This is one in a series of Straight From Your Kitchen DIY Gifts for the upcoming holidays from Seasoned Cookery School and some of its guest chefs.
Beca Lyne-Pirkis is the macaron queen at Seasoned Cookery School, teaching very popular half-day courses to help students master this delicious treat.
Macarons make beautiful gifts, with the colors and flavors easy to change to suit the recipient. These Blackberry Macarons not only taste divine, but look stunning, too.
Be sure to read Beca’s notes before getting started!
- Ensure eggs are room temperature
- Always weight ingredients carefully (this applies to all baking!)
- Don’t be scared when mixing egg whites into ground almonds and icing sugar
- Before you start, ensure everything is ready, including baking sheets with your macaron circles already marked out
- Make sure macaron shells have time to rest and that they have formed a “skin” before baking them
- Only bake one sheet at a time
- Humidity is not your friend when making macarons
- Leave the macaron shells to cool before you try to peel them off the baking parchment
For the Macarons
- 175 grams (1-1/2 cups) confectioners sugar
- 125 grams (1 cup) ground almonds
- 75 grams (1/3 cup) caster sugar (powdered or superfine sugar)
- 3 whites of large eggs
- Pinch salt
- As needed pink food paste (icing)
For the Blackberry Gel
- 250 grams (1.75 cups) blackberries
- 1 teaspoon agar flakes
- As needed lemon juice
- 2-1/2 teaspoons caster sugar (powdered or superfine sugar)
- 1 Heat oven to 130 degrees C (266 degrees F).
- 2 Mark out the rounds for the macarons on the reverse side of silicone paper with a pencil, making each one about 3 centimeters (1.18 inches) in diameter. Line baking tray with silicone paper.
- 3 In food processor, blitz almonds and icing sugar together. Remove any larger bits of almond with a sieve.
- 4 Put egg whites in a mixer with a small pinch of salt. Whisk until frothy. Slowly add the caster sugar a little at a time until the whites are glossy and form firm peaks.
- 5 Just before that stage, add a few drops of food coloring. Add the whisked egg whites to the almond and icing sugar mixture. Mix until combined. The right point is when the mixture falls off a spatula in a ribbon-like consistency.
- 6 Spoon the mixture into piping bag with a small round nozzle, ideally 1 centimeter (0.4 inches). Pipe mixture onto the prepared tray and leave to set for about 15 minutes until a "skin" has formed. Bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes. Leave to cool and then the shells should peel off the paper easily. Leave to cool on a wire rack.
- 1 Put blackberries in food processor and whizz into a purée. To remove all the pips (seeds), sieve into a saucepan. Add sugar to taste, to just take the edge off the sharpness.
- 2 Sprinkle agar flakes over purée and place on the heat without stirring. Once the purée has heated through, stir and keep on the heat for 3-5 minutes.
- 3 Pour blackberry purée into a clingfilm-lined cake tin. Place in the refrigerator to set, about 30 minutes. When set, break the jelly into small pieces and place in food processor. Add a few drops of lemon juice. Blend until smooth. It should have a gel-like consistency. Scrape into a piping bag and keep cool until needed.
- 1 Match up shells and pipe a small quantity of the gel onto half the shells. Sandwich together. Keep chilled in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
- 2 Note: Macarons will keep for up to 3 days in airtight container in the refrigerator, so it's best to make the close to when you'll need them. Alternatively, the shells can be frozen for up to 6 months.