I made these to take to a tea party last weekend. It was a tea party that moved seamlessly into a cocktail party, from which I suffered a painful (but totally worth it) hangover.
Macaroons are notoriously tricky, and I have to admit that these didn’t turn out amazingly. They were a bit misshapen and cracked – definitely not living up to my fantasies of the perfectly round, flawless macaroons you see in patisserie windows. Along with my pastry-chef friend Vicky, we ended up making 3 batches (probably ending up with at least 60 macaroons) in an attempt to get more successful ones.
Most macaroons are dyed ridiculous artificial colours and are tooth-achingly sweet – so we used matcha green tea powder, giving them a slight bitterness and a lovely gentle green colour. For the filling we opted for a marscapone cream with lots of vanilla, which complemented the green tea flavour really well. So despite not having the most uniform appearance, they tasted good. And by the time we handed them round at the party, everyone (including me) was too sozzled to notice that they were anything less than perfect.
Makes about 20
For the macaroons:
110g icing sugar
60g ground almonds
2 free range egg whites
40g caster sugar
1-2 tsp matcha green tea powder (available online or in specialist Asian food shops)
For the filling:
150ml double cream
1 tsp vanilla paste, or 1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped out.
A disposable piping bag is useful if you want to attempt to get something approaching circular macaroons.
Sift the icing sugar and ground almonds into a bowl, then mix in the green tea powder (use between 1 and 2 tsps depending on how green you want the macaroons to be). Whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks, then whisk in the caster sugar until you have a stiff meringue. Fold in the icing sugar mix bit by bit until incorporated.
Take 3 baking trays and ‘glue’ some baking parchment onto each one using a dab of mixture. If using a piping bag, fill with mixture and cut off the end to about 1 cm, and pipe discs onto the paper about 2 cm in diameter (they will spread out more while resting). Next, pick up the trays and give them a tap on the table – this helps to give them a smooth surface. Leave the macaroons out and uncovered for at least an hour before baking to form a skin. Preheat the oven to 170°C.
When ready to bake, put in the oven for about 10-12 minutes. They are ready when they have puffed up and they will come easily off the baking tray when lifted with a palette knife. Leave them to cool completely.
For the marscapone cream, place the cream, marscapone and vanilla in a bowl and whisk until soft peaks form. Fill a piping bag with the mixture and pipe into the centre of the macaroons, or spoon about a teaspoonful in, and sandwich together. Most recipes call for a tiny amount of filling, but I think they’re nicer with a good dollop.
Recipe adapted from Ottolenghi: The Cookbook