• Gaye Perry

Hot Cross Bun Macarons!

Easter is to be celebrated even in lockdown, so why not try your hand at these Hot Cross Bun macarons , delicately spiced and filled with a creamy, white chocolate and orange ganache. A traditional English Easter treat with a twist!



Ingredients:

Main batch:

1 medium egg white, or approximately 32g of egg white (used at room temperature)

40g icing sugar; 40g ground almonds; 40g caster sugar; 1/2 teaspoon of fine coffee powder;1/4 teaspoon ground ginger; 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon; 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg; 1/3 teaspoon vanilla bean paste; pinch of salt


Rich brown gel or paste food colouring


2nd batch:

1 medium egg white, or approximately 32g of egg white (used at room temperature)

40g icing sugar; 40g ground almonds; 40g caster sugar; pinch of salt


Methodology:

· Weigh all of the ingredients carefully, preferably using electronic scales for greater accuracy.

Tip:I would recommend weighing up for both batches at the same time, allowing you to be well prepared to make the second batch as soon as the first batch is piped. Make the flavoured and coloured batch first.

· Sieve the icing sugar, coffee, spices and almonds into a bowl and gently combine with a metal spoon.

· Place the egg white into a clean, stainless steel bowl and add pinch of salt.

· Using an electric hand whisk, start on a low speed and whisk until frothy and there is no sign of the liquid egg.

· Add about half of the caster sugar and whisk again, increasing to high speed once the sugar is incorporated.

· Whisk until you achieve firm, glossy peaks. Add the remainder of the caster sugar and continue whisking on high speed again, until the mixture is stiff and holding its peaks.

·Add the food colouring and the vanilla paste and whisk again. Add more colour if required - and whisk again. Do not over mix, as it is important that the mixture remains stiff and the peaks are maintained.

· Now add half of the dry ingredients – nuts, icing sugar, coffee and spices - to the meringue mixture and fold in with a spatula. It’s important to fold gently, and not to let the dry ingredients stick to the bottom or sides of the bowl.

· Add the remainder and fold in, firstly gently and then increasing the speed and energy of mixing, folding and paddling through the mixture from one side of the bowl to the other, removing and redistributing some of the air, that you so carefully added in the early stages! Fold and beat until you have a thick but fluid, glossy mixture that drops from the spatula in a continuous ribbon and reforms in the bowl.

· Transfer this to a piping bag. No need for a nozzle - just cut the tip of the piping bag cleanly with scissors, so that you have a hole of about 1cm. Pipe small circles – approx. 4cm in diameter is a good standard size - onto baking parchment on a sturdy, flat baking tray, or even better onto a macaron silicon mat on a baking tray. If using parchment, use a template of circles drawn on paper and place under the parchment while you pipe. Remember to remove the paper before you put the tray in the oven. Piping can be a bit tricky – but don’t panic!

Tip: Pipe from above, i.e. fairly holding the bag in a vertical position and finish with a “C”-shaped action, before starting the next one. Don’t over fill the macaron mould, or the circles on the template. The mixture will spread a little as it settles.

· Tap the tray firmly on the work surface to bring any air bubbles in the macarons to the surface.

Repeat the methodology for the second batch - without colour or flavours - as far as filling the piping bag. Ensure that the mixture flows well so that you can pipe it on top of the macaron rounds. With a steady hand pipe two lines - crossing in the middle of the macaron - on top of the previously piped macaron. Tap the tray lightly and leave to stand for 10 minutes or so to let the mixture settle.

Tip: Cut a slightly small hole in the piping bag than usual - just so that you have more control.

You will have enough batter left to make another 6 or more macarons so pipe 4cm rounds until it is all used up. You should have enough ganache to fill these too.

Baking

· Bake on top/middle shelf in fan oven at 140 C for 20 minutes. They are cooked when they don’t wobble when you gently feel the shell. If in doubt, let them have another minute or two. It may take a couple of goes to find right timing for your oven.

· Once out of the oven, leave the macarons to cool on the baking tray for 15 minutes or more. If they are properly cooked they will come away from the mat or paper very easily and cleanly. Be gentle with them!

Tip: - I usually leave them for another half an hour or so before filling them – though that’s not totally necessary.

Filling

· White chocolate and orange ganache: Melt 60g milk chocolate with 40g of double cream in microwave – approximately 30secs – , or warm the cream gently in a pan and pour onto the broken chocolate. Stir from the middle and add the zest of half an orange and 2 or 3 drops of orange essence. Stir well until smooth and glossy. Taste and add another drop or two of essence as required. Leave to cool until set. Pipe the ganache into the centre of one macaron shell and sandwich with second shell, twisting gently to spread the ganache.

Pop into fridge in an airtight container – preferably for 24 hours, - to mature, just in time for Good Friday!

Enjoy at room temperature. They’ll stay fresh and tasty for up to seven days in the fridge.


Good luck!

Gaye


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