Gosh, if I’d know the Italian meringue method of making macarons is so much easier, and almost fool-proof, it would have saved me so much heartache. Not to mention eggs, eggs and eggs! And this recipe is from none other than my current favorite patissier, monsieur Pierre Hermé himself!
It is amazing that his book, Macaron, is available in English. And even more amazing that he is willing to share with the world his secret to some of the most wonderful flavors. He truly is “the man who hears recipes in his head”.
The following is adapted from his book (with some substitute as I did not have all the ingredients on hand). I only have the approximate number of macarons as I ate a few of it before I counted.
Makes approximately 40 macarons (80 shells)
For the macaron shells
150g ground almonds
150g icing sugar
55g ‘liquefied’ egg whites
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon Earl Grey tea leaves
6g solid chocolate (100%)
Red food color paste
125g caster sugar
38g mineral water
55g ‘liquefied’ egg whites
For the Earl Grey tea ganache
193g whipping cream (35% fat)
13g Earl Grey tea leaves
100g milk chocolate (40%)
100g dark chocolate (70%)
Earl Grey tea leaves
1) Sift together the icing sugar and ground almonds. Grind the Earl Grey tea leaves and add to the icing sugar and almond mixture. Also add in the vanilla extract and melted chocolate.
2) Add coloring to the first potion of liquefied egg whites then pour it over the icing sugar-almond mixture but do not stir.
3) Bring the water and sugar to boil at 118C. When the syrup reaches 115C, simultaneously start whisking the second portion of liquefied egg whites to soft peak. When the sugar reaches 118C, pour it over the egg whites. Whisk and allow to cool down to 50C, then fold the meringue into the almon-sugar mixture.
4) Spoon the batter into a piping bag fitted with a plain nozzle. Pipe rounds of batter about 3.5 cm in diameter, spacing them 2 cm apart on baking trays lined with baking parchment. Rap the trays on the work surface covered with a kitchen cloth. Sprinkle the shells lightly with Earl Grey tea leaves. Leave the shells to stand for at least 30 minutes until they form a skin.
5) Preheat oven to 180C, then put the trays into the oven. Bake for 4 minutes, then, without opening, turn down the heat to 150C. Bake for another 4 minutes. Then, turn it down to 120C. Open the oven door twice during cooking time to let out steam.
6) For the tea ganache. Bring the cream to the boil. Off the heat, add the tea and cover with a lid. Allow to infuse for 3 minutes then strain the cream. Partially melt the milk and dark chocolate in a bowl over a pan of barely simmering water. Pour the cream into the chocolate a third at a time. When the mixture reaches 60C, add the butter and whisk to obtain a smooth ganache. Leave the ganacha to stand at room temperature until it thickens.
7) Spoon the ganache into a piping bag with a plain nozzle. Pipe a generous mound of ganache on to half the shells and top with the remaining shells.
8) Store the macarons in the fridge for 24 hours then bring them back out 2 hours before serving.
Et voila! My very first batch of Pierre Hermé macarons, and I am over the moon. Now I no longer need to go to Paris (or Hong Kong) to get my fill of these wicked little pastry. And I foresee I will be making many, many more in the days to come.