grams super fine almond flour from blanched almonds
40 grams water
150 grams granulated sugar
*The food coloring is optional. OR, you can use liquid food coloring instead, just don't use too much or you'll mess up your the proportions.
To Prepare Macaron Shells:
Place 55 grams egg whites in the bowl of stand mixer. Start whisking on low and allow to whisk continuously. Place the remaining 55 grams egg whites in separate bowl. Add red and lavender food coloring to the separate bowl and whisk, using a fork or hand whisk, to combine. Set aside.
Sift the almond flour and powdered sugar into a separate large bowl. Set aside.
Prepare the Italian meringue by placing water and granulated sugar in small pot over medium heat. (While the sugar and water are heating, increase the speed on the mixer with the egg whites to medium.) Without stirring, cook on medium until the mixture reaches 115 C / 239 F, or when bubbles of the sugar-water slowly break the surface.
Increase the speed on the mixer (where the 55 grams eggs whites are) to high. The egg whites should be just starting to form peaks as the sugar syrup reaches 118 C/ 244 F. Once the sugar syrup reaches 118 C/ 244 F, carefully pour the hot syrup into the whisking egg whites, as the mixer is going on high, by resting the lip of the pot on the side of the mixing bowl and slowly pouring in a steady stream. Continue to whisk on high for about 5 minutes, until the mixture cools slightly to 50C/122F.
Meanwhile, prepare piping bags by fitting them with an 11-pt tip. Return to the bowl of the sifted almond four and powdered sugar. Pour the 55 grams of dyed egg whites into the almond-powdered sugar mix. Use a rubber spatula to incorporate the dyed egg whites and mix well. It will form a thick, paste-like mixture.
Add a quarter of the slightly-cooled meringue to the almond mix and stir it in to lighten the mixture. Add the remaining meringue and fold it in until the mixture is incorporated, starts to shine, and slowly falls off the spatula in a thick ribbon when lifted. The mixture is now ready to be piped.
Transfer mixture to the prepared piping bag with an 11-pt tip. (Only about half of the mixture will fit.) Pipe according to the template on a silplat-lined baking sheet. Once a full sheet of macarons of have been piped, pick up the baking sheet and drop it on a table from about 5 inches. Repeat with the remaining macaron mix. Let the shells sit undisturbed for 2 hours, or until dry to to the touch. Preheat the oven to 325F.
Once the shells are dry, bake them in a 325F oven for about 12 minutes. After the first 8 minutes, open the oven door slightly, and then close it. Repeat this step after 10 minutes.
Once the macaron shells are cooked, remove the pan from the oven, and transfer it to a cooling rack. After about 10 minutes, carefully remove the macaron shells from the lined pan. (If you don’t remove them, they may end up sticking.) An easy way to remove them is to gently peel them from the silplat liner. Set aside while the filling is being prepared.
Note: They can be filled with anything- from jam, to ganache, buttercream or lemon curd.
Passion Fruit Cream Filling*
65 grams granulated sugar
4 large eggs (200 grams)
140 grams passion fruit puree**
20 grams freshly squeezed lemon juice
250 grams unsalted butter, softened and cut into small pieces
**Can be purchased frozen from Amazon or found frozen in select grocers.
Add the sugar and eggs to a large glass bowl. Whisk to combine. Once the mixture has been combined well, whisk in the passion fruit puree and lemon juice.
Place the bowl over a pot of simmering water. The bowl should not touch the water. Whisk continuously until the mixture thickens and reaches 160F on an instant-read thermometer. Once the mixture thickens and reaches 160F in temperature, remove the bowl from on top of the pot and immediately pour the curd through a strainer into a medium-sized bowl. (The strainer will strain out any curdled bits.)
Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes. Stir in the softened butter. Use an immersion blender and blend for 2 minutes, until the mixture is creamy and smooth. Cover the mixture with plastic, touching the cream, and allow to set in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours. Once the cream is set, place the filling in a piping bag fitted with an 11-pt tip.
Assemble the macarons by piping the filling in the center of half of the macaron shells. Lightly place a shell on top of each. Refrigerate the macarons overnight, which allows the filling to set. Remove from the refrigerator about 10 minutes before serving.
*This filling is extremely tart to balance the sweetness from the macaron shells. You can add up to an additional 50 grams of granulated sugar without changing the rest of the recipe.