They are the absolute darling of the patisserie world and you can’t even look at an afternoon tea without the appearance of at least one of these multi-coloured pieces of joy; that’s right I am talking about the beloved macaron. Deliciously chewy, sweet, moreish and elegantly Parisian, what is there not to like? So of course I wanted to create the elusive Paleo macaron.
Now I just want to set something straight at the start; macarons and macaroons are not the same thing. Far from it. A macaroon, is a much chunkier coconut treat usually shaped as a small coconut peak and often drizzled with chocolate. Despite the similarity in name it could not be much further from the elegant patisserie feel of the macaron. That is not to say I don’t have a soft spot for macaroons. They are a childhood favourite of mine and I will be looking to create a Paleo friendly version of them soon. Now let’s get back to macarons…
Quite simply you cannot blag macarons and a Paleo macaron is no exception. This is very much pastry chef territory and with that comes the need for precision and an eye for detail; not to mention the patience of a saint and the ability to understand the science of making desserts. Having said that please do not be put off as us mere mortals do stand a chance; you just need to have precise measurement, all the necessary tools, and a calm clear space in which to work. Plus a little trial and error may also be on the cards but that is half the fun of learning and creating in the kitchen and it is worth it to perfect the Paleo macaron!
Apart from the sugar, macarons are almost the perfect Paleo confection. With ground almonds and egg whites as the main ingredients the traditional recipe only needs a slight tweak to make them Paleo friendly; in this instance the tweak is coconut sugar. To provide a finer texture the coconut sugar is blitzed up in a food processor to form something akin to icing sugar. Freeze dried raspberry powder, which is readily available online and in some health food stores, is a gorgeous natural source of colour as well as flavour. Although the coconut sugar does a fantastic job as a refined sugar substitute I do need to flag that it will make the macarons darker. Therefore, it is always going to be difficult to achieve the lovely pale pastel colours that you see in patisseries.
What equipment will you need…
There are a few items that you will need in order to do full justice to this recipe. The mains items are; greaseproof paper or a silicone mat, food processor, electric whisk and two piping bags (those cutaway plastic ones are ideal and you don’t really need a nozzle). You will also need plenty of time and maybe a good supply of patience.
Although I have road tested this recipe several times and provided as detailed instructions as I can, the making of a good macaron is in the timing and that relies on an experienced eye. Even if they don’t turn out exactly how you want them to the first time you can guarantee they are still going to be delicious; even if they are not as aesthetically pleasing as you might have liked. On the other hand you may find that you create a perfect batch everytime!
PIN THE RECIPE FOR LATER:
Servings: 50 macarons
- Place the chocolate and butter into a bowl over a pan of slowly boiling water (only need a small amount of water) and stir until melted and you are left with a glossy liquid.
- Leave in the fridge to set. Make sure you don't let it set too hard or you won't be able to pipe.
- Blitz the raspberry, almonds, and 225g of the coconut sugar into a fine powder like icing sugar. Set aside.
- Put the egg whites in a squeaky clean bowl; run a cut lemon around it if you want to make absolutely sure.
- Beat the eggs until they are foamy (hand held or stand mixer does the trick).
- Add a third of the remaining coconut sugar to the whites and continue beating. The mixture will begin to thicken and turn glossy.
- Keep adding the remaining sugar gradually whilst beating until the mixture is thick and glossy, but pliable.
- If the mixture looks glossy, forms peaks, and stays in the bowl when turned upside down then stop beating.
- Gently fold about one third of the meringue into the dry mix. Once combined, fold in another third and then finally the remaining meringue. You should have a glossy batter, not unlike the meringue but now pink.
- Preheat the oven to 150C and fill the piping bag with the mixture.
- Lay a sheet of greaseproof paper or silicone on a shallow baking tray and pipe small even rounds.
- You don't need to move the nozzle end around, just keep it still and squeeze the bag to create perfect rounds.
- Now leave the tray on the worktop for about 60 mins so the mixture can set.
- Once set, bake for roughly 15 minutes. The outside will form a crisp shell that pulls away from the greaseproof and clings to the soft inside part.
- Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely before filling.
- Fill a piping bag with the slightly soft ganache and pipe onto the base of one shell. Sandwich together with another matching shell.
** Make the chocolate ganache several hours in advance so that it has time to set.
*** For best results keep the macarons covered in the fridge for at least 24 hours before eating.
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