ranked palette knife
Round Piping Nozzle - Wilton 1B
Free-standing mixer- whisk attachment
Baking Tray / Greaseproof Paper
200g (7oz) blanched ground almonds, sieved
200g (7oz) icing sugar
80g (3oz) free range egg whites (about 3 medium eggs)
200g (7oz) caster sugar
100g (4oz) free range egg white (about 3 eggs)
Swiss Meringue Buttercream:
500g (1lb 2oz) caster sugar
250g (9oz) egg white
500g (1lb 2oz) unsalted butter - room temp
- Turn the oven on to 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6. Sieve almonds into a bowl with the icing sugar, and mix until incorporated. With an electric hand whisk or stand alone mixer, mix in the egg white to make a thick, smooth past.
- Divide the mixture into two bowls, and colour with the chosen food coloring – e.g. pink and blue (remember to go slightly darker than you'd like, as the colour will dilute when folded in the white meringue later).
- Pour the caster sugar into a deep roasting dish lined with baking paper and place in the hot oven for 7 minutes until the sugar gets very hot, but does not melt.
- Meanwhile, whisk the egg whites to a stiff peak so they are just ready (not over whisked) when the sugar comes out of the oven.
- Take the sugar out of the oven and turn oven temperature down to 150c. Teaspoon by teaspoon, spoon the hot sugar into the stiff egg whites on top speed. Take your time with this to get the meringue as stiff as possible.
- Continue whisking until the bowl feels cool to the touch (5-10 mins). Divide the meringue mixture into two, and using a wooden spoon, fold the meringue into the two bowls of almond paste being careful not to knock out the lovely air.
- Fill a piping bag with 1B nozzle and pipe out small round mounds (about 2p size) onto parchment paper lined baking trays. Bash the tray against the worktop about 3 times firmly to remove air pockets. Let macarons form a skin (this normally takes about 30 minutes at room temp).
- Bake for around 14-16 minutes. When they come out of the oven, slide the macarons off the tray onto a cool counter to shock them - otherwise, they will stick to the paper when you try to remove them.
While the macaron shells are cooling, start on the Italian meringue buttercream filling.
- Mix together egg whites and sugar in a large metal or glass bowl, over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir until the sugar crystals have dissolved and mixture is warm to touch (to check this, rub it between two fingers).
- Transfer the mixture carefully to the standalone mixer, or a bowl with a handheld electric mixer, and whisk until stiff peaks form. Keep whisking on full speed until the meringue is at room temperature. Add room temp butter to the meringue on full speed in small chunks and keep whisking until the buttercream resembles whipped cream.
- Flavour as you wish! Vanilla is always a safe bet, but there are an abundance of great flavours including lemon curd, melted chocolate, essences, or pistachio paste.
- Sandwich each shell with some buttercream and enjoy!
- Creative baking duo, The Meringue Girls, have partnered with Currys PC World to challenge the nation to try something new in the kitchen with a range of impressive dessert recipes. Visit www.currys.co.uk/baking for all your baking needs.
- For more recipes and sweet treats you can bake this winter, grab the latest copy of Yours.
Unfilled shells can be frozen for up to a month, filled shells can be frozen for up to a week, and filled shells will keep well outside the fridge in a sealed container for 2-3 days
Time: 20 mins