Salted Caramel Macarons

Salted Caramel Macarons

 

When I went to Paris last summer, on top of my list of things to do was to go to Ladureé for tea and macarons. It was fantastic. But then, quite by chance, I stumbled across something much better! Macarons which were not just exquisitely beautiful but full of exotic flavour combinations. Suddenly, Ladureé’s rose macaron paled into insignificance compared to Pierre Hermé’s flavour of the month: pistachio, almond and coriander. Yes, coriander! Well, I just had to try it. I’d never heard of Pierre Hermé before, but then I noticed his macarons in small concessions across the city. When I came back to the UK, I ordered his Macaron book which is simply a pleasure; just reading about the flavour combinations is enough to set off all kinds of cravings! It wasn’t until a year later that I found out there was a fairly new Pierre Hermé boutique which had opened in Covent Garden. That’s what started it, the macaron baking was back! I made these salted caramel ones, always a crowd pleaser and not too complex. I had a little problem with the salted butter as I couldn’t find the type he recommended. The type I used ended up being way too salty, so I used it in the caramel and then used an unsalted butter instead for the 290g part of the recipe. Most macaron recipes call for aged egg white. Simply separate the egg whites from the yolks and leave them for 3 days before using them.

Salted Caramel Macarons (2)

For the Macaron Shells (Makes 72 Macarons) 

300g ground almonds

300g icing sugar

110g aged eggs whites

15g Trablit coffee extract (I used a paste of very concentrated instant coffee, sorry Pierre)

15g egg yellow food colouring (This seemed like a lot, but it did the job) 

300g caster sugar

75g mineral water

110g aged egg whites

 

For the Salted Butter Caramel Cream

300g caster sugar

335g whipping cream

65g lightly salted ‘La Viette’ butter

290g softened ‘La Viette’ butter

For the Macaron Shells

     Sift together the icing sugar and the ground almonds.

     Mix the coffee extract and the food colouring into the first portion of the egg whites. Pour them over the mixture of the ground almonds and icing sugar but do not stir.

     Bring the water and sugar to boil to 118°C. When syrup reaches 115°C, simultaneously start whisking the second portion of egg whites to soft peaks on a medium speed. When the sugar reaches 118°C, pour it over the egg whites. (This is much easier to do if you have a Kitchenaid, or something like it.) Whisk and allow the meringue to cool down to 50°C, then fold it into the sugar- almond mixture. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag with a plain nozzle.

     Pipe rounds of batter about 3.5cm in diameter, spacing them 2 cm apart on baking trays lined with baking parchment or a silicon mat.  Allow the shells to stand for at least 30 minutes until they form a skin.

     Preheat the fan oven to 180°C/ 160°C/ gas mark 4. Bake the macarons for 12 minutes.   

For the Salted Butter Caramel Cream

     Bring the whipping cream to the boil. Tip 50g of the sugar into a large saucepan and allow it to melt then add another 50g sugar and continue four more times.

     Allow syrup to caramelise until it turns a very dark amber colour. Take the pan off the heat and add 65g lightly salted butter, taking care as it may bubble and spit. Stir with a spatula then pour in the cream a little at a time stirring continuously. Put the saucepan back on a low heat and continue heating until the cream reaches 108°C. Pour into a gratin dish and press cling film over the surface. Set aside in the fridge until cool.

     Beat the 290g softened butter for 8 to 10 minutes, add the cooled cream and syrup mixture half at a time. Spoon the salted butter caramel cream into a piping bag with a plain nozzle. Pipe a generous mound of filling onto half the macaron shells. Top with remaining shells.

     Store the macarons for 24 hours in the fridge and bring out 2 hours before serving. 

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