I’ve waited SO LONG to have this post about THE intimidating macarons. I don’t know about you, despite how lush and tempting macarons Look, I often find them too pricey to bring home as a student. So, I might as well learn to make them myself, right?
It’s no exaggeration to say that these tiramisu macarons are heavenly. Tell me, how can you resist it when you get a crispy coffee-flavoured almond meringue shell with a marshmallow interior, with some creamy rich and creamy mascarpone cheese buttercream layered between? The bitterness from the coffee justly tones down the macarons’ high level of sweetness that’d be considered a put off for certain people. Have a bite and you’d be brought straight to Paris.
I am quite a perfectionist when it comes to baking. This is a double-edged sword, because while it always pushes me to strive for the best result, sometimes I could just break down for a not-so-good-looking muffin. However, ironically, here I am, ready to talk about the making of macarons – something that constantly forces me to deal with imperfection. Sometimes I’d pipe out macarons that aren’t the same shape and size on the baking sheet; sometimes the macaroon shells would crack when I was eagerly peeping through the oven door; sometimes the famous and essential “feet” simply wouldn’t show. In other words, there are tons of reasons for me to face frustration when making these little treats, or for me to doubt myself. But there’s one thing that I know for sure – to master anything I have to start somewhere, and coming to terms with initial failures is the way to go because that’s how I figure out what’s wrong and how to fix it.
If I have to mention the most important thing that I have learnt about making macarons, it’d be it is not as hard as it seems, yet it has to be made with absolute precision. In order to create the smooth top shell layers and the little famous “feet”, you must rest the macaron for at least 30 mins before baking, and make sure the oven is kept at low temperature (i.e. 150C). Also, as many would agree, when compared with the traditional French meringue method, using the Italian meringue method produces more stable result. If you feel uncertain about reading the written instructions alone, do check out some tutorial videos with clear demonstration online (The Scran Line is good source where you’d find lots of creative macarons recipes). I hope you will try it out for yourself! 😉
Yields about 20 Macaroons (40 shells)
- 100 g ground almonds
- 100 g icing sugar
- 100 g caster sugar
- 80 g egg white, separated into two portions, 40g each
- 32.5 ml water
- 2 tsp instant coffee, melted in 1 tsp water
- 100 g softened butter
- 100g mascarpone cheese
- 50g icing sugar
- 1 tsp (5ml) coffee liqueur
- Place the icing sugar and almond flour in a food processor, and pulse for 30 seconds until well combined and fine in texture. Sift the flour-sugar mixture through a sieve into a mixing bowl, and pour in the first portion of egg whites. With a spatula, mix together until well combined. You can still be quite vigorous at this stage.
- Now you prepare the syrup. Put sugar and water in a small saucepan and do NOT stir. Bring the water and sugar to boil at 118C. When the syrup reaches 115C, simultaneously start whisking the second portion of egg whites to soft peaks on a medium speed.
- When the sugar reaches 118C, pour it over the egg whites (pour the hot syrup on the side of the mixing bowl to avoid cooking the egg whites). Turn the mixer to high speed and continue beating for about 5-7 mins, until the meringue is cooled down to 50C and glossy stiff peaks have formed. In two additions, add the meringue over the almond mixture, and, using a spatula, gently fold in until combined and smooth. Work the batter until it flows in very thick ribbons when the spatula is lifted.
- Pipe rounds of batter about 3.5cm in diameter, spacing them 2cm apart on baking trays lined with baking parchment. Rap the baking sheet a few times firmly on the counter to flatten the macarons and to remove air bubbles.
- Tap the tray on the work surface covered with a kitchen cloth. Leave to stand for at least 30 minutes, until a skin forms on the shells.
- Preheat the oven to 150C, then put the trays in the oven. Bake for 15 minutes. Out of the oven, slide the shells on to the work surface. Let cool.
Coffee mascarpone buttercream filling:
- Add softened butter and mascarpone cheese to a mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat on a medium speed until smooth.
- Add icing sugar and coffee liqueur, continue beating for an extra minute until combined and smooth.
- Refrigerate until ready to use.
- Place the mascarpone buttercream filling into a piping bag topped with a rose nozzle and pipe it on the inside of the macarons and sandwich them together.
- Serve macarons at room temperature, or refrigerate for up to a week.