I'm finding myself in a somewhat strange situation: I'm baking so frequently I just can't keep up with myself. Banana sundae cake, s'mores macarons, apple spice cupcakes, vanilla bean bundt cake... So many opportunities to bake, to give food gifts and to celebrate have left me with little time to do this part. Thankfully, the Internet is so forgiving.
These macarons were a result of a Saturday evening dinner hosted by a very stubborn but dear friend, who would accept no help and even sent me home with the bottle of wine I brought along with me. Thankfully, she was gracious enough hold onto a box of these passionfruit macarons, and I could feel slightly better about my contribution to the evening. Because giving is all about feeling better about yourself, right?
I love macaron shells when they're sandwiched with a tart fruit ganache. When remembering eating my first batch of macarons whilst in France, I remembered how amazed I was by the pairing of passionfruit -which I really feel quite luke warm about - and chocolate. My version may not be the true French experience, but it's pretty gosh darn wonderful.
For macaron shells:
150 gms ground almonds
150 gms icing sugar
110 gms egg whites, separated into 2 lots of 55 gms
150 gms white sugar
37 gms water
dash yellow food colouring
200 gms good quality dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), chopped
1/2 cup cream
pulp of 3 passionfruit
1 - 2 cups icing sugar
Cocoa, to dust
For the macarons, mix the ground almonds and icing sugar together and pulse a few times in food processor to make almond meal finer, being careful not to over-process and release the oil in the almond meal. Sieve into a large bowl. Add colour and 55 gms of the egg whites to the sugar/almond mixture but do not mix in.
Place remaining 55 gms of egg whites in bowl of mixer fitted with the whisk.
Place white sugar and water into saucepan stir to combine and cook without stirring to 118C. Once the mixture reaches 115C start mixing the egg whites on high. Once the sugar syrup reaches 118C remove from heat and immediately pour in a thin stream down the side of the mixer bowl continuing to whisk on high. Continue to whisk the meringue on high until the side of the bowl is only a little warm to touch. The meringue mixture should be beautifully glossy.
Add meringue mixture to almond mixture and using a large spatula fold the mixture together until it starts to shine and forms a ribbon that stays visible for about 30 seconds.
Add the mixture to a piping bag fitted with a plain tip and pipe in lines onto baking trays lined with baking paper. Tap trays on the bench a few times to eliminate any air bubbles. Dust with cocoa powder.
Set aside for about 30 minutes or until the macarons have formed a skin that doesn't stick to your finger.
Meanwhile preheat oven to 140C . Bake the macaroons for around 13 to 15 minutes depending on size, they should not be browned. Remove the baking trays and immediately slide off the macarons and the baking paper onto the work surface and let cool completely before removing the shells.
For the ganache, place the chocolate in the bowl of an electric mixer. Place cream and passionfruit pulp in a small saucepan over medium heat until almost at boiling point. Remove immediately and pour cream through a strainer over the chocolate. Cover bowl and sit for a minute or two before stirring until smooth. Allow to cool for ten minutes. Begin adding icing sugar a little at a time, whilst beating, until at desired piping or spreading consistency.
To finish, pipe shells with ganache. Allow to rest for 24 hours at room temperature for the passionfruit flavour to develop, if you can. It's worth it.
Recommended baking soundtrack: Vetiver - The Errant Charm.