We’re not exaggerating when we say that these are, without doubt, the best macarons we’ve ever tasted (and we’ve tasted A LOT of macarons).
Macarons are the perfect hen’s party treat or, better yet, as home-made bomboniere for guests at your wedding, and the ladies at Must Love Rust have mastered these delectable creations, based on Aussie chef Adriano Zumbo’s famously fabulous recipe.
“It’s not a difficult recipe,” says Helen Lester, Easy Weddings’ National Campaign Manager who, along with her sister Lys, also runs the food and photography blog Must Love Rust.
“It just takes some preparation and time but the result is, well, finger-licking good! I follow Adriano’s recipe to the letter and, though it’s very simple, there is one particularly tricky step and that’s getting the temperature of the sugar used in the macaron shells absolutely right.”
Helen says that watching the temperature of the sugar is so crucial because that’s what determines the overall ‘crispiness’ of the final product.
“If the temperature is too low,” she adds, “the macarons won’t set and they won’t be crispy, however, if it’s too high, the shells will be hard and will, potentially, crack. So, ensure you have a sugar thermometre on hand – and use it!”
Helen adds that while many macaron makers opt for strawberry puree made from frozen strawberries, she only ever uses fresh strawberries in her macarons.
“Buy fresh strawberries and puree them yourself,” she adds. “The result is so much smoother and the taste so much better.”
Macarons, as opposed to macaroons, which share the same base but are usually chewy and coconut-filled rather than soft and delicate, can be created in just about any flavour and any colour, making them equally suitable for wedding day snacks and deserts, which can be made to match your wedding theme’s colours.
Adriano Zumbo’s macaron recipe
80g strawberry puree
65g unsalted butter
1 vanilla bean, scraped
200g white chocolate
50g egg whites
125g caster sugar
135g pure icing sugar, sieved
135g almond meal, sieved
45g egg whites
Few drops of red colouring
Depending on how many you make (this recipe makes up to 60 mini macrons), you’ll need to set aside an afternoon as macarons are made in several stages, so though the cooking only takes about 15 minutes, there is between 1 and 2 hours of preparation.
To make the ganache
Bring the cream, strawberry puree and vanilla to the boil. Pour this hot cream mixture over the white chocolate to create the ganache. Cool this mix to 50C and mix in the butter.
Cover with cling wrap and allow to cool.
To make the shells
Boil the caster sugar and water to 118C.
Now, place 50g of egg whites in an electric mixer. Slowly stream in the hot sugar-water mix very, very slowly and whisk until it cools to about 50C. Be sure to mix your hot sugar mix into your egg whites in order to prevent cooking the egg whites before they mix with the sugar.
In a large bowl, place the sieved icing sugar, colouring, almond meal and 45g of egg whites on top.
Add the meringue mixture and mix until the two are combined perfectly.
Pre-heat the oven to 150C. Pipe 20 cent-sized circles onto a baking sheet lined with silicone baking paper.
Tap the base of the tray to remove any air bubbles and leave for between 30-60 minutes until a skin forms over the shells and they are touch dry.
Bake the shells for 16 minutes at 150C. Allow the macaron shells to cool, then flip them over on a clean, cool tray.
Place the ganache in a piping bag then pipe the ganache onto one shell before placing a second shell on top of the ganache to form a ‘sandwich’.