The beauty of working at Craft Gin Club is the range of people from all walks of life and backgrounds...oh, and the gin...
We recently found out that Joe’s mum (Joe works on our membership team) runs The Real Macaron Company, an exciting, artisan bakery, dedicated to creating delicious Parisian-style macarons. There was no question - we obviously had to get her in to make us some yummy macarons for National Macaron day! And boy did she meet the brief!
Inspired by the main botanicals of April's Gin of the Month: Dodd’s exclusive Craft Gin Club Gin, Gaye created the lightest honey and lavender macarons...they actually melt in your mouth!
Honey and lavender macarons
1 medium egg white, or approximately 32g of egg white,
40g icing sugar
40g ground almonds
40g caster sugar
pinch of salt
Yellow gel food colouring
Zest of half a lemon
Food grade lavender flowers
Weigh all of the ingredients carefully, preferably using electronic scales for greater accuracy.
Sieve the icing sugar and almonds into a bowl and gently combine with a metal spoon. Add zest of half lemon to dry ingredients combine well.
Place the egg white, at room temperature, into a clean, stainless steel bowl and add pinch of salt.
Using an electric hand whisk, start on a low speed until frothy and there is no sign of the liquid egg.
Add about half of the caster sugar and whisk again, increasing to high speed once the sugar is incorporated and dissolved.
Whisk until the mixture is holding its shape. Add the remainder of the caster sugar and continue whisking on high speed again, until the mixture is very firm, creamy and shiny and holds its peaks.
Add gel colouring at this stage and whisk into the mixture until fully incorporated. Do not over mix as it is important that the mixture remains stiff and the peaks are maintained.
Now add half of the dry ingredients to the meringue mixture and fold in with a spatula. Add the remainder and fold in, firstly gently and then increasing the speed and energy of mixing, folding and flattening the mixture against the side of the bowl, removing and redistributing some of the air, that you so carefully added in the early stages! Fold and beat until you have a thick, glossy mixture that drops from the spatula in a continuous ribbon and reforms in the bowl.
Transfer this to a piping bag. No need for a nozzle - just cut the tip of the piping bag cleanly with scissors, so that you have a hole of about 1cm.diameter. Pipe small circles – approx 4cm in diameter is a good standard size - onto baking parchment on a sturdy, flat baking tray, or even better onto a macaron silicon mat on a baking tray. If using parchment, use a template of circles drawn on paper and place under the parchment while you pipe. Remember to remove the paper before you put the tray in the oven. Piping can be a bit tricky – pipe from above and finish with a “C”-shaped action, before starting the next one. Don’t over fill the macaron mould, or the circles on the template. The mixture will spread a little as it settles.
Tap the tray firmly on the work surface to bring any air bubbles in the macarons to the surface.
Sprinkle lavender flowers, sparingly, on to top of half of the piped shells.
Bake in fan oven at 140 C for 20 minutes. Tip! - For very pale colours, I would recommend turning the oven down to 130 C after 5mins to prevent browning. Keep an eye on the macarons – it’s OK to open the oven door – say after 10 minutes. They are cooked when they don’t wobble when you gently feel the shell. If in doubt, let them have another minute or two. It may take a couple of goes to find right temperature and timing for your oven.
Once out of the oven, leave the macarons to cool on the baking tray for 15 minutes or more. If they are properly cooked they will come away from the mat or paper very easily and cleanly. Be gentle with them! Tip! - I usually leave them for another half an hour or so before filling them – though that’s not totally necessary.
1 tablespoon of dried food grade lavender petals, tied into a muslin bag ( or empty dry tea bag),
20g castor sugar,
30g white chocolate ( broken or grated),
55 ml double cream,
1 teaspoon of honey,
35g of unsalted butter, softened
Steep the muslin bag of lavender in two tablespoons of double cream, covered in the fridge, overnight.
When ready to make the filling, whisk the remaining cream into the corn flour until smooth. Remove the lavender bag from the cream. Pour the infused cream into a small saucepan and heat gently with the sugar. When simmering whisk into the corn flour mixture until smooth and then return to the heat. Heat and whisk continuously for about 30 seconds until the cream begins to thicken and is smooth and creamy. Using a spatula, blend the broken chocolate into the cream mixture and add the honey. Blend until smooth and creamy.
Allow to cool to about 45 C – pour into a bowl and then add the butter gradually, beating in with an electric hand held mixer. If preferred, this stage can be done in the food processor.
Cover with cling film, placing it directly on the surface of the cream to avoid the formation of a skin
Leave to set in the fridge ( about 2/3 hours).
Pipe the ganache into the centre of one macaron shell and sandwich with a second shell, twisting gently to spread the ganache.
Pop the macarons into the fridge in an airtight container– preferably for 24 hours, - to mature. Enjoy at room temperature. They’ll stay fresh and tasty for up to five days in the fridge.
Flavoursome macaron facts…
The word macaron is derived from the Italian word, “maccherone”, meaning fine dough.
It's believed that the macaron cookie was born in Italy and brought over to France as early as 1533 by Catherine di Medici, a noblewoman from Florence who married the future King of France, Henri II.
The original macarons didn’t contain filling. They were extremely simple cookies made of almond powder, sugar and egg whites.
The average macaron has 70-100 calories. In comparison, the average muffin is 400 calories. That means you can afford to splurge on a few.