I think I am just running through the macaron recipes in Pierre Hermé’s book. At least those that appeals to me. And who doesn’t like Nutella?
This particular recipe uses the standard macaron shell, minus the Earl Grey and with the cocoa solids bumped up to 30 grams. A teaspoon of coffee extract is added. And instead of the usual red colouring, a light yellow colouring is added, to complement the cocoa colour. After piping the shells, they are topped with crushed Gavotte biscuits.
This particular macaron recipe has an extra component, a tiny square of hazelnut praline, buried in the ganache, to give it that special crunch:
Makes enough for 40 macarons (with plenty left over)
10 grams whole hazelnuts with their skin
10 grams unsalted butter
23 grams milk chocolate couverture (40% cocoa solids)
83 grams Nutella
43 grams Gavotte biscuits
1) Preheat the oven to 170C. Spread out the hazelnuts on a baking tray. Put the tray in the oven and roast the nuts for about 15 minutes.
2) Tip the hot nuts into a wide-mesh sieve or colander. Roll the nuts around to remove the skins then transfer the nuts to a plastic bag. Using a rolling pin, crush them into medium-sized pieces.
3) Chop up the chocolate and put it in a bowl over a pan of barely simmering water. Add in the Nutella and the butter cut into pieces.
4) Stir to a smooth consistency then add the pieces of hazelnut and crumbled Gavotte biscuits.
5) Pour the praline onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and use a spatula to smooth the praline to a thickness of about 4 mm.
6) Set aside in the fridge for 1 hour then transfer it to the freezer for 2 hours.
7) Cut frozen praline into 1.5 cm squares and return the squares to the freezer until ready to use.
The original recipe calls for 33 grams Nutella and 50 grams Piedmont hazelnut paste. But I honestly have no idea where to find the hazelnut paste (I did contemplate making my own, but, i was lazy) and I figure, everyone likes Nutella. Due to the extra Nutella I decided to use the dark chocolate ganache instead of the milk chocolate ganache used by Pierre.
One point to note – it is important to get the praline to the right thickness. If it is too thin, you probably won’t get the intended crunch. And if it is too thick (as I discovered), you have problem sandwiching the macaron shells.