Yesterday my Mum and I went on a macaron making course at the Waitrose Cookery School to see if we could do better than the not quite right macarons of Daring Cooks! It was fantastic, the whole experience was really good, the staff were brilliant and the macarons worked and were delicious! I feel really pleased with myself and I feel as if I've learnt a new technique that I could use again and again.
Pistachio Macarons with Raspberry Buttercream (from Waitrose Cookery School)
(Makes 20 large macarons)
For the Italian meringue
275g caster sugar
1/2 tbsp green food colouring
59g egg whites (about 3 eggs)
For the paste
275g ground almonds
275g icing sugar
95g egg whites (about 3 eggs)
For the buttercream
120g raspberry coulis
45g caster sugar
2 egg yolks
200g unsalted butter, diced and chilled
50g peeled chopped pistachio nuts
Weigh out the ingredients and preheat the oven to 140C. Line two baking trays with parchment paper cut to fit.
To make the Italian meringue; place the sugar and 100ml cold water into a small saucepan and stir to dissolve. Add the green food colouring and place over a medium to high heat with a sugar thermometer inside.
Place the egg whites in the bowl of a food mixer, set with the whisk attachment.
When the sugar syrup reaches 110C start whisking the egg whites on medium speed. Once the termperature has reached 114C, turn the mixer onto full speed, remove the thermometer and slowly pour the syrup down the side of the bowl into the egg whites, mix for about 5 mins, until the mixture is whipped and glossy.
Meanwhile make the paste. In a separate bowl, combine the ground almonds and icing sugar. Add the egg whites and mix with a wooden spoon until you have a stiff paste.
When the meringue is ready (with soft peaks) gently combine it with the paste in three stages. For the first addition of the meringue to the paste mix vigorously, with a wooden spoon, to ensure there are no lumps. For the second addition, use a spatula to fold the meringue in gently. The final addition must be extremely gentle.
The macaron mix is now ready to be piped. Using a spatula, half-fill a piping-bag and pipe a little of the mixture into each corner of the baking trays in order to stick the parchment paper down. Then pipe circles in straight lines going from left to right, leaving a 2cm gap between wach macaron. Sprinkle over the pistachios.
Cook for 17-19 mins in the preheated oven, opening the door halfway through to release steam, then remove the trays and leave to cool.
Meanwhile make the raspberry buttercream. Place the raspberry coulis in a small saucepan and heat over a medium heat.
Place the caster sugar and egg yolks in a bowl and whisk together.
When the coulis begins to boil, add about half into the egg mix and whisk together. Transfer back to the pan with the rest of coulis and continue to stir over a low heat. When the mixture coats the back of a spatula, remove from the heat and pour into a food mixer with the whisk attachment on a medium speed.
After 2 mins, gradually add the diced butter piece by piece. When all of the butter has been added, continue to whisk for a further couple of mins or until it become thick smooth and shiny.
Use a spatula to transfer the mixture into a piping bag ready to pipe on the macarons.
To assemble, arrange the macaron shells in columns, matching the size of the shells. On alternate columns pipe the buttercream in the centre of each shell, then sandwich together.