Macarone means ‘to bruise’ referring to the ground almond paste in this classic French confectionary. You can jam pack these mini-meringues with flavour (without them developing that sickly sweetness) but they’re notoriously hard to make, and even if you follow the exact science they don’t always work out. Luckily I learnt from the best, Arnauld the Parisian pastry chef who works with Herbert Berger. Here’s his 95% fool-proof chocolate macaroon recipe.
For the Italian meringue
185g caster sugar
2 egg whites
½ tsp lemon juice
For the Ganache filling
100g dark chocolate
100g of double cream
To make the paste
Measure out the icing sugar, almonds and egg whites into a mixing bowl. Then melt the chocolate in a bowl over simmering water using the steam only. Add the chocolate to the other ingredients and whisk to make a smooth paste.
For the meringue
Whisk the egg whites with the lemon juice to firm peaks. Meanwhile place the water and sugar into a pan and heat to 120 degrees Celsius. Pour the sugar syrup immediately over the meringue on a reduced speed and then once incorporated whisk on a high speed for a few minutes. (This cooks the meringue)
Fold the paste into your meringue. Use a little egg white to initially loosen your paste, and then gently fold the loosened paste into the meringue. (This is the most important stage). You are looking for a ribbon consistency. (not too loose but not to thick) the mixture should just begin to fall in a ribbon without breaking)
If you under mix the macaroons will rise too much and be puffy with a dull finish. If you over mix your macaroons will be cracked. It’s really important to get this stage just right. It is important to knock a bit of air out of the mixture.
Pipe your macaroon mix onto baking parchment into small rounds about 2-3 cm in width. Heat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius and place some baking trays inside to heat. Once hot, slide the baking parchment onto the hot tray and bake for 7 minutes. (Heating the trays helps the macaroons rise quickly in the beginning of baking, giving them their petticoats.)
For the ganache
Heat the cream to boiling point and pour over the chocolate broken into a bowl. Stir together until smooth.
Once the ganache is cool, pipe onto the flat surface of half the macaroons. Sandwich these with your remaining other halves and display attractively.