I was going to wait until next week to post these, but I just couldn’t. I’m pretty excited about these little babies! I had the idea to turn the beloved summer dessert Strawberry Shortcake into a macaron quite some time ago, but I was too scared of baking those temperamental little biscuits to try it until now! Perfect macarons are akin to the Holy Grail for an amateur baker, and let me tell you, it took quite a few attempts before I managed to get them right.
Thank goodness for Steph, who not only gave me a great demonstration but also a good dose of moral support and inspiration while brainstorming possible macaron flavour combinations. While my technique is still not quite perfect (I seem to have a habit of under mixing them slightly) I think they’re definitely passable! And even though I’ve made a few successful batches in the last few months, I still do a happy dance in front of the oven when I see that they have feet! Huzzah!
I made these last weekend while I was in Perth, where we have established a little garden that the boy does a smashing job of looking after while I’m not there. The cherry tomatoes and capsicum are going great guns, and you know what happened to the mint. The strawberries have just started to ripen (although unfortunately there were not enough yet to use homegrown in this recipe, maybe next trip!) but they looked so pretty I just had to photograph them.
I was really happy with how they turned out and they were certainly popular with all of the taste testers! I think they would be rather lovely at a high tea or a garden party, don’t you?
Strawberry Shortcake Macarons
Makes about 15 sandwiched macarons
Adapted from Raspberri Cupcakes
• 110g almond meal, dried in a cool oven for 5 minutes and sifted
• 200g icing sugar
• 100g aged eggwhites
• 50g caster sugar
• 1 teaspoon powdered egg whites, optional (available from Essential Ingredient)
For the filling
• Lightly sweetened whipped cream
• Fresh strawberries, hulled and chopped into 1cm cubes
To make the macaron shells, line two baking sheets with baking paper. Place icing sugar in a food processor and pulse to remove any lumps. Stir in almond meal and pulse to combine. Place in a large mixing bowl and set aside. Using an electric mixer, beat eggwhites and egg white powder in a medium bowl until the powder dissolves and it reaches soft peaks. With the mixer on high speed, gradually add sugar and beat until it reaches stiff peaks.
Add meringue to the dry mixture and mix, quickly at first to break down the bubbles in the egg white. You can be quite rough at this point, and then mix carefully as the dry mixture becomes incorporated and it starts to become shiny again. Take care not to overmix, the mixture should flow like lava and a streak of the mixture spread across the surface should disappear after about 30 seconds. Place in a piping bag and pipe rounds 3cm diameter on prepared baking sheets.
Tap against the bench to remove any air bubbles and leave to dry for about half an hour, so that when you press the surface of one gently, it doesn’t break. Preheat the oven to 140-150°C (285-300°F) and bake for 15-20 minutes, depending on the size of your shells. Remove from the oven and cool on the tray for a few minutes. Gently remove from the tray and place on a wire rack to cool completely.
Spoon or pipe whipped cream onto macaron shells, adding ½ teaspoon of chopped strawberries and then sandwich with another shell. Refrigerate overnight in an airtight container to allow the flavours to mature. Serve at room temperature.