Ok, so I’ve made macarons a few times now and I do still find them very hit and miss if I’m honest however I do think that I’m getting there eventually! A couple of weeks ago we held a private event for our supperclub and I thought I’d have another crack at macarons.
This time I wanted to incorporate my favourite nut – the pistachio. I’ve already made a pistachio cupcake so thought I’d turn by hand to these little delights. As someone who ends up doing A LOT of research before tackling anything, I had read that using any nut other than almonds can be tricky with macarons – you don’t substitute out nut for nut, but rather use a ration of the two.
This time I used the Italian method – I had a bit of a nightmare with the chocolate chestnut ones last year and ended up using French but I wanted to give this method another go, given they give a nicer finish to the macs and are more stable.
All in all I found these to be a bit of a triumph, no traumas other than having to discard a few shells as they caught a little in the oven. I used dark chocolate ganache for the filling and I felt they went perfectly with the nuttiness of the shells.
Definitely one I’ll be making again…I reckon hazelnut ones with nutella will be a right treat!
Pistachio Chocolate Macarons
Makes about 50 sandwiched biscuits
Group 1 – for the macaron base
70g almond powder
125g icing sugar
50g egg whites
Green food colouring (optional-I use paste so it doesn’t dilute the mixture)
Group 2 – for the meringue
125g caster sugar
50g egg whites
A couple of tablespoons of chopped pistachios
For the chocolate ganache
100g dark chocolate
100ml double cream
Put all of the dry ingredients from group 1 for the macaron base into a food processor until blitzed into a fine powder – this can take a few goes. Sift this powder into a large bowl. You may want to reblitz any larger bits left in the sieve. Pour in the egg whites and mix together with a silicon spatula until you have a thick paste. If you want to use any food colouring then add it to this paste – you don’t want too much just enough to create a nice pastel mint green effect. Set this mixture to one side whilst you get on with the meringue.
Now put the sugar and the water from group 2 into a saucepan and set on a low-medium heat. DO NOT STIR this mix or it will crystalise leave it all to dissolve via the heat. If there are any sugar crystals stuck to the side of the pan, you can use a wet pastry brush to wipe them. Once the sugar syrup reached 100C then start whisking your egg white on medium speed. By the time the sugar syrup reaches 118C the egg whites should be at soft peak stage and you need to take the syrup off the heat.
CAREFULLY trickle the syrup into the egg white mixture, (you don’t want an egg white omelette!) mixing all the while on high speed until all of the syrup is incorporated and you are left with a stiff, shiny meringue and the bowl is cold.
Now, take a third of the meringue mixture and fold it into the macaron base to loosen – you don’t need to worry about being too heavy handed at this stage. Next, add the rest of the meringue and now is the time you need to concentrate or all of your hard work will result in a macaron fail! Carefully fold the meringue until you get the elusive ribbon stage and the whole mix is soft and glossy but not too runny.
Spoon mixture into a piping bag fitted with a plain 1cm nozzle. Pipe into 3cm rounds onto baking parchment lined trays. Once all macarons have been piped, lift each baking sheet with both hands and then drop it down on the counter to get any air out of the batter.
Sprinkle the macarons with chopped pistachios and let them rest for about 30 mins until the top of the macarons dry and are no longer tacky when touched.
Whilst your are waiting for the macarons to dry, preheat the oven to 170C (150C fan). Once the oven is up to temp, bake the macaroons for 14 mins. Slide the parchment off the trays and once the shells are cool, lift them off the parchment and they are ready to fill.
To make the ganache add the chocolate to the cream into a small saucepan and set over a low heat until the chocolate melts – don’t let this mix boil. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk the mixture until smooth, glossy and thickened. Set aside to cool or until thick enough to pipe / spread over the shells to create paired little sandwiches.
Now the most annoying thing is that once filled you really need to leave the macs for a minimum of overnight in the fridge. This puts moisture back into the shells and allows all of the flavours to meld. However it’s completely understandable if you want to eat them straightaway. Take out about 30 mins before you are ready to eat.
Enjoy – hope the hard work is worth it!