So, I recently stated my plans to create all 35 flavours of macarons detailed in Alison Thompson's delightful 'Macaron'. I haven't yet decided if I was entirely serious, although I did promise my boyfriend I would be creating a new flavour approximately once per week. Despite not sticking to this time commitment (or any, in fact), I'm two flavours down with a mere 33 to go. It's a start, and a delicious one at that.
This round, I changed the ganache around a touch, using a higher chocolate content to get my desired consistency with less refrigeration time needed. Experiment as you wish.
Ingredients (makes 30 macarons, depending on the size)
Recipe adapted from 'Macaroon' by Alison Thompson
For macaron shells:
225 gms pure icing sugar
140 gms almond meal
110 gms eggs whites, at room temperature
2 tsp cocoa
200 gms milk chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup pouring cream
1 tbsp orange liqueur
finely grated zest of two oranges
Line two baking trays with baking paper.
For macaron shells, combine the icing sugar and almond meal, and sift together twice (important!), discarding anything remaining in the sieve. This ensures your mixture won't be grainy. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the egg whites on a high speed until stiff peaks form. Add a small amount of orange food colouring to egg whites, and mix until colour has evenly spread through mixture.
Fold the sifted sugar and almond meal into egg whites, continuing to fold until the mixture is glossy and moves slowly when the bowl is tilted. Remember, it's imperative that the mixture is smooth, so don't be overly concerned with loosing air through folding. We're not making sponge, here.
Spoon the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a 5mm plain piping tube. Pipe rounds 3cm in diameter onto the baking tray, spacing them 2 - 3cms apart. Sprinkle shells with cocoa. Tap the trays firmly on the bench a couple of times to knock out any air bubbles.
The macaron shells must now sit at room temperature until a crust forms - this will take 2 - 6 hours, depending on the temperature of the room (the warmer and drier the room, the faster the drying process will be). When they are ready, you should be able to touch the tops slightly and have no mixture stick to your finger.
Preheat oven to 150C fan-forced.
Place macaron shells into the oven and immediately turn the temperature down to 130C. Bake for 10 - 12 mins, until firm to the touch but not coloured. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before carefully removing from oven trays.
For the filling, melt the chocolate over a double boiler. Pour the cream into a small saucepan, add the finely grated orange zest and bring to the boil. Stand for ten minutes to infuse. Strain the cream to remove the zest, reheat until hot, then pour it over the chocolate and stir until smooth. Add the orange liqueur and mix well. Refrigerate for about 30 mins or until firm enough to hold its shape.
Spread or pipe cooled and thickened filling onto half the shells, and sandwich with remaining shells.
These are seriously delicious. As special as my gingerbread macarons were, this flavour surpasses them for me and everyone else who was lucky enough to try both. They are surprisingly orangey, and I just think this flavour combination can't be beaten. Well, we'll see...