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Prep 11/2hr (+ standing time) Bake 15min (per batch) Makes about 28
Pretty to look at, divine to eat, these macarons were created by Allen Au, one of our Make Me a Baker graduates, to use as part of his Graduation cake recipe.
125g almond meal 125g pure icing sugar 96g egg whites 125g caster sugar 30ml water Gel colouring (see Baker's tip)
125g unsalted butter 125g pure icing sugar, sifted 1 tablespoon sieved cherry jam
Preheat oven to 165°C (145°C fan-forced). Line two large oven trays with non-stick baking paper or silicone baking mats.
Sift together the almond meal and icing sugar into a large bowl. Add half the egg white and mix until a thick paste forms.
Combine the caster sugar and water in a small saucepan and stir over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil and simmer over medium heat, brushing down the sides of the saucepan with a wet pastry brush occasionally to prevent any sugar crystals forming. Do not stir. Once the sugar mixture has reached 115°C on a sugar thermometer, use an electric mixer with a whisk attachment to whisk the remaining egg white on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. Once the sugar mixture has reached 118°C, remove the saucepan from the heat and slowly whisk the hot sugar mixture into the egg whites. Continue to whisk on medium-high speed until the temperature cools to 30°C. The meringue should be thick and glossy. Add enough gel colour to the meringue to tint to the desired colour, whisking until evenly combined.
Fold 2 large tablespoons of the meringue into the almond paste mixture until well incorporated. Fold in the remaining meringue until evenly combined. The consistency of the batter should look like molten lava. If you can draw a figure eight and the trail stays on the surface, then the mixture is ready to be piped.
Spoon the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a 10mm round nozzle. Pipe the macarons onto the lined trays into 3.5cm rounds. Tap the tray to remove any air bubbles from the macarons. Leave the macarons out in the open until a skin forms on the surface of the macaron. (This can take from 20 minutes to an hour depending on the humidity). The skin should be dry enough that it does not stick to your finger when touched lightly.
Bake one tray of macarons in the centre of the preheated oven for 15 minutes or until shells don't feel soft at the 'feet' when touched. Set aside to cool on the tray and repeat with the remaining tray of macarons.
To make the Filling, use an electric mixer to beat the butter until it is pale and creamy. Beat in the icing sugar until well combined. Add the cherry jam and beat until well combined. Spoon the filling into a piping bag fitted with a 7mm star nozzle and pipe a small rosette onto the base of half the macarons. Sandwich with the remaining macarons.
Store the macarons in the fridge overnight so the flavours from the filling are absorbed by the shells. Bring the macarons to room temperature before serving.
Allen used Chefmaster Liqua-Gel colours to colour his macarons – he used 8 drops of Super Red with 0.5 drop of Black Diamond