Week 19: Pietra macaron

Another one of Pierre Hermé’s classic macaron recipe. Appears to be a favourite amongst my friends. I guess it is difficult to screw up hazelnut.

Makes approximately 40 macarons (80 shells)


For the macaron shells

75g ground almonds

75g ground hazelnuts

150g icing sugar

55g ‘liquefied’ egg whites


125g caster sugar

38g mineral water

55g ‘liquefied’ egg whites

For the praline

125g whole hazelnuts

20g mineral water

½ tsp vanilla extract

125 unsalted butter at room temperature

50g ‘liquefied’ egg whites

80g caster sugar

20g mineral water

To finish

30g whole hazelnuts


1) For the caramelised hazelnuts. Preheat the oven to 170C. Spread 125g + 30g hazelnuts event on the baking tray. Slide it into the oven and roast the nuts for about 15 minutes. Crush 30g of the nuts for finishing.

2) Bring the 20g mineral water to the boil with the 80g sugar and vanilla extract. When the syrup reaches 121C, add the warm hazelnuts. Take the mixture off the heat and stir until the sugar resembles sand, then return it to the heat. Allow the nuts to caramelise, stirring constantly until the caramel turns a dark amber colour. Pour them out on to a baking tray and allow the nuts to cool. Crush them finely to obtain the caramelised ground hazelnuts.

3) For the macaron shells, sift together the icing sugar, ground hazelnuts and ground almonds then pour one potion of liquefied egg whites over them but do not stir.

4) 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 almond-sugar mixture.

5) 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 the crushed roasted hazelnuts. Leave the shells to stand for at least 30 minutes until they form a skin.

6) Preheat oven to 150C, then put the trays into the oven. Bake for 4 minutes, then, without opening, turn down the heat to 120C. Bake for another 16 minutes. Open the oven door twice during cooking time to let out steam.

7) For the praline, whisk the egg whites to peaks in the electric mixer. Meanwhile, bring the 20g water to boil with the 80g sugar, When the sugar reaches 121C, pour it over the egg whites and whisk until the meringue has completely cooled.

8) Beat the butter for 5 minutes in the electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment then add the caramelised ground hazelnuts a little at a time. Beat for 5 minutes.

9) Carefully add a third of the meringue to the praline mixture then add the rest, stirring delicately.

10) Spoon the praline 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.

On the hindsight, I should probably have added some salt to the praline, to bring out the flavour of the butter. But, this one definitely ranks high on my list of favourites.

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