Pistachio, Lime & White Chocolate Macarons (Italian Method)
Hello and welcome to macaron madness round two! If you've been keeping up with my Instagram lately you will know that I recently embarked on a couple of weeks of macaron making. Four attempts later - two successful attempts, one sort-of-successful-but-not-quite-right attempt, and one absolute disaster - and I think I'm done with making macarons for at least a little while. However, I thought I would share with you the fruits of my labour from my two successful attempts.
My first successful attempt were my Pink Peppermint & White Chocolate Macarons, which I posted the recipe for a couple of weeks ago. My second successful attempt were these Pistachio, Lime & White Chocolate Macarons, which I'm posting the recipe for here. And I have to tell you, I am SUPER PROUD of these ones.
For this recipe I used the Italian meringue method. This involves drizzling boiling sugar syrup carefully into egg whites as they are being beaten, to create a thick, marshmallowy meringue, before adding ground almonds, icing sugar, colours and flavourings. Making the meringue this way creates a more stable meringue than French and Swiss methods, leading to (hopefully) more consistent results with your macarons. I can't guarantee that your macarons will come out perfect every time using the Italian method, but from my experience I can tell you that my whole batch came out looking exactly the same. I sadly did not manage to achieve this using the Swiss method.
Utensils: Small saucepan, small heatproof bowl, spatula, zester or grater, sieve, handheld whisk, variety of small bowls, clean kitchen towel, kitchen thermometer, large mixing bowl, wooden spoon, food processor or grinder, electric stand mixer with whisk and paddle attachments, 3 baking sheets lined with non-stick baking paper, pencil, small circular object 3-5cm in diameter to draw circles with, large and small piping bags, round piping tip, cooling rack.
Top Tip: Macarons are fickle things and can be affected by a lot of factors so try not to be disheartened if they don't come out quite as you hoped on your first, second, third or even fourth attempt. Do some reading, try out different recipes and methods and most importantly, be organised and do not rush! Trial and error (and a little patience) is key. I gained my best results using the Italian meringue method, however if you're a little unsure of pouring boiling sugar syrup into egg whites or you don't have a kitchen thermometer, I recommend starting off with the Swiss method.
70g caster sugar
30g unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
Juice of 3 limes
Zest of 2 limes
3 medium egg yolks, at room temperature
Green gel food colouring
100g pistachios, shelled
60g caster sugar
40g ground almonds
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
For the almond paste:
175g ground almonds
175g icing sugar
65g egg whites, at room temperature
Green gel food colouring
For the Italian meringue:
175g caster sugar
65g egg whites, at room temperature
White Chocolate Ganache
100ml double cream
250g good quality white chocolate, finely chopped
25g good quality white chocolate, melted
Small handful of pistachios, finely chopped or ground
Small handful of freeze-dried raspberry powder
Makes: Approx. 20 - 30 macarons, depending on what size you make them.
1. Make the lime curd: Combine the sugar, butter, and lime juice in a small heatproof bowl set over a small saucepan with 1 inch of water in it. Place the lime zest in a separate small bowl and set to one side. Over a low heat, melt the butter into the sugar and lime juice. In a separate bowl or jug, whisk together the egg yolks.
2. Once the mixture has melted, combine a few spoonfuls with the egg yolks and whisk to combine. This helps to warm the egg yolks up so they are less likely to curdle when you begin to heat them. Then, pour the egg yolk mixture back into the heatproof bowl set over the saucepan and whisk constantly until it has visibly thickened (this could take 15-20 minutes). Once thickened, pour the curd through a sieve into a small bowl, then add the lime zest and green gel food colouring as desired, and stir. Cover with clingfilm and once cold, refrigerate until required.
3. Make the pistachio paste: Place about 3 inches of water in a small saucepan and bring to the boil over a medium heat. Add the shelled pistachios to the saucepan and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and strain the pistachios. Using a clean, dry kitchen towel, rub the pistachios to remove the skins. Once all the skins have been removed, place the pistachios in a large mixing bowl.
4. In a small saucepan, combine the caster sugar with 1 tablespoon of water and stir to combine. Over a medium heat, bring the sugar syrup to a boil until it reaches 120°C on a thermometer. Do not stir the sugar when it is heating as it may crystallise, instead gently swirl the pan to ensure the sugar doesn't burn.
5. Pour the sugar syrup onto the pistachios and mix quickly and firmly using a wooden spoon until all of the pistachios are covered in sugar (the sugar will crystallise at this point so it will take a bit of muscle power to keep mixing until all of the pistachios are coated). Once cool, place the sugared pistachios in the bowl of a food processor with the ground almonds and almond extract. Grind to a smooth paste. You may need to add a few spoonfuls of water as you grind, but do this slowly so you don't end up with a watery paste. Once you have a smooth, thick paste with a similar consistency to chocolate spread, transfer to a small bowl, cover with cling film and set to one side.
6. Get prepped: Line 3 baking sheets with non-stick baking paper and pre-heat the oven to 130°C fan. On a separate piece of baking paper which is slightly smaller on all sides than the paper lining the baking sheets, draw yourself a macaron size guide sheet (or you could print one off, as there's plenty of guides online). Depending on what size you'd like your macarons to be, draw circles 3-5cm in diameter, leaving a 2cm gap between each circle (I made my macarons 5cm in diameter). Making your size guide smaller than the paper lining the baking sheets means that you will be able to stick down the larger baking paper on each corner, so that the paper doesn't move when you pipe the macarons, before pulling the size guide out from underneath to place under the next piece of baking paper.
7. Macarons - make the almond paste: Combine the ground almonds and icing sugar in the bowl of a food processor and grind to a fine powder (don't over-process though as the oils will start to form a paste). Pass the fine powder through a sieve into a large mixing bowl. Add 65g of egg whites to the bowl and mix with a wooden spoon until a stiff paste has formed. Add green food colouring and 1 heaped tablespoon of the pistachio paste and stir until the colour is mixed evenly. You'll want the paste to be quite brightly coloured, as the colour will be diluted by the meringue when you add it.
8. Macarons - make the Italian meringue: Place the caster sugar and 75ml water in a small saucepan and stir. Place 65g of egg whites in the bowl of an electric stand mixer. Heat the sugar syrup over a medium-high heat, swirling the pan (not stirring) lightly to ensure the sugar doesn't burn. Once the sugar syrup reaches 110°C, start whisking the egg whites on a medium speed.
9. Once the temperature has reached 114°C, at this point the eggs should be frothy, trickle the syrup down the side of the mixer bowl into the egg whites, turning the mixer up to high. Then beat at full speed for 3-5 minutes, until you have a glossy and whipped Italian meringue that holds its shape. Once the meringue reaches stiff peaks, stop beating.
10. Time to macaronage: Add a third of the meringue to the bowl with the paste and mix well with a wooden spoon. With a spatula, fold another third of the meringue gently into the paste, then fold the final third in extremely gently. It's really important at this point to make sure that your macaron batter has the right consistency before piping. Both under-folding and over-folding can ruin the batter. I recommend watching THIS VIDEO to understand what your batter needs to look like. The batter needs to move slowly but flow off the spatula and pass the figure of eight test (the video demonstrates this).
11. Get piping: Once your batter is the correct consistency, scoop it into a large piping bag fitted with a round piping tip. Prepare your first baking sheet by placing your macaron guide underneath the baking paper lining the sheet. Use a little macaron batter to stick the baking paper down at each corner so that it doesn't move around as you pipe. Then, pipe circles of macaron batter onto the baking paper just a little smaller than your macaron guide circles. The batter will spread. Pull your macaron guide sheet out from underneath the baking paper and place under the next sheet. Continue piping until your trays are filled.
12. Bake: Firmly bang each baking sheet on the kitchen worktop two times to remove any air bubbles. Place the first sheet of macarons on the middle shelf of a pre-heated oven for 14-15 minutes if your macarons are 5cm in diameter (if smaller, try 11-12 minutes). Open the oven to release steam and turn the baking sheet around halfway through to ensure an even bake. If your macarons begin to brown, turn down your oven a little or place a baking sheet on the shelf above to protect the macarons from the heat. When checking if the macarons are ready, put your finger on one of the macarons. It should have developed 'feet' and be firm to the touch with the slightest amount of give. If it wobbles, the macarons require another minute or two.
13. Once baked, remove from the oven and leave to cool on the baking tray on a cooling rack. Repeat the baking process with your remaining sheets of macarons. Once all of the macarons are baked and cooled, store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place until you are ready to fill them.
14. Make the lime and white chocolate ganache: Place the chopped white chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Heat the double cream in a small saucepan over a low-medium heat, stirring constantly until the cream just reaches boiling point. Remove the cream from the heat and set to one side to cool for a minute before pouring over the chopped white chocolate. Leave the cream to start melting the chocolate for a minute before stirring the mixture with a spatula. If the mixture is a little lumpy, heat the ganache in the microwave in 5 second bursts, stirring regularly until of all the chocolate has melted.
15. Once the ganache is cool, transfer it to the bowl of stand mixer and beat in the lime curd using the paddle attachment. Once combined, scoop the ganache into a piping bag fitted with a round piping tip, and place in the fridge to harden (about 20 minutes).
16. Fill the macarons: Once the ganache is hard enough, pipe the ganache onto one macaron. On another macaron, spread a small amount of pistachio paste and then sandwich the two together. Repeat with all macarons.
17. Decorate: Melt the white chocolate and transfer to a small piping bag. Cut the end off the piping bag so that you have a very small hole. On the left side of the top macaron, quickly pipe 3-4 stripes of white chocolate using a back-and-forth motion (this doesn't need to be neat). Sprinkle a pinch of pistachio and freeze-dried raspberry over the white chocolate as it is drying. Leave to dry fully before packing the macarons away for storage.
18. Give yourself a tremendous pat on the back because you have MADE IT to the end of this recipe!
Storage: Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.