Although I like winter, I can't wait now for the spring to arrive. The other day, I suddenly realised, that it is colder now, then it was around Christmas! And, that is really not fair! Christmas is the real winter for me, so once we move over to February I'm expecting spring to arrive. It's England after all, not a Czech Republic...
So, I thought that regardless to what the thermometer outside says, I can bring spring to my home.
To continue with the 'Spring theme' I decided to bake some Blueberry & Vanilla Macaroons to take to friends house for dinner. It was a great excuse to practice this lovely recipe, ready for my next Macaroon Course. I think, the juicy blueberries are just perfect with the vanilla cream combination and the colour works well too. Macaroons can be sometimes too sweet, so it's nice to add a bit of freshness to them. Other small berries or fruits work well too, but it's not such a good idea to used cut up fruits, because the running juices spoil the filling and macaroon shells. I also like the combination of Raspberry and Dark Chocolate Ganashe Macaroons, which I made few weeks ago.
It can be quite tricky to get the signature frayed edges, but by now I have worked out a method to make them perfect everytime. The trick is to leave them to dry for a minimum of 10 minutes - or longer before baking. The frayed edges were perfect, but one batch was left in the oven for couple of minutes too long and got slightly browner then I would have wanted it to be.
But, they still tasted great and they made the perfect finishing touch to my friend dinner, so no complaints there! And suffice to say, that my cake tin was empty on the journey back!
So, if you fancy making your own Blueberry & Vanilla Macaroons - here is my favourite recipe. Or you can always join us for the next Macaroon Course here.
200g icing sugar
100 ground almonds
120-125g egg whites (about 3 eggs)
Pinch of salt
40g caster sugar (3 tablespoons)
For Blueberry & Vanilla Macaroons you also need: about 300g blueberries and Blueberry jam (or you can make your own one, by simering another 300g of blueberries down to a purre)
A piping bag with 1cm tip
2 baking sheets, lined with non stick baking parchment (if you are unsure about your piping it might help to draw a circles on the baking parchment (use biscuit cutter about 4.5cm wide). Tip the icing sugar and almonds into the bowl and mix until thoroughly combined. You can use food processor or whisk for this.
Tip the egg whites into clean mixing bowl and add the salt. Using electric whisk beat until the eggs hold stiff peak. Continue to whisk at medium speed while adding the caster sugar a teaspoon at a time. Mix well between each addition to ensure that the sugar is thoroughly incorporated before adding the next spoonful. The mixture should be thick, white and glossy.
At this point you should add any food colouring pate you are using. Dip a cocktail stick into the past and stir into the mixture, mixing thoroughly to ensure that the colour is evenly blended.
Using a large metal spoon, fold the ground sugar and almonds mixture into the egg whites. The mixture should be thoroughly incorporated and smooth – this can take up to 1 minute. Fill the piping bag with the mixture and pipe evenly sized rounds – about 5cm across on to prepared baking sheets.
Tap the bottom of the baking sheets sharply, once on the work surface to expel any large air bubbles. You can scatter edible decoration, liquid food colouring etc. onto the unbaked macaroon shells at this stage.
Leave the macaroon for at least 15 minutes and to 1 hour until they have set and formed a dry shell. They should not be sticky or wet when tested with your fingertips. Preheat the oven to 170C (Gas3).
Bake the macaroons on the middle shelf – ideally one sheet at the time, for 10 min. You can open the oven a little bit if you are baking more than one sheet at a time. (the macaroon shells are more dried then baked and the extra steam doesn’t help the process). The tops should be crisp and the bottoms dry. Leave to cool on baking sheet.
125g unsalted butter
250g icing sugar
Flavouring: Vanilla essence
Beat the butter until creamy and pale, Gradually add the sifted icing sugar, beating well until the buttercream is smooth. Add your chosen flavouring and mix well to combine. Use at room temperature.
To assemble your macaroons pipe buttercream on one macaroon shell and arrange about 2-3 blueberries on top (or in between the buttercream). Stick the second shell on top. Put in the fridge for about 30 minutes before serving. The macaroons are perfectly fine for about 3 days when kept in the fridge.