Raspberry & Pistachio French Macarons

11 September 2011

I literally loved to bite in these small french macaroons with a crunchy meringue shell and soft almond layer sandwiched together with pistachio and raspberry butter cream ganache. I promise, there were many bits..

The first time I got to know about french macaroons, I literally fell in love with the small cute colorful mouthfuls filled with cream. However the sad thing is that I have only managed to make them only three times since then. I remember I was really excited the first time and colored them in pink, green and brown, but the result was not as expected. Actually they turned out great when it comes to taste and texture, but the problem occured removing them from the baking sheet. The macaroons had stuck to the sheet and I had to scrape them off which made them quite crunched looking and not at all as the lovely smooth macaroons you see in pictures. It is over a year ago and they were appreciated though. The second time I dared myself to make the french macaroons again was before christmas holidays if I do not remember wrong and I "thought" I had found the perfect failproof recipe in a magazine which made them look so easy to make with step-by-step pictures. The result? Disaster. A catastrophe! I mean they could seriously not have turned out worser. They were looking like everything, but macaroons! The purple color seemed to disappear in the oven and they got cracks allover. I was sooo disappointed and squeezed them together and they went for the birds garden party (wonder if they bothered to eat them).
Finally, my third attempt on these oh so delicious french macaroons was for about over a week ago for an occassion. I challenged myself to get them right this time and reassured me a recipe from my favorite baking blog "Passion 4 Baking". This recipe was different from the two previous recipes, as it took base in the boiled syrup method. Half-sleep and tired at around 2 am midnight, I was standing in my kitchen challenging myself to make macaroons! How could it not get wrong?

It did NOT go wrong. Really. I was amazed and could breathe a sigh of relief. Some of them was not really round and the color seemed to appear more pale even though I added a lot of color, but they were all smooth and I could see no cracks and they easily came off the baking sheet. Finally, I mastered the french macaroons. But to perfection? I would say no. I will definitely need more practice to make them to perfection. A challenge I will definitely love to dare.

I love this recipe, so I am sharing it with you. I have no step-by-step pictures since I was in a hurry, but you can see them here (norwegian text). Search for 'Pure Vanilla Macarons'.

PS! These are extremely dangerous, because I ended up eating over half of them all alone. Having one bite of these, means you are addicted! Actually I forgot to bring them for the occassion (bad for them, good for me).

I n g r e d i e n t s

Makes about 30 sandwiched french macaroons

120 g egg whites (about 4)
35 g sugar
150 g almonds, finely ground
0,5 vanilla pod (or 1 tsp vanilla sugar)
150 g icing sugar
150 g sugar for syrup
0,5 dl water for syrup

PS: You can buy ready made almond flour or you can cook and scald almonds for then to ground them superfinely or you can ground them with their shell on just as they are. The last mentioned method will give a more intense almond taste.

NB! Line your baking sheet with bought greased baking paper or else you may have trouble with sticky macaroons. It is not enough to grease some regular baking paper!

Divide the egg whites equally in two bowls and set aside for atleast one hour at room temeperature, or preferably overnight

1. Combine ground almonds and icing sugar in a bowl
2. Add the egg whites (60 g) from one bowl and mix until they form a paste, set aside

3. Have the sugar and water in a saucepan and cook on high temperature until it reaches about 118C or till the sugar has dissolved (ca. 2 minutes)
4. Scrape off the beans from vanilla pod
5. Have the egg whites from bowl 2 (60 g) in a large bowl and whisk along with the vanilla beans to a soft meringue
6. Add sugar (35 g) little by little while you are whisking
7. Add carefully the sugar syrup while whisking the meringue and whisk for about 15 minutes, or
until the meringue becomes glossy
8. Mix the meringue with almond paste (the consistency of batter has not to be runny or too thick)
9. Add color as desired and fill a pastry bag with a round nozzle and press small circles (around 4 cm) on a lined baking sheet

Let them rest for about 30 minutes (this makes them become more glossy and there are less chances for developing cracks)

* Use an extra baking sheet below the baking sheet with macaroons while baking them

Bake in the middle of oven at 160 C / 320 F for about 12 - 18 minutes

Let cool on the baking sheet for atleast 30 minutes or preferably overnight to prevent them from sticking to the sheet

Sandwich the cooled french macaroons together with ganache using a pastry bag and serve!

* You can use buttercream ganache to sandwich the french macaroons together or you can use sieved jam of choice. There are a lot of different and delicious ganache recipes to be found on google.

Buttercream Ganache

75 g butter
75 g icing sugar
1-2 tbsp milk
green and pink coloring / coloring of choice
30 g pistachio nuts, finely ground
30 g raspberry jam, sieved
flavoring of choice

(I added finely ground pistachio nuts and green coloring for half of the macaroons and sieved raspberry jam and pink coloring to rest of them who were pink)

1. Beat the butter until it becomes soft and creamy
2. Add the icing sugar and continiue beating until it becomes fluffy and pale in color
3. Add a little milk if required for smoother consistency
4. Add coloring and flavoring of choice

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