Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Macarons

Macarons

Macarons are said to be a rage of the 21st Century  and seems to be "The Gift" to present as a party favour. Initiated  to fame by the French Cuisine, these delicate bites of goodness are light, airy and simply melt in your mouth. 


The word and origins of this recipe is definitely Italian but was taken to popularity by the French; living as asylum seekers in Italian Monasteries and Churches in the 1780's during the French Revolution.  (Although it seems there is a mention of the Macaron even earlier than this time period.)


We generally think of macarons as round circles, two pieces glued together with a thin film of sticky jam, jelly or ganache. But  as always my creation is simpler; piped through a large bag on cookie sheets and baked to perfection. (It does taste just as divine.)  


Basically macarons are made up of egg whites, sugar and almonds. Later on other European nations like The Netherlands and the United Kingdom substituted almonds with coconut. This makes them chewier but are not as airy and light. These are called Macaroons. They even changed the shape to a conical wavy mound to differentiate! Perhaps saving themselves from the 'Whip'  of the Culinary World for imitation?


Suddenly it seems to me that all the Cooking Schools offer a course on the ever popular Macarons, making them up with every colour, flavour and filling edible. All major cities of some culinary standing has at least one "Macaron Shop" worth its reputation. Paris, London, Montreal and Florence having been on my tasters list so far.


Dab them in melted dark chocolate  if preferred, it tastes perfect with or without the Chocolate Ganache. Feel free to add a few drops of food colouring to make it your own.



The pink hue on each macaroon tells us its done.


With and Without Chocolate.


Ready to be baked.


Makes about 50 small macarons
4 large egg whites at room temperature
1 cup fine sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup ground almonds
1/3 cup almond flour
1 tsp vanilla essence


Beat the egg whites adding the sugar with the salt in a gentle stream until soft peaks are formed. Do not over beat or dry them out. It should be glossy and shiny.


Mix the ground almonds and almond powder. With a large metal spoon  gently fold in the almond powder in 4 batches.


Fill the piping bag and pipe the macaroons on a baking sheet lines with parchment. You may spoon them if you prefer.


Bake in a preheated oven of 325F/ 170C for 30-40 minutes. They will be  beautifully golden brown. Remove and cool.  Allow to cool completely before using the chocolate or any other icing. 


Tips


Generally ground almond is referred to coarsley ground almonds that have been blanched and peeled.

They are available in most stores in the West.
If you prefer to grind them with the skin it is a preference and will work well too.

Almond flour is referred to a very fine powdered almond that has been blanched and peeled.

If it is unavailable, substitute it with ground almonds.

Mix the almonds either with a fork or your finger tips. This helps loosen and separate. Making sure its not clumpy or cold before mixing it in.



Store the ground almonds in the fridge for up to a year.


For more amazing desserts click

Niloufer's Kitchen: Spanish Tapas
Niloufer'sKitchen : French Bistro

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