Chocolate Praline and Chocolate Passion Fruit Macarons

P1040756So over the last two weeks my house has been overwhelmed by macarons; homemade, shop bought, little and large. I am obviously not complaining about this- surely no sane person would complain?!?!- in fact I felt a little inspired and thought I should feature their deliciousness with some foodies who would equally love them. On my brand spanking new blog, of course! I hadn’t made these little babies in a while, mainly because last time I made them they were not as perfect as I would’ve liked them too be. They we’re a little cracked and they stuck to the grease proof paper; A.K.A the oven was too hot and they were slightly under-baked. I felt rather deflated in my macaron efforts. However, my sister did not complain.

My first batch, which I made last week, were chocolate praline; chocolate shells filled with a nutty pecan cream. They were delicious, crisp on the outside and lovely and chewy in the middle, just as they should be. But…they were in all sorts of shapes and sizes. I tried a bit of freestyle piping, which went down hill a little; I’ll definitely hang fire next time until I’ve done a bit more practising with a stencil. I made another batch on Friday, the delectable chocolate passion fruit macarons. It is perhaps one of my favourite flavours. I followed the same recipe as in the previous batch, but made a passion fruit chocolate ganache which I discovered in my macaron book by Annie Rigg. So the praline ones went down a treat, and then I made the passion fruit macarons in aid of my birthday weekend. And theeeeeeeen, two of my friend who came up to visit bought me more macarons. They certainly know me well!!

P1040751My friend Rhyan bought me a box from Macarons & More, a lovely little shop situated in the Royal Arcade in Norwich, opened by 2010’s Masterchef finalist Tim Kinnaird, and he also bought me a lovely little macaron themed tin (what a good egg!!). I visited Rhyan in Norwich last September, and coincidentally I stumbled across this beautiful little shop on some exciting event day that they were having. The shop was bustling with customers, they were offering limited edition flavours, and there was a glorious window display attracting the eyes of every passer-by. And on top of that, my friend Katherine bought me a beautiful little box from Laduree in Covent Garden. The box itself is almost as beautiful as the macarons… but not quite. So as you can imagine there were macarons coming out of my ears. But again, no way am I complaining. I was in my ruddy element! Now I couldn’t write this post without mentioning my other present off my darling friend Mimi. Though she did not buy me macarons (which was for the best, let’s face it I would’ve fallen into an almond and sugar related food coma) she made me a lovely little hamper filled with deliciousness; homemade honey comb, homemade plum chutney and jars of home roasted peppers. She also filled it with a mini bottle of bubbly, boxes of herby teas and chocolates. Oh, and love of course! Lots and lots of love. BEST BIRTHDAY EVER! Oh she also made me a cake too. If you haven’t already guessed it, shes a foodaholic and dedicated glutton much like myself.

So, less of the digressing and back to the macarons…

Now, I did follow recipes which were not my own with these two bakes, as I find that macarons are two delicate for me to be fiddling around with the ingredients. However, I did use two different macaron recipes and one worked out a lot better than the other. For the chocolate praline macarons I followed a recipe which I found on www.christinamarsigliese.com for double chocolate french macarons. This recipe was the most successful. For my second batch I followed Annie Rigg’s recipe for chocolate passion fruit macarons, but I changed the oven temperature, because no macarons should be baked at 170 degrees (sorry Annie but it’s true!).

Little pretties drying out

Little pretties drying out

So I will include both recipes for you to mull over, as its interesting to consider that the slight changes in measurements do indeed affect the outcome of the macaron- hence why I don’t fiddle with the recipes! However, I will only write out one method as it’s the only way I do it, a formulaic like process which helps you master the perfect macaron.

My army of macaron

My army of macarons

Chocolate Praline Macarons

Ingredients:

  • 4 oz of ground almonds or whole almonds
  • 6.5 oz of icing sugar
  • 5 tsp of cocoa powder
  • 95g of egg whites (about 3 large eggs)
  • 1/8 tsp of salt
  • 1/2 tsp of lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp of caster sugar
  • Praline Cream:
    • 50g of pecans
    • 50g of sugar
    • 1 tbsp of water
    • 125ml of double cream

 

Perfect with a cuppa

Perfect with a cuppa

 

 

 

Chocolate Passion Fruit Macarons

Ingredients:

  • 200g of icing sugar
  • 100g of whole or ground almonds
  • 2 tbsp of cocoa powder
  • 120-125g of egg whites (about 3 large eggs)
  • a pinch of salt
  • 40g (3 tbsp of caster sugar
  • Passion Fruit Ganache:
    • 150g of dark chocolate
    • 150ml of double cream
    • 1 tbsp of light brown sugar
    • a pinch of salt
    • 6 passion fruit

 

 

 

 

 

Method:

  • Preheat the oven at 150 (Fan)/160.
  • Begin by placing the icing sugar, ground almonds and cocoa powder in a food processor. Let it run for a minute or two until the ingredients are completely combined.
  • Tip the egg whites into a spotlessly clean bowl, add the salt (and lemon juice if using) and, using a handheld electric whisk, beat until the egg whites begin to form soft peaks.
  • At this point begin to slowly add the caster sugar and and mix thoroughly between each addition before adding the next spoonful. Whisk until the whites are thick and glossy, with the look of shaving foam.
  • Add the almond, cocoa, icing sugar mixture to the whites. Then gently fold the mixture until it is completely incorporated; it should look like a molten lava and should drop from the spoon. Do not over mix the ingredients!!

    It should look like this...

    It should look like this…

  • Fill the piping bag and pipe the mixture onto baking paprer into small rounds, leaving some room for them to spread a little. Once all the mixture is piped, tap the trays against the work surface 2 times to knock out any large air bubbles.
  • Leave the trays to sit for 30-60 minutes so that the macarons can dry out. When they are ready they should’n’t be tacky or sticky to touch.
  • Bake the macarons a tray at a time on the middle shelf of the oven, for 15 minutes. The tops should be crisp and the bottoms should be dry. Leave to cool and peel off the baking sheet one at a time.
  • For the praline cream filling you need to begin by making the praline. Put the pecans and sugar into a pan and add the water. Cook on a medium heat until the sugar has melted, then increase the heat and cook until the mixture turns to an amber colour. At this point quickly mix in the pecans and pour the mixture onto a greased baking sheet to set (be very speedy with this one!). Once dry and hard break the pecan into pieces and add to a food processor. While the food processor is on whisk up the cream. Combine the praline pieces into the cream and pipe onto the macaron shells.
  • For the passion fruit ganache you need to break up the chocolate and place it in a heat proof bowl. Then heat the cream until boiling and pour over the chocolate. Stir until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is thick and glossy. Halve the passion fruits and scoop out the flesh. Put the flesh into a sieve and, using the back of a tablespoon, press the juice of the passion fruit into a pan. It should amount to 3/4 tablespoons worth. Then place the passion fruit on a medium heat until the mixture halves and forms into gel-like thickness, about 1 tablespoons worth. Mix the passion fruit concentrate into the ganache and leave to thicken. Then pipe onto the shells. Then. Eat. Eat them all!
Chocolate Praline Cream Macaron

Chocolate Praline Cream Macaron

I’ve read that its best to leave the macarons, with their filling in, over night in an air tight container. But I can never contain myself. They taste equally delicious eaten straight away. ENJOY!!

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