For some strange reason, macarons seem to be the pinnacle of every home baker's repertoire. They're held in such high esteem that it's almost as if being able to make the perfect macaron is an initiation right into a secret society of pastry chefs. I had a few failures when I first tried my hand at making macarons. Once I understood how the recipe worked though, I realised how simple they really are!
Most people are probably unaware that macarons actually originated in Italy, however not in the form that they are most commonly known as today. Queen Catherine d' Medici brought her Italian pastry chefs to France with her in 1533 whom introduced the macaron in a singular state. Louis-Ernest Laudurée opened the Laudurée bakery in Paris in 1862, but it wasn't until 1930 when his grandson Pierre Desfontaine sandwiched two cookies together with ganache, creating the macaron that we are so familiar with.
To overthrow the notion of macarons being notoriously difficult to make, I'm sharing a recipe for Sugar High Friday #65 that rids the need for conventional Italian meringue once and for all. It's based on the very first method which I was taught and have adjusted a little here and there since.
There are of course, a few things to keep in mind before you begin. You will need electronic kitchen scales to attempt this recipe as achieving the correct consistency is paramount. You cannot substitute icing sugar mixture for pure icing sugar as it contains cornstarch. Almond meal does not have to be passed through a fine sieve before using. If you use liquid food colouring instead of powdered, add an extra 5 g of almond meal for each 1 g of colouring and combine colouring with the egg white at the first step.
Green Tea Macarons
155 g pure icing sugarSift dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
100 g almond meal
5 g green tea/ matcha powder
66 g egg whites
Whisk egg whites in an electric mixer on high speed for 2 minutes.
Add egg whites to ingredients in the bowl.
Smear the egg whites into the dry ingredients with a spatula until completely combined and glossy.
Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a size 7 piping nozzle.
Grease a heavy steel baking tray with oil and line with baking paper.
Pipe mix onto tray 2cm wide, 3 cm apart.
Tap the underside of the tray sharply against your palm to flatten the macarons.
Leave in a warm, dry area for 20 minutes (longer, depending on ambient humidity and temperature) or until you can touch the surface lightly without any sticking.
Bake on a low rack in a convection oven at 140ºC for 15 minutes, turning halfway.
Cool macarons completely on the tray.