More easter fun with macarons 😀
A sweetly spiced, fruity filling and topped with a lemon icing cross – all the flavours of a hot cross bun in a macaron!
140g ground almonds
140g powdered (confectioner’s) sugar
pinch brown powder food colouring
100g egg white (from approx. 3 large eggs), room temperature, divided 50/50
100g granulated (white) sugar
90ml (6 Tbsp) whole milk
9g (3 1/2 tsp) all-purpose (plain) flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground mace
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger small pinch salt
85g (6 Tbsp) unsalted butter, room temperature
75g (6 Tbsp) granulated (white) sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp raisins, finely chopped
I used spiced ermine frosting in these macs, because it really is a grade A filling, but it’s not GF so for those with dietary restrictions you can either switch the flour for cornstarch in the ermine frosting, or you can opt for buttercream if you prefer. If so, beat 125g (1/2 cup plus 2 tsp) room temperature butter until fluffy, beat in 250g (2 cups unsifted) powdered (confectioner’s) sugar along with the spices and vanilla extract, then fold in the chopped raisins.
60g /1/2 cup unsifted) powdered sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
1 – 2 tsp water
Prepare 2 parchment lined baking sheets. They need to be big enough to hold 30 x 4cm / 1 1/2” diameter shells each.
Mix the ground almonds, powdered sugar and brown food colouring together in a bowl, then grind in a food processor until you have an extra fine texture. You may need to do this in batches, depending on the size of your food processor.
Sift into a large bowl (I use a mesh strainer and push the mixture through with a spatula), putting any bigger pieces of almond back into the food processor to re-grind.
Add 50g egg whites and mix thoroughly into the almond mixture and set aside.
In another bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a balloon whisk attachment, scrupulously clean and free of any oil or egg yolk, beat the other 50g egg whites to stiff peaks.
Meanwhile, put the granulated sugar and water into a small heavy-based saucepan and heat on medium-low to 118°C / 244°F, without stirring.
While whisking constantly on low speed (to avoid splashing hot syrup), slowly add the cooked sugar mixture to the beaten egg whites, pouring it down the inside edge of the bowl. You’ll get a bit of it hardening on the side of the bowl, but that’s okay – just leave it there.
Whisk at high speed until the mixture is cool, about 3 minutes. The mixture should increase in volume and become firm and shiny, and you should get a beak when you lift the whisk.
Scrape the meringue onto the almond mixture and incorporate with a rubber or silicone spatula until you have a homogeneous batter that runs from the spatula in a thick ribbon.
Transfer the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a 7 – 9mm / #10 – #12 plain round tip (this is best done in two batches, so you don’t overfill the bag). Pipe 60 equally sized rounds, about 4cm / 1 1/2”, in staggered rows onto the prepared sheets. Hold the piping bag upright with the tip just above the sheet and pipe without pulling upwards or swirling in circles, so the batter comes out in a round blob around the tip, and give a little sideways flick at the end to break the stream.
Tap the baking sheet firmly on the bench several times to release air bubbles and obtain a smooth surface. If you have any tips sticking up, press them gently down with a damp fingertip.
Leave to rest at room temperature for at least 20 minutes until a slight skin forms. It should be dull, and if you gently touch the top of one of the piped shells, it should be only just tacky.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 150°C / 300°F / Gas Mark 2.
Bake the macarons in the centre of the oven for 18 minutes, one sheet at a time, turning the sheet half-way.
Remove from oven and remove the parchment from the tray with the shells still on it and place on a cooling rack for at least 30 minutes, until completely cool, then remove macaron shells carefully from the parchment.
Whisk flour and spices into milk and place over medium heat in a small saucepan. Heat until thickened, whisking constantly. It should have the consistency of béchamel. Whisk in salt and pour mixture into a small bowl, then cover with plastic wrap pressed to the surface to avoid a skin forming. Set aside to cool completely.
In a mixing bowl or a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add vanilla and mix in well.
With the mixer on medium speed, add the cooled milk mixture one heaped teaspoon at a time until fully incorporated and you have a thick, fluffy frosting.
Fold in the finely chopped raisins.
Using a round piping tip so it doesn’t clog with the raisins, pipe or spoon a generous blob of filling onto the flat side of the half of the shells, top with the remaining shells and press gently until the filling reaches the edges.
Put the powdered sugar into a bowl, add lemon juice and add water a few drops at a time until you have a thick but spreadable consistency. You don’t want it so thin that the crosses will run.
Transfer the mixture to a small piping bag or decorating syringe and pipe crosses onto the tops of the macarons. Allow to set.
Store in an airtight container in the fridge to mature for 24 hours before eating, or at least overnight. Remove from fridge at least half an hour before eating to allow the filling to soften.