Since a friend of mine emailed me about his recent trip to Paris, all I've been able to think about are macaroons. I just can't get those brightly coloured little delights out of my mind. I still remember my first encounter, if you ignore the coconut variety of course. Around 3 years ago my dad treated Kris and I to our very first vacation together, Paris. Now, I'm not a huge fan of Paris, I find it very crass and a little too ornate. I like my cities to have a more rustic feel. But, even I have to admit, it's a very beautiful place to spend a romantic break. While we were there, we took a leisurely stroll down the Champs-Élysée and my gaze happened across the most beautiful window display I ever did see, that's right, Ladurée! Of course, Kris took one look at the prices and dragged me away from the colourful array of macaroons adorning the window. Not that I can blame him, they were pricey pastries.
Since the email, I've been craving the almondy, meringuey bite you only get from a macaroon. Enough was enough, I compiled the ingredients and got to work. My last attempt at macaroons was a total disaster, mostly because I forgot to let them sit out and when baked they all joined together to make nicely coloured sheet of goo. So, I learned from my previous mistakes and paid closer attention to the recipe ;)
I honestly think there's nothing more satisfying than just looking at a macaroon, don't they look pretty, so delicate and girly. I'm so proud of my tiny treats....despite the fact I burned half of them. Ooops! But, I still have a hand full of perfect shells and there's always next time.
I flavored the shells with a drop of rose water and filled them with a white chocolate and strawberry ganache. I found my filling a little too runny, as you can probably see from the picture, so next time I think I'll use a butter cream.
3 egg whites
50g caster sugar
200g icing sugar
50g ground almonds
2tbsp rose water
Whip egg whites till frothy, add the caster sugar gradually till you get a glossy meringue.
The original recipe calls for you to pulse the ground almonds and icing sugar to remove any lumps, I don't have one so I just forced the mixture through a sieve. Add the sieved mixture to the meringue and fold in quickly to start with slowing down as everything is Incorporated. The whole process shouldn't take more than 50 strokes. (I dropped some pink food colouring and rose water into the batter half way through the process)
Test your macaroon batter by dropping it onto a plate, if it flattens out on its own, you're good to go. If it keeps a little beak, give it a few more stirs.
Fill a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip with the batter and pipe a small rounds of around 1.5 inches onto parchment paper lined baking sheets.
Preheat the oven to 150C. Let the macaroons sit out for an hour to harden their shells a bit and place in the oven to bake for 10-13 minutes, depending on their size. Let them cool completely before filling.