French Macarons

This afternoon I hosted a class for the Stanford Club of San Francisco called “The Art of Making Macarons” with instructor Namthip Paine. Namthip most recently worked at Luce at the Intercontinental Hotel and Cortez, both of which earned Michelin stars during her tenure. Below is her recipe for making French macarons using the Italian meringue method.

Ingredients

For the Shell
150 g almond flour (can also use hazelnut flour)
150 g powdered sugar
50 g egg whites, fresh at room temperature (1 egg white weighs 30 g)
10 g cocoa powder or green tea powder or coffee powder (optional)
Pinch of food coloring powder

For the Italian Meringue
120 g sugar
40 g water
55 g egg whites, fresh at room temperature
Note: If dividing the recipe to make less, use 55 g of prepared meringue for 1/3 mass, or 80 g for 1/2 mass.

For the Basic Ganache
150 g heavy cream
210 g dark chocolate (or 240 g milk chocolate or 270 g white chocolate)
3/4 tsp. lemon/orange/mint/coffee extract

Preparation

If possible, prepare the ganache a day in advance so the flavor has time to develop. Place cream in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Add chocolate, then extract, stirring until smooth. Let cool slightly before pouring into a piping bag.

To prepare the macaron shells, mix almond four, powdered sugar, cocoa powder (optional), egg whites and food coloring powder until it comes to a thick paste. Cover loosely with plastic wrap.

To make the Italian meringue, whisk egg whites on medium-high speed in a mixer to soft peaks. At the same time, bring sugar and water to 240°F on medium-high heat. Set the mixer on highest speed, gradually pour cooked sugar into soft peaks meringue. Continue whisking for a minute to firm peaks. The temperature should be around 100°F or warm to the touch.

Lighen to the macaron batter with 1/3 of the meringue, then fold in the rest of the meringue.

Pipe into 1″ diameter rounds.

Macarons

Rest for an hour, and then bake at 300°F for 10 to 13 minutes. Let macarons cool completely before removing from the tray.

To vary the ganache:

For Green Tea or Coffee Ganache
150 g heavy cream
10 g unsweetened green tea powder or instant coffee
270 g white chocolate, 34% cocoa (use 240 g milk chocolate for coffee ganache)

Bring cream and green tea or coffee powder to a boil. Remove from heat, whisk in chocolate.

For Hazelnut or Pistachio Ganache
150 g heavy cream
60 g hazelnut or pistachio paste
240 g milk chocolate, 41% cocoa for hazelnut ganache or 270 g white chocolate for pistachio ganache

Bring cream and paste to a boil. Remove from heat, whisk in chocolate.

For Fruit Ganache
150 g heavy cream
30 g strawberry paste (or use 150 g fresh strawberry, then reduce it to 30 g)
270 g white chocolate, 34% cocoa or 240 g milk chocolate, 41% cocoa
10 g liqueur (if using liqueur, reduce 10 g of heavy cream)

Bring cream and flavor to a boil. Remove from heat, whisk in chocolate. Whisk in liqueur, if using. Note, a good fruit paste to use is Frutta Rima.

Ganache

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