Marie adores French macaroons, it must be the delicate crisp of the shell followed by the ever so gooey centre. Not to mention the lighter than air presence on the tongue and the sweet filling.
We have attempted and failed to recreate this on our own kitchen. It all started off well, grinding the almonds
with the confectioners sugars and sifting it to remove any menacingly large pieces that threatened to tip the delicate balance of egg white and powder. We also thought we had a secret ingredients that would pull us through to safety….egg white powder. This was something that had not been used in earlier attempts. But as you can see from the photo to the right we were mistaken, foolishly so. The contents escaped from underneath and stuck to the parchment paper. So we abandoned the macaroon ship.
We did however make A LOT of meringue in the months that followed with great success, and this lead me to do some thinking. If we used a more stabilised form of whipped egg white , success may be within our grasp. Meringue was the perfect jumping off point. Also the egg would already be cooked so it would only need drying out, also a silpat was the better surface than parchment for this.
This is an experimental recipe try it if you like, but remember we’re still working on it.
We started with an Italian meringue base;
Weigh 6 oz sugar, we added a little vanilla sugar to regular sugar. Measure 2 oz of water.
Combine the water and sugar in a saucepan over a low heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. With a pastry brush dipped in cold water remove sugar crystals that collect around the edge of the pan.
Dissolve 1/16 teaspoon of cream of tartar in 1/2 teaspoon of water and stir into the sugar syrup. Bring the syrup to boiling point and continue to wash away any sugar crystals that are clinging to the sides.
While the sugar syrup is coming to a boil whip together 1/4 pint of egg whites and 2 oz sugar in a mixer. Using a medium speed whip until they are opaque and begin growing.
Add the sugar syrup in a steady stream to the beaten egg whites. Decrease to a slow setting and continue to beat until they are cold.
This is what you’ll end up with. Thick, glossy, luscious meringue.
Heat your oven to 350° and line a baking sheet with silpat
Weigh 4 oz of smooth peanut butter and put in a small bowl. Weigh 8 oz meringue and put to one side.
At this point you need to sacrifice about 1 oz of meringue and mix it into the peanut butter. This will lighten the peanut butter and it will be easier to mix into the rest of the meringue.
Now mix this into the meringue
Spoon the meringue into a piping bag fitted with # 12 nozzle
Pip the meringues. Ours were about 1 inch in diameter and 3/8 inch thick. Leave about a fingers width between each one.
There is enough meringue to make 64 halves
Press down any peeks with a wetted finger.
Bake them in the oven for about 7 minutes, then turn the oven off, wedge open the door a little and leave for another 5 minutes.
These deflated a little more than we thought, French macaroons puff slightly. They are chewy in the middle so it’s a start. Leave them to cool.
Now for the filling spread on a little raspberry jam… my favourite
And top with another half
For double PB & J macaroons spread peanut butter on one half and jam on the other.
This was an excellent beginning but I’m going to keep working on these tasty little things.