Light and delicate macarons are a treat for true romantics.
Makes 40 macarons (3cm in diameter)
- 100g ground almonds
100g ground hazelnuts
200g caster sugar
2 x 80g egg whites
60g ground almonds
100g shelled or ground hazelnuts
250g softened butter
140g icing sugar
Finely process the ground almonds, ground hazelnuts and icing sugar then sift (this is called the tant pour tant). The residue left in the sieve can be used to sprinkle over the macarons.
In a saucepan, bring the water and caster sugar to the boil. Without stirring, make sure the temperature of the resulting syrup doesn’t go above 115°C.
To make meringues:
Gently beat 80g egg whites to soft peaks. When the syrup reaches 115°C remove the saucepan from the heat and pour the syrup in a thin stream into the beaten egg whites. Continue to beat the meringue for about 10 minutes, so that it cools.
Mix the tant pour tant and the remaining egg whites to make a smooth paste. Using a flexible spatula, incorporate about a third of the meringue into this paste, to loosen it a little, then add the rest of the
meringue, carefully working the batter.
Fill a piping bag fitted with an 8mm nozzle with batter. Attach some baking paper to each baking tray by placing small dots of batter in the corners. Pipe out small, regular and wellspaced rounds, about the size of a walnut.
Sprinkle the macarons, if liked, with the tant pour tant residue, then tap the bottom of the trays and allow them to form a crust for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 150°C. Bake in the oven for 14 minutes, then gently place the baking paper on a dampened benchtop: the shells will be easier to remove.
To make the hazelnut cream:
Process the hazelnuts with the ground almonds. Beat he softened butter vigorously, using a whisk or an electric beater, to give it a very smooth and creamy texture. Add the icing sugar and beat again. Incorporate the hazelnut–almond mixture and whisk again for a few minutes to aerate the cream and give it lightness.
Using a piping bag fitted with an 8mm nozzle, fill half the shells with the cream, then assemble the macarons with the remaining shells. Refrigerate the macarons for an hour.