I’ve been meaning to make macarons for a long time. I love how delicate and dainty they are, along with their wonderful pop of colour. I’ve only tried macarons once in my life, of which I vaguely remember, so making these for the first time was particularly challenging.
I decided to use a recipe from my new favourite book by Martha Collison that I used to make my grapefruit drizzle cupcakes. The macaron flavour is peach bellini, which consists of peach purée and prosecco buttercream… I know it sounds like heaven!
I adapted the recipe slightly as I couldn’t seem to find fresh peaches, so I used canned peach slices for the purée instead and it still tasted yummy!
I think there was an element of beginners luck as they turned out much better than I anticipated. My macaron-loving friends were very happy to be volunteering as taste testers!
If you haven’t got a sugar thermometer as this recipe suggests, I would definitely recommend getting one. They are so useful when baking, particularly when you’re trying to temper chocolate or make jams and other sauces. I got mine super cheap from Hobbycraft here.
For the macarons
160g ground almonds
180g icing sugar
120g egg white (from around 3 large eggs)
160g caster sugar
Orange gel food colouring
For the peach purée
2 ripe peaches, skinned and sliced/ 1 can peach slices
3 tbsp caster sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
For the prosecco buttercream
75g unsalted butter
150g icing sugar
1 tbsp prosecco
Large circle nozzle
2 Baking trays
Draw 4cm circles on two sheets of baking paper and put them into separate baking trays.
Place the ground almonds and icing sugar into a food processor. I use my nutribullet for this step, you could also try using a blender.
Blitz until the nuts are really finely ground and well mixed into the sugar. This step is really important as it’s the key to smooth, even macarons. Transfer the mixture into a large bowl.
Mix half of the egg white into the almond mixture and stir until a stiff paste forms. Set this aside whilst you make the italian meringue.
Place the caster sugar into a small saucepan with 3 tablespoons of water. Bring to the boil and stir until the sugar has dissolved. When the mixture is clear stop stirring and leave to hear until the syrup reaches 118℃.
Meanwhile, put the remaining egg white into the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a large bowl if using an electric whisk. Make sure your bowl is grease-free, as any droplets of fat can prevent the meringue from turning fluffy and light.
As the syrup is almost 118℃, start whisking the egg on a high speed until it reaches soft peaks and just holds its shape on the whisk.
Take the syrup off the heat as soon as it reaches the correct temperature, and with the whisk on a low speed, slowly pour the syrup into the egg white in a steady stream. Make sure you don’t stop whisking and try to avoid pouring the syrup onto the beaters or it will get messy. I find this a lot easier to use a stand mixer as you don’t have to be doing two things at once!
When you’ve poured in all of the syrup, whisk on a high speed until the mixture has cooled and the bowl is no longer hot to touch. It should look beautifully thick and glossy, like the image below.
Add in the orange gel food colouring a bit at a time until you get a nice peachy colour. I use a toothpick to do this.
Use a spatula to scrape the meringue mixture out of the bowl and into the almond mixture. Fold together carefully until the mixture has incorporated and runs in a thick ribbon from the spatula when held up. Don’t mix too much as you’ll beat the air out of the mix and your macarons will be flat.
Transfer into a piping bag with a 1cm round nozzle and pipe vertically onto the circle templates. If there are any bubbles, pop them with a cocktail stick and smooth the mixture out. Leave to dry for at least 30 minutes as this gives the macarons a thick skin so they can withstand the oven temperature for long enough to rise.
While you are waiting, preheat the oven for 170℃/150℃ fan.
Bake in the centre in the oven, one tray at a time for ten minutes. The shells should not have started to brown, but should be firm and sound hollow when (very) lightly tapped. Leave to cool for a few minutes before taking off the baking parchment.
Whilst your macarons are baking, you can get started with the peach purée. Place the peach slices into the food processor and blend until smooth. Pour the peach purée into a small saucepan and add the sugar and lemon juice. Allow to simmer gently for 5-10 minutes or until the mixture has thickened. This prevents the macarons from going soggy. Pour into a container and refrigerate until needed.
To make the buttercream, cream together the butter, icing sugar and prosecco in a stand mixer with the whisk attachment and leave on a high speed for 5 minutes. The mix should be white and fluffy.
Transfer into a piping bag and refrigerate until needed.
To assemble the macarons, arrange the shells into pairs that are well matched in size and pipe a ring of buttercream onto half of the shells and then fill the centre with a teaspoonful of the peach puree, like in the below photo.
Sandwich together with the remaining macaron shells, being very careful not to crush them as they are very delicate.
Store them on their sides to stop the filling seeping through the bottoms.
You can add extra decor if you like, such as gold leaf or edible paint, sprinkles etc. I liked the elegance of the plain macarons so I left mine as they were.