Macarons With Blueberry Buttercream

Nothing thrills me more than being able to say that I know how and can make macarons. I think I even know the recipe by heart. Yup, totally patting myself on the back.

For a friend's birthday party last week, I made these with a blueberry Swiss meringue buttercream. The mild tartness of the filling paired well with the sweet macaron shells. I've found that fruit fillings are a lot less rich than ganache, especially in such hot weather. I think I'll switch back to ganache and richer fillings later in the year when you can at least eat these with a cuppa.


Recipe after the break.



Ingredients:

150 g egg whites (separate into 2 75 g portions)
200 g almond meal
200 g confectioners sugar
200 g sugar
50 g water
Gel food coloring

Equipment:

Kitchen Scale
Sifter
Food processor
Spatulas
Candy thermometer
Stand mixer
2 baking sheets
Parchment paper or Silpat mat
Piping bag with 1/2 inch round piping tip

All ingredients must be room temperature.

Start by pulsing almond meal & confectioners sugar in food process till combined. Sift into a large mixing bowl.

Boil water and sugar, monitoring temperature. As the sugar is boiling start beating 75 g of egg whites on high. The whites should reach stiff peaks by the time the sugar gets to 245 degrees F. Lower the mixer speed to low and carefully pour the sugar into the egg whites in a thin, steady stream. Once you've emptied the sugar mixture into the whites, turn the beater up to high and beat till the mixture turns a glossy white and yields stiff peaks. You can test the peak-age by dipping the whisk into the mixture, pulling up and the mixture should cause a parrot's bill sort of shape when you turn the whisk on its side.

Stir the other portion of egg whites into the almond meal/sugar mixture. Keep stirring and folding until you get a dough ball and all the flour/sugar is wet. It may seem like you don't have enough whites but trust me, it will blend.

Take a third to no more than half of the egg white mixture and fold into the dough ball. When that's incorporated, firmly fold the rest of the egg white mixture in. Do this by scraping your spatula around the bowl and under the dough and as you fold it over, press it down to blend. Repeat for about 15 times or so but not too much. Before the mixture is completely mixed, drip one or two drops into separate areas of the mix and finish folding till the whites can't be seen and you get a batter the texture of molasses - now you have your maccronage. If you scoop it up and let the batter fall back down, it should flow off the spatula REALLY slowly and the blobs should take a few seconds to meld back into itself. Honestly, I try to err on the side of thicker than runnier.

Line one baking sheet and sit it on top of the 2nd sheet. Fill your piping bag and pipe 1 - 1.5 inch drops on the silpat/parchment paper. Pipe with the bag vertical to the surface. If your maccronage is right, it should almost flow out of the bag on its own with hardly any pressure. Wet your fingertips and press down on any peaks that form from the piping. Make sure you press the peaks down to where the surface is flat otherwise you end up with macarons that look like nipples. Don't press so hard that you make it concave either. Remember you have to be gentle with these finicky things.

Firmly rap the sheet on the counter to get rid of air bubbles and to help the rounds settle. For good measure, I also use one hand and firmly pat the underside of the baking sheet.

Let the piped rounds sit for at least 15 minutes. Preheat your oven to 320 degrees F with the rack in the center of the oven. They're ready to be baked when you touch the rounds with a dry fingertip and nothing sticks. 15 minutes is key. Letting them sit for too long also messes it up so keep it to no more than 20 minutes.

Place the sheets in the oven, rotating halfway. Then you can do what I do and squat and watch obsessively as they bake. Remove from the oven and let cool on the sheets on a rack. Shells should lift off mat/paper without sticking.

Click here for the recipe for the perfect amount of buttercream.

(Recipe adapted from Dessert First and a few other places)