Macaroons and meringues

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What is a macaroon?

It is a small cookie classically made of ground almonds mixed with icing sugar (tant pour tant) and egg white. The macaroon has a thin lace or foot around the base, a crisp, smooth, shiny top and a soft, moist centre. This brightly coloured ‘meringue’ is daintily sandwiched together with gooey fillings. Once filled, allow the macaroons to mature overnight.

Cold method macaroons

Ingredients
   
500g tant pour tant (250g fine ground almonds and 250g icing sugar)
200g castor sugar
200g egg whites
1g food colouring

Method

  1. Place the egg whites into an electric machine mixing bowl.
  2. Whisk the egg whites on high speed for 3 minutes adding the sugar after the 1st minute with 30-second intervals.
  3. Fold in the tant pour tant in two batches – after the first half is added, 1 minute to add the remainder until the mixture has deflated and becomes smooth and glossy.
  4. Pipe into a heavy metal tray and bake at 140°C (pre-heat the oven to 150°C) for 12 – 14 minutes for a 3cm sized macaroon.

Tips from the chef:
Steps to successful classic macaroon shells

To make the macaroon batter use ‘liquefied’ egg whites. Why? The egg whites will liquefy if you put them in the fridge for several days, preferably a week. During this time the egg whites will lose their elasticity, the albumen breaks down and they will be much easier to whisk to soft peaks without the risk of turning ‘grainy’.

Makes about 72 macaroons (144 shells).
Standing time: 30 minutes.
Refrigeration (aging): 24h and 2h before eating.

The filling gives the macaroons their flavour. When they are baked and assembled, the 24h standing time in the fridge is essential.
During that time, the ambient humidity and the moisture of the filling have time to flavour the shells slightly and improve the texture.
The next day they will have the perfect consistency of a macaroon, a little bit crisp and fondant. Take the macaroons out of the fridge two hours before serving – they should not be eaten the day they are made, because they will be too dry. Macaroons can be kept in the refrigerator for 48h, or freeze them.