Pastel and Gold French Macarons
My favourite pastry with a pretty, pastel twist! Raspberry–Peach and Whipped Caramelized White Chocolate Ganache filled French Macarons with gold splatter.
Originally inspired by freckled Easter eggs, these gorgeous (if I may say so myself) macarons easily transition from spring to summer, baby shower to elegant afternoon tea. The pastel shades of the delicate almond shells crinkle just right with each bite. The chewy centers make way for fillings that burst with flavor: Raspberry-Peach and Whipped Caramelized White Chocolate Ganache.
If you are new to making French Macarons, then using an Italian meringue makes this mixing process much easier. I feel like I have much more control over everything. Like when folding other ingredients of vastly different weights, I like to add the meringue in batches – usually in two or three batches. As you go, the dry almond mixture slowly starts to incorporate with the thick, pasty meringue. You don't want to vigorously mix these two ingredients together (although at first it might seem impossible that they will ever combine), but rather deliberately fold them together. Since over-mixing is a major thing you want to avoid, try to make every fold count by scooping up from the very bottom of the bowl and folding it over on itself. Continue adding in the meringue and rotating the bowl as you go. Contrary to most other batters made with whipped egg whites, you will want to knock some of the air out. After every few folds, smear the batter around the inside of the bowl to smooth.
When properly mixed, the batter should run slowly like thick ribbons of lava. Again, do not over-mix! Over-mixing leads to major spreading, so be careful. However, under-mixed macarons can be an issue too. When piped, under-mixed macarons may keep too much of their shape - with peaks and not the smooth, flat tops that make macrons so mesmerizing. If you are unsure about your mixing technique, try testing it as you go. If you "plop" a bit of the batter back into the bowl, a properly mixed batter should blend back into itself within about 5 seconds. Likewise, if you drag a spatula through the center of the bowl (full of batter), it should blend back together.
French Macaron Recipe
200 g super-fine almond flour
200 g confectioners' sugar
140 g egg whites (about 4 large eggs)
200 g granulated sugar
50 g water
gel food coloring (optional)
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or non-stick silicon mats and set aside. Sift the almond flour and powdered sugar together in a large mixing bowl and set aside. If using regular almond, you may considering grinding it further in a food processor (along with the sugar to keep from making almond butter) for extra smooth macarons.
Place the granulated sugar and water in a saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil and continue to cook until the mixtures registers 238 degrees on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat and let rest for about 30 seconds.
Meanwhile, whisk the eggs whites with an electric mixer until medium-soft peaks. Do not over-mix the whites. They should be soft but able to hold their shape, not dry and clumpy. If using a stand mixer, begin whisking on high when the sugar mixture hits about 210 degrees. The sugar syrup will heat up rather quickly at this point.
Once the sugar mixture is hot and the eggs are whipped, turn the mixer on high speed and carefully pour in the sugar. Pour in the sugar slowly and try to keep it from hitting the whisk to prevent hot sugar splatters. Continue to mix on high until the outside of the mixer bowl returns to room temperature (about 8 minutes). During the last minute or so, add in the gel food coloring, if desired.
Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees F.
Using a large, rubber spatula, begin folding in the meringue mixture into the almond flour mixture in three batches. Use large, deliberate folds – turning the dry ingredients from the bottom of the bowl up to the top. Continue to fold and smooth out the batter until it falls like thick lava off of the spatula – not too stiff and not too runny. Rotate the bowl as you fold and smear the mixture against the sides of the bowl with spatula to knock out some of the air. Do not over-mix.
Fill a piping bag fitted with a medium round piping tip with the macaron batter. Pipe out uniform rounds of the batter, about 1 1/4 inches in diameter, on the prepared baking sheets. When done, rap the bottoms of the baking sheets a few times against a safe work surface to knock out any air bubbles.
Allow the piped macarons to rest at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes or until the tops feel dry to the touch and are not sticky. Bake for 9 to 12 minutes. When done, the tops of the macarons should "jiggle" ever so slightly but still feel attached to the base. Cool the macarons on the baking sheet for at least 5 minutes before carefully pealing them off the parchment paper or baking mat.
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups confectioners's sugar
1 to 2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 to 3 tablespoons raspberry jam, or to taste
Beat butter at medium-low speed of electric mixer until smooth and creamy (1 to 3 minutes.)
Gradually add the confectioners' sugar, milk, and vanilla extract with mixer at low speed, scraping bowl occasionally. Mix until blended.
Beat at medium-high speed 3 to 5 minutes, until buttercream is light and airy and nearly white. If needed, add the additional milk until desired consistency. Add the raspberry jam and mix until combined.
Whipped Caramelized White Chocolate Ganache
3 ounces (by volume) heavy cream
7 ounces (by weight) caramelized white chocolate or Blond chocolate, chopped
Place the cream in a small saucepan and bring to a low simmer over medium heat. Meanwhile, place the white chocolate in a heat-safe bowl.
Once the cream begins to steam and small bubbles form on the surface, remove from the heat and pour it over the chocolate. Let stand for 30 seconds, then whisk until smooth. Set aside for about 2 hours until completely cool and thickened.
In the bowl of a stand mixed fitter with the whisk attachement (or using an hand-mixer), whip the ganche until light, fluffy, and pale in color. Do not over-mix or the ganache may split or become grainy. Use some-what immediately (just after the macarons shells are prepared for filling).
To learn more about caramelized white chocolate, click here.
- gold luster dust
- vanilla extract
- clean paint or pastry brush
- peach jam
Mix a touch of gold cluster dust (1/8 teaspoon) with a few drops of vanilla extract to make a thin paint. Place the cooled macaron shells on a piece of parchment paper, tops facing up. Using a clean brush, dip it into the gold paint and flick the bristles with a fingertip over the tops of the shells. Experiment with distance between the brush and the macaron until you find a design that you like. Allow to dry.
Once dry, match the macaron shells according to size/color. Flip the bottom halves of the shells over to be filled. Fill two piping bags fitted with small-medium round tips with the whipped ganache and raspberry buttercream. Pipe the whipped ganache onto half of the bottom shells. Gently sandwich the top shell on the ganache. Press together just until the ganache reaches the edges of the feet. For the Raspberry-Peach macarons, pipe a ring of raspberry buttercream around the bottom shell. Fill the center with peach jam before sandwiching together with the top shell.
Macarons may be stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for about 5 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.
– If you'd like to divide the recipe into two colors, here is how: First, weigh your mixing bowl and whisk BEFORE getting started and WRITE IT DOWN. Second, evenly divide the almond/sugar mixture into two separate mixing bowls. Third, do not add the gel food coloring while the meringue is mixing. Once the meringue is complete, weigh the bowl, whisk, and meringue. Subtract the weight of the empty bowl and whisk to find out how much meringue is available. Evenly split the meringue, by weight between the two bowl of almond/sugar mixture. Now add your gel food coloring before mixing. Mix deliberately and swiftly. Because you are working with TWO batters at the same time, you won't want either to sit out too long.