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Orange Blossom Macarons

Saturday, 22 March 2014

It's been a few weeks since I treated myself to a batch of these delicious French fancies and you to another mouth watering macaron recipe. There's a lot to be said for the expression 'practice makes perfect' because each time I make macarons I am finding that they come out just a little better than the time before. These little beauties with their delicate orange flavour are so exquisite I'm making them again tomorrow (because I ate them all already... hangs head.)

Begin as usual by separating the egg whites at least 24 hours prior to baking. They will keep in an airtight container for up to five days in the fridge. Allow the egg whites to return to room temperature before you begin the recipe.

You will need:

For the shells:
2 large eggs (separated)
60g ground almonds
110g confectioners' sugar
20g castor sugar
Orange food colouring
1 tbls Essence of Orange Blossom

For the ganache:
2 eggs
50g turbinado sugar (brown cane sugar is an acceptable alternative)
1 heaped tsp of cornstarch
Juice of 2 oranges
20g butter (softened and diced)

To make the ganache beat the eggs and turbinado sugar together in a large mixing bowl. When combined add the cornstarch and orange juice and mix well. Pour the liquid into a saucepan, cook on a low heat stirring continuously until the liquid begins to thicken, at which point add the butter and continue stirring until it has dissolved. Remove the saucepan from the hob and allow the ganache to cool before chilling it in the fridge until it is slightly viscous. Once chilled pipe the ganache onto half of the macaron shells and top with a matching shell. Chill the assembled macarons for at least one hour before serving, over night it better. The flavour is especially intense if you bring them out of the fridge 30 minutes prior to serving.

To make the shells combine the confectioner's sugar and ground almonds in a food processor. Grind them for a minute or two, then push the mix back into the centre of the processor and grind for a further minute. Sieve the powder into a bowl. Don't try and force any large bits through the sieve as this will make your mixture heavy and the macarons lumpy. Transfer to a baking tray and cook in the oven for 5 to 7 minutes at 150ºC. Allow to cool.

In a separate bowl whisk the egg whites until the start to form soft peaks, then add gradually add the castor sugar until the peaks are firm and glossy. Sieve the cooled almond and sugar mix over the egg whites and fold in gently with a silicone spatula. Add a few drops of orange food colouring and the essence of orange blossom and continue to fold in until the colour is evenly dispersed. 

Transfer the mix to a piping bag and pipe out uniform circles about 4 to 4.5cm across onto a baking tray  lined with baking parchment. Try to create an even number of circles. Let the mix stand for 40 minutes to an hour (or until a crust has formed on the surface) then cook for 10 to 12 minutes at 150ºC.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool. If the shells seem a little stuck to the paper try trickling a tiny bit of water between the tray and the parchment paper, not too much though or the macarons will become soggy.

Assemble the macarons and enjoy your delicious treats, or gift them to a friend... if you can.

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