190g almond flour
205g icing sugar
144g egg white (split in half)
*don't throw away your yolks! Rather, look at my lemon or granadilla curd recipe
190g castor sugar
1. Place your almond flour and icing sugar in a food processor and pulse this mixture 16 times. You do not want to pulse it too much as the oils might start coming out of the almond flour.
2. Once pulsed, sift this mixture into a separate bowl, and DISCARD whatever does not come through the sift. Do not push through the remains of the almond flour in the sift as this will ruin the texture of your final product.
3. Add half of your egg whites (72g) to this almond mixture and stir until combined. It is important again here not to overmix becasue oils can leak out of the almond flour and make your final product look oily. Put clingfilm over the bowl before proceeding.
*If you want to colour your macarons this is when you put in the colour. I recommend using colour paste and not the liquid, as the texture will be ruined. Also, over colour becasue when the macarons are put in the oven, the colour will fade.
4. Now time to make your Italian meringue - yay! So in a pot combine the sugar and water and put on a low to medium heat. You will need a thermometer for this part.
5. When the sugar syrup reaches 110C start whisking the remaining 72g of your egg whites in a CLEAN bowl. You can use a stand mixer with a balloon whisk attachment or a hand held mixer. Start on a low to medium speed and when bigger bubbles show, turn up the speed to its max.
*if your bowl, hands or whisk attachment has any oil residue, your egg whites will battle to froth up and create meringue. You can wipe everything down with some vinegar just to make sure.
6. This is incredibly important- when your sugar syrup has reached 118C turn off the heat immediately and pour this syrup down the SIDE of your mixing bowl with your egg whites still mixing. At this stage your egg whites should be quite frothy with a bubble bath type resemblance. Do this slowly. If you do it too quickly, all the sugar will run down to the bottom and it wont be incorporated into the egg white. If you pour it into the middle of your bowl, hot syrup will go flying everywhere :(
7. Mix this egg mixture until the bottom of your bowl is room temp- this should take about 5 - 10 minutes. Your Italian meringue should have soft peaks and not be stiff all the way through. When you take the whisk out of the bowl, the peak of the meringue should flop slightly.
8. Once this is done, take one third of your Italian meringue and vigorously mix it into your almond mixture to loosen it up. Then take the rest of your meringue and FOLD it into your almond mixture. It is important not to over mix the batter here. You will know the batter has been sufficiently mixed, when the batter ribbons off your spatula and then takes a while to settle back into the mixture. You can do the figure eight test to help: so fill your spatula with batter and while it is pouring off, draw the figure eight into your batter. If the figure remains for at least 30 seconds, your batter is ready to be piped.
*So the two indicators to look out for that will tell you that your batter is ready: ribbon texture and batter takes a while to go smooth.
What I mean by the batter "ribbons"
What I mean by the batter taking a while to go flat after falling off your spatula
9. When the batter is ready to be piped, place it in your piping bag and pipe onto a baking sheet. I recommend using a macaron template (or making one yourself) for consistency. They are very easy to find online.
10. Once piped, bang your baking trays about two times against your counter top to get rid of any air bubbles, so all the macarons are completely leveled.
11. Now your macarons need to dry out. The humidity of where you live will determine how long this will take. I live in a super humid city so my macarons take about 1-2 hours to dry out . You will know they are dry when you can run your finger over them and no batter sticks to you. If you are hungry and impatient though, use a fan to speed up this process.
*Drying the macarons create a skin over them so that when they bake, they rise and create that beautiful iconic foot. If this process is skipped you have a chance of the tops of the macarons cracking and a foot will not form.
12. Once dried, place in a preheated oven at 160C for 12-14 minutes. You will know when they are ready when the tops don't come off when you try and take them off the baking sheet.
13. Do not take macarons off the baking sheet immediately. Let them dry off the oven tray but still on the baking sheet. Only once they are cool, take them off the baking sheet.
14. Fill half the macaron shells with the filling of your choice, using the other half to sandwich them together.
* Some filling recommendations: I love lemon or passion fruit curd, as well as white choccie ganache. But this is also where you can allow your creativity to run wild.
15. For the ideal macaron, once filled, store in an air tight container in the fridge for 24 hours so the shells can absorb some of that delish filling and become chewy. Or if you have no self control (like me ha ha) you can also eat them straight away.