Mouthwatering Mooreish Macaroooons

The macaron has something of an 'initiation' label attached to it and it had been on my mind lately. Half waking in the middle of the night muttering 'must make macrons ...must make maca.....zzz.zz...z' The other day when I saw them on MasterChef Australia making a tower (!!) of macarons, I thought right that's it -just do it. It felt a bit weird baking yesterday with the intense heat...yes 24 degrees is intense for us Irish! Elder flowers are bursting out all around right now so I decided that one of the fillings would be a kind of elderflower custard and it's partner would be a gooseberry 'jelly'. I also filled some with some lemon curd that I found at the back of the fridge and lastly I made a mint chocolate ganache....this was the winner!

Not bad for my first attempt...!
 To make the elderflower custard;
  • Take 150 mls of cream -add the flowers from 4 blooms of elder flowers -scald the mixture
  • Take two eggs yolks and whisk with about 10gs of caster sugar
  • Slowly pour the scalded milk onto the egg and sugar -whisking ALL THE TIME
  • When combined pass through a sieve to remove the flowers and return to the cooker and stir continuously over a low-med heat until the mixture coats the back of a spoon.  
To make the gooseberry 'jelly';
  • Take 10-15 frozen of fresh gooseberries, put into a pan over a medium heat with a tbsp of caster sugar
  • Simmer and soften, then strain through a sieve
  • Put back on the heat and reduce until you have a thick mixture -allow to cool

To make the chocolate peppermint ganache;
  • In a bowl break 75 gs of dark mint chocolate
  • Take 75 mls of cream -scald it
  • Pour the hot cream onto the chocolate and whisk vigorously until combined
  • Taste and add a few drops of peppermint essence until it is to your liking
  • Allow to cool in fridge

Folding the almonds into the 'meringue'

There are quite a few methods out there but the one I pretty much stuck to was  -In my serach for a recipe Ijust happened upon this lovely blog by AmberLee. The only thing I found that didn't work for me were the cooking times. My first batch cracked and I didn't understand this 'foot' thing that everyone was talking about -when you've piped them out onto a tray allow them to sit quietly, for 45 mins at least.... while they're meditating they form a skin -when they go into the oven this skin stops them from cracking by causing the macaron to 'lift' itself' forming a 'foot' and the air is released out at the 'ankle' of the 'foot' shall we say....! I then sort of used Adriano Zumbos cooking method, to try get over the cracking .... he suggests; oven on at 200'C then when you put the macrons in you turn the oven off for 10 mins, then you turn it up to 155'C for 9/10 mins! Mine were small enough and I found that just switching the oven off from 200'C and leaving them for 8-10 mins worked best -I didn't even need to turn it back up again. It's a matter of trial and error with your own oven I'm afraid -but err on the side of caution and just keep watching them. My second attempt didn't crack but browned (which is not correct) but the third attempt came out best. Phew -I was happy enough for a first time macaron maker!

Fun with food colouring -pretty natural one made from chlorophyll

Meditating macarons -allowing the skin to form!