This recipe is translated from Hermé’s magnificent book Macaron, published by Agnès Viénot Editions.
The recipe makes about 72 macarons
For the macaron shells
10½ oz/300g icing sugar
10½ oz/300g ground almonds
4oz/120g 100% cocoa solids chocolate
8oz/220g egg whites at room temperature (about 6-7 egg whites)
1 tsp (4.5g to be precise) carmine red food colouring (or cochineal)
5 tbsp mineral water
10½ oz/300g granulated sugar
Cocoa powder for dusting
For the bitter chocolate ganache
5oz/140g butter at room temperature
12½ oz/360g best-quality plain chocolate, chopped
14oz/400g whipping cream
1½ oz/40g 100% cocoa solids chocolate
To make the shells....Line 2-3 baking sheets with baking parchment. Mark the parchment with circles 1½in/3.8mm wide (I drew around a piping nozzle of the correct diameter), spacing them ¾in/2cm apart. Turn the paper over (the circles should show through).
Sift the icing sugar and ground almonds (you’ll need a fairly wide mesh sieve for this) into a large bowl.
Chop the 100% cocoa solids chocolate and put it in a bowl over a pan of just-simmering water, leaving it to melt and reach a temperature of 122F/50C.
Divide the egg whites into two equal portions.
Mix the food colouring into one portion and add to the bowl with the icing sugar and almonds (no need to mix it).
Put the mineral water in a small pan and add the granulated sugar. Heat gently until the sugar dissolves, then boil the syrup using a thermometer to track its temperature.
Meanwhile, put the other half of the egg whites in a bowl and plug in the electric beaters. When the syrup reaches 240F/115C, begin to beat the second quantity of egg whites to soft peaks.
Once the syrup reaches 244F/118C, pour it slowly on to the whites, beating all the time. Keep beating until the mixture returns to a soft peak consistency and has cooled to 122F/50C. (This egg white-syrup mousse is what chefs call an Italian meringue.)
Add the beaten egg whites to the bowl with the icing sugar and almonds.
Mix, then add the melted chocolate. Once it is incorporated, beat the mixture hard with a wooden spoon for a minute or so, without trying to incorporate more air.
Spoon the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a ³/8in/10mm plain tip. (Depending on the size of your piping bag, you’ll probably need to do this in three or four batches.)
Pipe the mixture onto baking sheets lined with the parchment paper marked with circles. Using a sifter, sprinkle lightly with powdered cocoa (you’re aiming for a few freckles, not an even dusting).
Tap the baking sheets on a work surface covered with kitchen towel.
Let the shells stand for half an hour, until a skin forms on the surface. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350F/180C/gas mark 4.
Slide the baking sheets into the preheated oven. Bake for 12 minutes, quickly opening and shutting the oven door twice during the cooking time to let the steam escape.
Take the baking sheets out of the oven. Slide the sheets of parchment paper with shells onto a work surface and leave to cool.
To make the ganache....Cut the butter into pieces.
Put the chocolate into a bowl. Boil the cream and pour about a third at a time onto the chopped chocolate, mixing each time. The mixture will separate and look grainy, but keep mixing and it will come together.
Allow the chocolate mixture to cool to 122F/50C.
Add the chopped butter and beat until smooth.
Pour into a wide dish. Press clingfilm onto the surface of the ganache and refrigerate until thick enough to pipe.
To assemble the macarons
Spoon the ganache into a pastry bag fitted with a ³/?in/10mm plain tip. Pipe a generous mound onto a shell, then top with another shell, twisting lightly so that the filling spreads and bulges enticingly.
Store covered in the fridge for at least 24 hours to allow the inside of the macaron shells to soften.
Bring back to room temperature before eating.
Bon appetit a tous.....Leeann x