It should be noted I measure temperatures by Celcius, but have included Farenheit for your convenience.
Also, I would recommend reading my Post "The Making of French Macarons, the Secrets of Success" to provide helpful hints.
FOR THE MACARON SHELLS:
Adapted by Pierre Herme Macarons
Makes approximately 70 macarons. You can half this recipe.
300 Grams of Confectioner Sugar or Icing Sugar
300 Grams of Almond Flour
110 grams of liquified egg whites* (Please see my post on "The Making of French Macarons"3 vanilla pods
Gel or Powdered Food Coloring (liquid food coloring will offset the balance of the ingredients so be warned Do No Use it)
FOR THE ITALIAN MERINGUE
75 grams of spring water
300 grams of caster sugar (cane sugar)
110g ligiuefied egg whites*
FOR THE VANILLA GANACHE: (I would recommend making this the day of head as it has to set).
440 grams of Valhrona Ivoire couveture
400 grams of heavy cream
2 Mexican vanilla pods
2 Tahitian vanilla pods
2 Madagascan vanilla pods
- Preheat oven to 325 - 350 degrees (again, each oven is going to vary and you are going to have to practice to see what temperature works best for you).
- In the meantime let's start measuring out your ingredients. Remember Mise En Place!! Trust me, you will have no time to be running and measuring once you start the macarons!
- Measure the almond flour and confectioners sugar and then run it through a food processor for a couple of minutes.
- Sift the almond flour and the confectioners sugar into a bowl and set aside.
- Split in half and scrape the three (3) vanilla bean seeds into the almond flour mixture.
- Measure 110 grams of egg whites and pour them on top of the almond flour and confectioner sugar mixture, BUT DO NOT MIX TOGETHER.
- Add your food coloring now to the almond flour and powdered sugar mixture and set aside. (It has been my experience that I have to go deeper or brighter in color, as they fade when baked.)
- Cut a lemon in half and take the bowl of your stand mixer and rub it with the lemon. Wipe the bowl dry with a paper towel. This will ensure all grease has been removed, which can deflate your Italian meringue.Pour the other 110 grams of egg whites into your cleaned mixer bowl and attach the whisk attachment. Set aside.
- In a saucier pan or saucepan place the 300 grams of sugar and 75 grams of spring water over low heat. Attach a candy thermometer. The sugar will begin to melt. Stir a few times, but gently. Take a pastry brush (make sure no oils are on it, and dip it into water and wash around the sides of the pan where sugar may have splattered). The reason you are doing this is so crystals do not form.
- Continue to cook the sugar until the sugar has dissolved and the candy thermometer reaches 115 degrees celsius or 239 Fahrenheit,
- When the candy thermometer reaches 115 degrees Celsius or 239 degrees Fahrenheit, simultaneously start whisking your egg whites in your stand mixer on medium-high
- When the sugar syrup reaches 118 degrees Celcius or 244 degrees Fahrenheit, pour the hot sugar syrup over the egg whites gradually to temper the egg whites. Then add the remainder of the sugar syrup. Make sure to pour the syrup down the side of the bowl so it doesn't splatter.
- Continue to whisk the egg white for approximately 2 (two) minutes until you have a soft peak that look like this:
Sidebar: Do not be tempted to over mix the egg whites because your macarons will not bake properly. Here is an example of an over mixed egg whites. See the difference?
- You now have made Italian Meringue. Yay!!
- Add the Italian Meringue to the almond batter mixture and with a clean spatchula (you are going to need a long handled spatchula ) mix together by using the J-fold method. The J-fold is performed by bringing your spatchula down the middle of the bowl starting at 12:00 o'clock moving towards 6:00 o'clock and then bringing the batter up to the left of the bowl to the 9:00 o'clock position. Give the bowl a quarter of a turn then repeat the folding process. In essence you are making a J shape with the batter. Be sure to incorporate the batter from the bottom of the bowl.
Sidebar: There is a video from ChefNini showing you how to fold macaron batter. You can find this video on YouTube entitled Macarons par chefNini. Check it out it is helpful.
- Now for the macaronage. Macaronage is the process wherein you are folding in the Italian Meringue into the almond flour mixture. Once you start to fold the batter and the ingredients start to become incorporated pay attention to the consistency of your batter. This is vital as you can ruin your macaron batter quickly. Continue folding the batter. The macaron mixture is ready when the batter thickly coats the spatchula and drips off the spatchula forming ribbons and within approximately 10-15 seconds disappears back in the batter. Again, this is going to take practice!
You do not want the macaron batter too thin as it will run right our of your pastry tube. If it is too thick, the little peaks that form once piped, will not flatten out when resting.
Again, this takes patience and lots of practice. Your Italian meringue and macaronage will determine your success.
Here is a picture of what the macaron batter should look like when it is ready to be piped and macaronnage is achieved:
- Line your half sheet pan with parchment paper and attach a #808 pastry tip to a 16" disposable pastry bag with half the batter.
- Using a rubber bench scraper push the batter up to the tip. Place a piece of plastic wrap on the surface of the remaining batter to prevent it from drying out and forming a skin.
- Start piping 3.5 cm circles spacing them one inch apart.
Sidebar: It is best to make a template for piping your macarons in 3.5 cm circles. Insert the template under the parchment paper and remove once you are done piping.
- Once you are finished piping rap the sheet pan a couple of times on the counter to flatten the tops of the macarons. Your macarons should not have peaks.
- Place the piped macarons on a table and let rest for thirty (30) minutes. They will loose their shine and feel dry to the touch, once they are done resting.
- Below are pictures of the macarons resting:
- After thirty (30) minutes place a rack in the center of your oven and place one tray of macarons in. Bake for 12-14 minutes. (Again, baking times will vary oven to oven, practice, practice).
Sidebar: The macarons should NOT be baked until they are golden or browned on top. If they are, you overbaked them. You can test to see if they are done by lifting a macaron off the pan, I usually sacrifice the ones on the end of a row to check. They should appear chewy in the center, but not mushy or wet. Also they usually will lift easily off the parchment paper. Once cooled, they should have a slight crunch on the outside shell and chewy in the center.
- Once the macarons are done remove from the oven and slide them off the sheet pan onto a cooling rack. If you keep the macarons on the sheet pan, they will continue to cook.
- Continue to pipe, rest and bake until all batter has been used.
In the meatime, make the infinite vanilla ganache,
- split the 2 Mexican vanilla pods, 2 Tahitian vanilla pods, and 2 Madagascan vanilla podsin two and scrape out the seeds with the blade of a knife. Stir the seeds from the pods and the pods themselves, into the heavy cream.
- Bring the heavy cream to a boil and remove from the heat.
- Cover the cream and let the vanilla pods infuse in the cream for thirty (30) minutes.
- After 30 minutes remove the vanilla pods from the heavy cream and with the back of your knife, again scrape any seeds still in the pod. Set the cream mixture aside.
- Chop up the chocolate and melt it in a bowl over barely simmering water.
- Pour the cream mixture over the melted chocolate a third at a time, whisking from the center moving your way outward. Make sure the cream is still warm before you pour it over the chocolate, if you have to, reheat the cream until it is warm.
- Once the ganache is mixed thoroughly, pour it into a gratin dish and place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the ganache to prevent a skin forming.
- Place the ganache into the refrigerator to set.
Below are a few pictures for the ganache procedure.
Madagascan, Mexican and Tahitian Vanilla Pods.
Cream Infusing with Vanilla Pods
Infinite Vanilla Ganache once whisked together.
- Place the ganache in a disposable 16" pastry bag with a #808 tip and pipe a generous amount of the ganache onto the center of half the macarons and top with the remaining shells.
Sidebar: Before piping the ganache, I line up the macarons according to size. As these will be sandwiched together you want to make sure they are close to the same size as possible.
- Store the macarons in the refrigerator for 24 hours until they are matured. Bring to room temperature before eating.
Sidebar: A french macaron is not ready to eat until they have matured for 24 hours. Trust me, they taste totally different after maturation, because the filling seeps into the macaron creating a delicious symphony of flavors. Perhaps better said by Pierre Herme: