Pineapple and coconut macarons
My version of a piña colada cocktail in a macaron: coconut and almond shells filled with a fresh pineapple, lime ganache - with an optional splash of rum!
- For the shells:
- 75g ground almonds
- 75g desiccated coconut
- 150g icing sugar
- 135g caster sugar
- 105g egg whites at room temperature yellow
- few drops of yellow food colouring (gel-based rather than water-based)
- 200g white chocolate
- chopped into smallish chunks
- 100g pineapple
- juice of 1 lime
- 60g unsalted butter
- splash of rum
- desiccated coconut
Level of difficulty Difficult
Preparation time 30mins
Cooking time 12mins
Cost Average budget
(1) Put the coconut into a food processor and pulse until powdery - this might take a minute or two. Add the icing sugar and almonds to the food processor and pulse for about 10 seconds until perfectly uniform. Sift into a large bowl and discard any larger lumps.
(2) In a clean, dry bowl whisk the egg whites and the caster sugar until you get a thick, glossy meringue. With a hand whisk this usually take me about 10 minutes. The meringue should have firm peaks so when you lift the whisk out of it, the peak holds its shape and does not curl over.
(3) Add the meringue to the dry mixture, along with a few drops of food colouring, and stir together gently, patting down the meringue into the dry mixture against the side of the bowl as you go, stopping as soon as most of dry mixture is no longer visible. The mixture will be fairly stiff at this point.
(4) Continue to fold the mixture together gently until the mixture starts to loosen up. This is a critical part of the process – you don’t want to over-loosen it: it is ready when you lift up the spatula and the mixture on the spatula slowly drops back into the bowl, leaving a trace on the surface. This trace should gently merge back into the mixture, disappearing within about 30 seconds.
(5) Put non-stick greaseproof paper/parchment onto solid baking trays. Pipe the required size of macarons onto the paper and add a light sprinkling of coconut to the top of each.
(6) Lift each baking sheet a few inches off the work surface and drop this flat onto the work surface several times.
(7) Leave the macarons to rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes or until a very thin skin forms on the surface. During this time preheat the oven to 160°C (320°F). I find the macarons bake best with the fan on.
(8) Bake the macarons for 6 minutes. Turn the trays around after this time and turn the temperature down to 150°C (300°F). Bake for a further 6-7 minutes Remove from the oven and leave to cool on the trays before removing carefully.
(9) For the fruit filling, melt the chocolate chips over a pan of hot water or very gently in the microwave. Stir in the butter until it has melted and mix in the pureed pineapple and the lime juice. Leave in the fridge until the mixture has set to piping consistency. Pipe the filling over half of the macaron shells and sandwich together gently with the other half.
Step 1 tip: you need to blitz the coconut, almonds and icing sugar to get as smooth a texture on the shells as possible.
Step 2 tips: use eggs at room temperature and weigh the whites: the accuracy with the measurement is especially crucial with macarons.
Step 3 tip: pat down the mixture against the side of the bowl to get rid of some of the air and combine this with stirring just until the dry mixture has been taken up by the meringue. It will feel quite stiff at this point.
Step 4 tips: A critical part of the whole process: fold and stir lightly until the mixture turns from a stiff mass to a softer mass. Lift the spatula above the bowl every few folds and let the mixture drop back into the bowl: if it dissolves back into the main mixture within about half a minute it is ready. If not, a few more folds and stirs are needed. Do not over-mix this stage: if it becomes too runny, the macarons will spread too much and are prone to cracking when they bake.
Step 5 tips: make sure the greaseproof is non-stick. You can use templates of circles placed under the greaseproof to help get uniform sizes.
Step 6 tips: another crucial stage, rapping or dropping the trays helps the air bubbles pop; too many of these can result in hollow or cracked macarons. Pop any other bubbles that might form on the surface with a toothpick or point of a sharp knife.
Step 7 tips: resting is essential for allowing a thin skin to form on the surface. Lightly touch the surface of one: if it is no longer sticky then there is enough of a skin. Without the skin you are less likely to get the sought-after feet that form during baking. Usually no more than an hour is enough.
Step 8 tips: after 6 minutes you should be able to see the feet forming. And rotate the tray for even cooking (even in a fan oven!). Opening the oven door also allows some of the steam to escape - an excess of steam is bad news for macarons!
Leaving the macarons to cool on the tray ensures a thin base crust and they are macarons are easier to peel off the greaseproof when they have cooled.
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