In the true spirit of Christmas, I thought I'd share my recipe for the most deliciously festive, red velvet macarons - with the wonderful combination of chocolate macarons and a cream cheese and vanilla filling. The beautiful deep red colour of the macarons contrasted with the creamy filling make these delightful treats a glamorous addition to every tea table.
1 medium egg white, or approximately 32g of egg white, 35g icing sugar; 5g cocoa powder 40g ground almonds; 40g caster sugar, pinch of salt, deep red gel food colouring.
Makes approximately 10 macarons
· Weigh all of the ingredients carefully, preferably using electronic scales for greater accuracy.
· Sieve the icing sugar, cocoa powder and almonds into a bowl and gently combine with a metal spoon.
· Place the egg white, at room temperature, into a clean, stainless steel bowl and add pinch of salt.
· Using an electric hand whisk, start on a low speed 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 and dissolved.
· Whisk until the mixture is holding its shape. Add the remainder of the caster sugar and continue whisking on high speed again, until the mixture is very firm, creamy and shiny and holds its peaks.
· Add gel colouring at this stage to achieve a deep red colour and whisk into the mixture until fully incorporated. 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 to the meringue mixture and fold in with a spatula. Add the remainder and fold in, firstly gently and then increasing the speed and energy of mixing, folding and flattening the mixture against the side of the bowl, removing and redistributing some of the air, that you so carefully added in the early stages! Fold and beat until you have a thick, 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.diameter. Pipe small circles – approximately 4cm in diameter is a good standard size - onto baking parchment on a sturdy, flat baking tray, or even better onto a silicon macaron mat on a baking tray.
· Tap the tray firmly on the work surface to bring any air bubbles in the macarons to the surface.
· Bake 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 the 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!
· Ingredients: 20 g unsalted butter, 10g cream cheese, 60g of icing sugar, a dribble of vanilla bean paste, salt
· Beat butter and cream cheese together, add icing sugar bit by bit and make a smooth and creamy buttercream. Add vanilla and a pinch of salt to taste.
· Pipe the cream into the centre of one macaron shell and sandwich with a second shell, twisting gently to spread the cream.
Pop into fridge in an airtight container– preferably for 24 hours, - to mature. Enjoy at room temperature. They’ll stay fresh and tasty for up to seven days in the fridge.