Macaroons with Strawberry Buttercream filling &
Madeira Cake Sandwiches with Strawberries and Cream
I have for a while been wanting to make macaroons. What’s with the hesitation? Well, (1). so many and I mean roughly a gazzillion-trillion-billion food blogs have already blogged about macaroons and people are probably so tired of seeing another macaroon post. And (2). the worst part: a lot of the gazzillion-trillion-billion macaroon posts are pretty damn good. I’ve seen macaroon recipes using strawberries and black pepper, Chai tea, green tea, elderflower, cardamon and wattle, rose and champagne…(etc to infinity and beyond), and they all look so perfect and beautiful. I, on the other hand, made plain macaroons with a strawberry buttercream filling – which is as exiting as a chocolate brownie, just a little bit more pretty.
So why bother to post? Well, they took me so blooding long to make and they photograph so well. Also (and I should probably keep this to myself) they were supposed to be part of a Wimbledon post (hence the strawberries and cream), unfortunately Wimbledon ended sooner than I wanted it too, well rather (and as usual) I was under the impression it was still on. Good thing I forgot the Pimms.
Before, you get to the recipe I would just like to share some points that I found useful when making macaroons. I am far from being a pro at making them, but these tips did at least help me to make a cookie that resembled a macaroon. If you’ve never made them, try them – it is so exiting to see those little feet develop topped with a smooth shell.
- Measure, measure, measure – don’t eyeball! If you mess with the measurements your macaroons will probably crack.
- Oven temperatures are not always correct. I used an oven thermometer to check the exact temperature of my oven (Guess what? It was 20 degrees hotter than what I set it too).
- Make sure your ground almonds and icing sugar is evenly mixed together (I found blitzing them in a food processor mixed them well and ensured any large bits of almonds were ground).
- Heat your egg whites over a water bath (whisking all the time) for about 30seconds to a minute, then pour into your mixer.
- Fold the almond mixture into the meringue mixture and not the other way round and do it in batches (thirds or in quarters)
- Never over fold! You want your mixture to resemble molten lava, it must cling to the spatula and then blob off (not easily slide off.)
- Leave them to stand for a min of 30mins before baking
- Watch them after they have been in for 10-12minutes (they can cook quite quickly).
120g ground almonds (almond flour)
200g icing sugar
100g egg whites ( 3 large eggs)
35g granulated sugar
pnch of cream of tarter
1 tsp vanilla extract
red food colouring
In a food processor blitz the almond flour and icing sugar together (this will ensure the almonds and icing sugar are evenly incorporated). Sift the icing sugar and almond flour.
Whisk the egg whites till soft peaks have formed then add the sugar and cream of tartar and whisk till egg whites look shiny and silky.
Add the food colouring (a drop or too – depending on what colour you are looking for) and the vanilla extract. Whisk to incorporate (30secs to a minute)
Fold the almond and icing sugar mixture into the meringue (I like to do it in thirds). Fold the almond and meringue mixture till the mixture resembles molten lava (the mixture must not get too runny – it needs to be able to form a nice rounded dome once piped which should slightly drop/collapse after a few seconds). It is better to under-fold than to over-fold.
On trays, lined with wax-proof paper, pipe macaroon mixture into small rounds (roughly the size of a R5 coin) leaving about 2cm gaps in-between each macaroon.
Once macaroons are piped, tap/bang trays on your kitchen counter to bring any air bubbles to the surface.
Before placing your macaroons into the oven, leave them to stand for 35-45 minutes to form a “skin” .
Pre-heat oven to 150 degrees Celsius.
Bake macaroons for 15-18 minutes.
- Note: I found that it was best to bake one tray at a time and to watch macaroons around 12 minutes.
I found this recipe on Martha Stewart’s site, It makes quite a lot (about 5 cups!). I’m not sure if the recipe will work if you half the measurements, however the buttercream is freezer-friendly and is great to ice cakes with.
4 large egg whites, room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/12 cups unsalted butter, softened, cut into small pieces
1 1/2 cups fresh strawberries, pureed
In the heatproof bowl of an electric mixer set over a saucepan of simmering water, combine the egg whites and sugar. Cook, whisking constantly, until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is warm to the touch (about 70 degrees Celsius).
Attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat the egg-white mixture on high speed until it holds stiff (but not dry) peaks. Continue beating until the mixture is fluffy and cooled, about 6 minutes.
Switch to the paddle attachment. With the mixer on medium-low speed, add the butter one piece at a time, beating well after each addition. (If the frosting appears to separate after all the butter has been added, beat on medium-high speed until smooth again, 3 to 5 minutes more.) Beat in strawberry puree. Beat on lowest speed to eliminate any air bubbles, about 2 minutes. Stir with a rubber spatula until frosting is smooth.
A Pretty Easy Dessert
Madeira Cake Sandwiches with Strawberries and Cream:
1 Madeira cake
1 punnet of strawberries
Slice Madeira cake, and strawberries. Whip cream. Spread cream onto Madeira slices and top with sliced strawberries. Sandwich the Madeira slices together to form a sandwhiches.
You can use any fruit you like, sliced kiwi and peaches work well too.