The macaroon- revisted

I posted recently about a day I spent with Poh Ling Yeow, which was a lot of fun, and special to me because I was an avid Masterchef fan prior to being on the show myself. After posting a photo of some delicious macaroons (or is it macaron? I think in France it is macaron and Australia macaroon) I have had lots of macaroon related questions. So I’m hoping to more or less try and solve the problems of any macaroon makers out there who might be having a few issues.

In terms of recipe, I have found the one I used in London to be quite a good one, so you can access that at http://www.masterchef.com.au/violet-macaroons-with-raspberries-and-butter-cream.htm . My housemate tried to make some recently, and while he followed the recipe carefully, he didn’t knock enough air out of the mixture, leaving his macaroons merengue-like and hollow. Another common mistake is not leaving the piped macaroons long enough before baking- they need to form a skin on top in order to pop in the oven and get the ‘foot’

This is your chance to fire questions at me and I will try and answer as many as I can!

Once you have mastered the basic recipe, you can try making all sorts of flavours. To flavour the biscuit itself, simply add a flavouring to the eggwhites in the recipe once they are at stiff peaks. Flavour essences are good as you can add lots of flavour with only a few drops. Some macaroon makers only flavour the filling and change the colour of the macaroon itself, as they say the flavour is muted by the cooking process. I made some strawberry macaroons which turned out quite well, I don’t think I have ever used so much food colouring in my life!

In terms of varying the filling, there’s many variations:

  • butter icing (approx 2- 3 parts icing sugar to 1 part softened butter beaten together until fluffy)
  • ganache (175g  chopped white chocolate, heat 100ml cream then pour over chocolate, then stir in 60g butter. Or use dark chocolate for chocolate macaroons)
  • fruit mousse (the recipe i used for raspberry mousse above can be adapted for other fruit puree’s)
  • butter cream- my personal favourite as it’s not quite so sweet and works well with the sweetness of the macaroon. This is Adriano Zumbo’s recipe for a basic buttercream

200g caster sugar
75g water
150g eggs
90g egg yolks
400g butter, softened

add the sugar and water to a saucepan and bring to the boil, cooking until it reaches 118°C. Using an electric mixer, mix the eggs and egg yolks in a large bowl until combined. With the mixer running on medium speed, pour over the sugar syrup and continue to beat until 50°C. Carefully and slowly add the butter

Pick one of the base recipes above and flavour it how you wish!

I would love to hear your suggestions for some crazy flavours, obviously you can have the classics (chocolate, pistachio etc) but I ate a truffle macaroon recently and it was amazing!

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34 responses to this post.

  1. My food dream: to master the macaron!

    Reply

  2. You little beauty! The illustrious macaron has arrived. Yes, macaron, Preston almost lost his pants when he was talking about it! Nice post matey!

    I’m working on a creme caramel post as we speak

    See you soon

    Reply

  3. Yes I do believe it’s ‘macaron’. 🙂

    Aside from that, those red ones above look fantastic.

    Funny enough, I saw some basic macarons for the first time in a store about a year ago, priced at about $5 each. Seemed ridiculous, but it really does seem to be quite an art to master them.

    I’d actually like to try Zumbo’s kalamata olive ones, I’ve always had a thing for olives.

    Reply

  4. macaron describes the specific biscuit you’re making (french/italian meringue biscuits), and macaroon is a dessert biscuit in general. I don’t know if they needed to be that bright! Macarons are usually a pastel colour – well all the ones I’ve seen!

    Reply

    • Thanks for the clarification Monnie. I’ll be honest- I got a little carried away with the food colouring. Having said that, I do love Adriano Zumbo’s style of pastries and how they are generally brightly coloured. It reminds me of Willy Wonka!

      Reply

  5. Great work mate. This is certainly “The Return of the Mac”.

    Reply

  6. Posted by Anna on August 12, 2010 at 8:02 am

    Yeeew! just tried the violet macaroons recipe with ur suggestions and it worked a treat. Thanks heaps Callum, I’ve never been so proud of my procrasti-baking!

    btw, was walking around the city today (I live in Adelaide) and my friend and I thought we saw you near the boost juice in djs. As a result, we walked up rather excitedly, tapped “you” on the shoulder to offer congratulations, and quickly realised when “you” turned around that it was certainly not you. =S Needless to say, we walked away rather quickly after that. Ah well, thanks again for the help with the macaroons!

    Reply

    • Hi anna, I’m glad I was of some help! How funny, unlucky timing, I was at boost in DJs yesterday!

      Reply

      • Posted by Anna on August 15, 2010 at 3:47 am

        mate, that is devestating! teaches me to skip a day of uni I suppose, lol. Ah well, chances are I probably won’t run into you before you move to Melbourne-town – so good luck with everything you do over there & whatever you do in the future! =)

  7. I’ve always called them “Macaroons” so when I first saw “Macaron” written, I thought it was a typo! =) I’ve seen macaroons in my cookbook but have never endeavoured to try cooking them… I wasn’t exactly sure how they were prepared to eat, as they look a bit plain…

    But this is coming from a daft person who’s only claim to fame is to be an avid masterchef fan and can cook chocolate chip biscuits. =P

    Reply

  8. Posted by Alex on August 12, 2010 at 8:30 am

    Hey Callum! We just finished making a batch of lavender macaroons with hazelnut and butter cream (following the base from your wise words of course), it turned out really good, except after eating all that, we’re pretty sure we’re now waiting for the onset of diabetes….
    Anyway, we are really excited for you to come down to Melbourne, the best city in the world, where you can experience all four seasons in the one day as well as meet lots of friendly new people! Hopefully, we will get to meet you and say hi when we come down to dine at the Press Club?

    Love Alex

    Reply

  9. Posted by kerry on August 13, 2010 at 3:58 am

    I recently went to the Willunga Farmers Market, SA & bought homemade chocolate macaroons for the first time. They were to die for! (Sweettart by Tracey Bishop) I was on a wine tour & promptly bought another 10 macarrons for everyone in the van to enjoy a bit later in the day. I cant believe at my age I have only just tried my first macaroon. Our driver took us to Moana beach last part of wine tour & we all ate our macaroons on the beach. Couldnt get more perfect than that. Might attempt to make some when im next on holidays.

    Reply

  10. Posted by Laurel on August 13, 2010 at 9:01 am

    Hi Callum I’m going to try out your recipe tomorrow! Just wondering, you know how you said your housemate didn’t knock enough air out of the mixture, what’s the best way to do that to make sure most of the air is out? Thanks! Hope to hear back from you soon

    Reply

    • Hi Laurel. It’s a bit of a fine line as you still need a fair bit of air in the mix. You initially want as much air as possible when whisking the egg whites, and when folding with the icing sugar and almond meal, you should be gentle until it is all combined. Once the mixture is combined, I like to put some in a piping bag and pipe it onto the tray. If the mixture has a massive peak on top, and holds it’s shape as a little cone rather than oozing into more of a disc shape, then some more air needs to be knocked out. You do this by more or less beating the mixture with a spatula. You don’t want to over do this though, or the macaroons will spread on the tray when piping and form irregular shapes rather than nice little circles. If this happens, it’s too late, so err on the side of caution. So i think the best method is to beat a little bit, then pipe a couple and repeat until you are happy with the result.

      Reply

  11. Posted by Sonia on August 14, 2010 at 5:57 am

    Is there such thing as a white chocolate macaroon? I love white chocolate, and chocolate macaroons are delicious so i’m assuming a white chocolate macaroon would taste awesome too!
    But I think I’ll try this one first. 🙂

    Btw, Congrats on all the success Callum! You are so amazing!

    Reply

    • Thanks Sonia, I haven’t seen a white chocolate macaroon, but that’s not to say they don’t exist or you can’t give them a go! I would suggest making a fairly neutral macaroon such as vanilla, and then make a white chocolate ganache to sandwich the two halves together.

      Reply

  12. Posted by Tatiana on August 15, 2010 at 12:54 am

    Hi Callum,

    Lucky I waited to make your Almond Macaroons on the Masterchef magazine (issue 4).
    I will try to ‘knock’ just enough air out of the mixture and let you know how they turned out.

    Thanks

    Reply

  13. Posted by Cindy on August 15, 2010 at 6:24 pm

    Hi Callum, congrats on the final of Masterchef you were great!! Great to see you will have a very good future, we were baracking for you all the way

    Anyway I noticed that you said you were comming to Newcastle in September. What will you be doing up here, we would love to come along and say hi!!

    Reply

    • Hi Cindy, thankyou, Adam and I are going to be cooking in Coles in Newcastle on the 27th August (sorry i had the wrong date and said september). Come say hi if you don’t live too far away!

      Reply

  14. Hello Callum, I’m glad to have found your blog, you make such delicious looking deserts (especially macaron!) and I can’t wait to see what’s next!

    I’m definitely going to try this recipe tomorrow and hope for the best. I wonder though if there would be a way of making a banana macaroon?

    Reply

    • Thanks Fara, I hope the recipe works for you. I don’t know how you would go about flavouring the macaroon itself with fresh banana, so you may have to use a flavour essence. I would recommend making a neutral flavoured macaroon, colouring it yellow, and then fill it with some sort of fresh banana filling if that’s what you’re after.

      Reply

  15. Ah macarons… Aren’t they just wonderful? Yet they can be a pain to master sometimes. I’m still experimenting with mine but I love when they turn out. The latest batch I made was chocolate with cocoa nibs and macadamia nut spread – divine! The macarons that you made for that London challenge was absolutely stunning!

    Reply

  16. Posted by Nellie on August 21, 2010 at 2:17 am

    Hey Callum!! Wow, I think it’s fair to say that you’re the ‘macaron’ king!

    I was wondering, if you’re making macarons, do they have to be the biscuit size, or can you make really big ones? You reckon a macaron cake will work?

    Hope all is going well for ya – great to see you following your dream! Hope you open a restaurant soon!
    AND, when you’re in Melbourne and if you have time, visit Cafe Armenia! It’s a really nice traditional Armenian restaurant, they have some great flavours! =D

    Reply

    • Hi Nellie. Thanks, I’ll check it out when I’m in Melbourne. In the competition we made an Adriano Zumbo 8 layered vanilla cake, and one of the layers was a giant macaron. So yes, you can make a large macaron, but it will still be the height of a small macaron, hence why it was only a relatively thin layer in the cake.

      Reply

  17. Posted by Rachel on August 25, 2010 at 11:41 am

    What about an Cinnamon Macaron. Would that work? With an apple mousse?

    Reply

  18. hi! callum! first of i’m like a huge fan of you and your yumilicious food especially macaroons! since i live in Melbourne! i would love to come and say hi1

    Asmeth

    Reply

  19. Posted by Jen on November 24, 2010 at 5:25 pm

    Hey Callum – I just made this receipe thank you for the tips! They turned out perfectly 🙂
    Masterchef Australia 2010 is still airing in Ireland – we haven’t see the end 🙂 Currently you are all cooking for 100 soliders in the team challenge.
    Great blog!

    Reply

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