mint-macaron21My first experimental batch of macarons for this month is with the Italian meringue (sucre cuit method).  I borrowed from Mercotte’s  recipe that is favoured by Tartelette, and strongly resembles the quantities and techniques used by Pierre Hermé.

Unfortunately … I was disappointed in the outcome. 

Probably not surprising my maiden effort with the Italian meringue method was disappointing.  In addition to being pretty heavy-handed in the kitchen (never good when making meringue!), I did also take a few short cuts.  1) I did not use eggs that had been separated ahead of time.  2) I did not dry out my almond meal.  And 3) I did not wait after piping to put the macarons in the oven. 

But that is all part of the experiment, I guess. 

The resulting shells were sort of smooth (though a far far cry from the little treats I savoured in France!).  They were also the most fragile I have made.  They certainly had the right texture though – a crisp outer shell and soft centre – and the taste was lovely, too. 

All in all, worth the effort.  But chalk this up to being a record of (hopefully) mastering the techniques over time.

{ Basic macaron }

* Ingredients *

120g egg whites
25g sugar
150g almond meal
150g icing sugar
For the syrup:
150g sugar and 50ml water

* Directions *

Process the almond meal and icing sugar together.  In a mixer, whip half the egg whites to soft peaks.  Meanwhile, in a saucepan bring the water and sugar for the syrup to 117C (or 242F) on a candy thermometer.  Once ready, slowly add the boiling syrup to the egg whites and continue to whip on medium speed until they thick and shiny and are completely cooled (about 10 minutes).  Mix the remaining egg whites to the sifted almond mixture and fold into the meringue in four parts.

Pipe macarons on lined baking sheets. Double up your baking sheets if you do not have professional grade quality.  Let your macarons sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Bake at 140C or 280F for 15-18 minutes.  Fill with ganache or filling of your choice.

{ Mint Chocolate Ganache }

* Ingredients *

120g bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup chopped mint leaves

* Directions *

Heat cream and mint until bubbles form around the edge of the pan.  Pour cream through strainer, over the chocolate.  Let sit for 2-3 minutes and then stir.  Let cool then transfer to the refrigerator to thicken.