How Baking Works
MAKES 4 - 6 MACARONS 8-12 SHELLS, DEPENDING ON SIZE
As a stand-alone dessert, this recipe is unusual. Macarons are not usually desserts – they can sometimes be on desserts so the pompous creator (myself included) can show off a bit.
But on their own they are petit fours or individual treats, too small to be a proper pudding.
These are massive bruisers of macarons, however, designed to be demolished as individual desserts to round off a meal in the most elaborate way possible.
Except it’s actually a con because this is dead easy. Follow the basic macaron recipe, then all that’s needed is a simple and very soft cream cheese icing and some blackberries.
And the best thing about macarons as a dessert? They get better with a bit of ‘ageing’ in the fridge, so you can make these the night before.
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You Will Need
Line a baking tray with a piece of baking paper. In a food processor or blender, blitz together the icing sugar and almonds to remove any lumps.
In a large glass or stainless-steel bowl, whisk your egg whites to stiff peaks. Add the caster sugar, a teaspoon at a time, whisking on the highest speed (if using an electric mixer) all the time. Once your sugar is incorporated, whisk in enough food colouring to take it to a colour you like.
Fold in half your almondy mix as carefully as you can. Then add the final half and gently beat out a little of the air to loosen the mix. It should flow from the spoon like lava down the side of a mountain.
Fill a piping bag with your mix, cut a 1cm hole in the end and pipe 8–12 big splodges or spirals onto the baking paper, about 4-6cm in width, so that when they splay out slightly they will be up to 8cm in diameter. Pick up the tray and drop it from 1-2 feet onto the work surface. Do this twice more to remove any big bubbles.
Leave the macarons to rest for 30 minutes at the very least, for the skins to form, so they don’t split in the oven.
Whilst the skins are forming, preheat your oven to 160°C/140°C fan/Gas 3, then prepare your cream cheese filling. Simply whisk the cream cheese and icing sugar together with an electric mixer on a high speed (or by hand with a lot of effort) – when the mix is thick and creamy, keep going; you can incorporate air like whipping cream. Stir in the mint and lime zest, adjusting to taste. Scoop the filling into another piping bag.
Make your glaze, if desired. Take 5 or 6 blackberries in a bowl and crush them with the back of a spoon. Pour the juice into a pan and add a tablespoon of water and the caster sugar. Bring the mixture to the boil over a high heat then set aside, off the heat, until needed.
Bake your macarons for about 15–18 minutes, or until ‘feet’ have formed, they feel crisp to touch, but have not yet coloured. Leave them to cool on the tray.
To build, make a circle of blackberries around the outside of the underside of a cooled shell (you can use a touch of the icing if they keep falling down). Then, pipe a generous amount of your icing inside, closing with another macaron shell. To finish, brush all visible fruit with a little glaze.