Everyone loves a macaron(a macaroon is the coconut one). Once bitten forever smitten I believe. But I thought you must be able to make these savoury and sugar-free. After a bit of research I couldn’t find the scientific reason why you have to add the sugar to meringue to get the desired effect. A crispy outside with gooey middle can’t surely be down just to the sugar. So after a couple of batches and trial and error, I believe these are a great substitute so the sweet ones, excellent starters/ canapes. As you can see from the photos, the resultant macarons look great and taste like normal. I know the purists among you though will complain that they don’t have a perfectly smooth round top. (I followed the same recipe for the white ones above which turned out smooth, so it must be the missing sugar.)I know, I know, I’m working on it. When I find the secret I’ll be back on with an update, in the meantime. Lets just enjoy the excuse to have macarons for canapes and petit fours!!
The flavours above being goats cheese and beetroot, pea and ham, goats cheese and pesto. The meringues are just red as that’s the colouring I had in.
Makes 10-12. Full ones.
2 large egg whites. 70g ground almonds(blitz in a processor so fine as possible) 1/2 teaspoon salt. 1/2 tsp food colouring.
1) Age the egg whites or not to age the egg whites? If you can, at least leave egg whites uncovered for an hour at room temperature. Ideally overnight. This helps dry them out a touch so more protein to moisture ratio=more air/volume incorporated.
2) Whip together with the salt until soft peaks. Add food colouring, and whip to ribbon stage. Fold in the almonds. Put in a piping bag with 1cm nozzle.
3) The texture should run slightly but ultimately hold its shape. Only a slight squeeze to get it out of piping bag. I luckily have a mat from Lakeland which has 1in wide templates. If you don’t do your best to pipe out 22-24 circles.
4) Leave uncovered for an hour. Then bake at 160degree/140c fan for 15 mins. This is all standard the same as any sugar recipe. What I found though is that once removed the meringue went soft almost immediately. The solution therefore, is to bake for at least another hour at 90c. If you can, turn the oven off and leave for another hour or overnight. If not they are fine to be made up with fillings but probably won’t stay crunchy overnight.
For my fillings: Beetroot and Goats Cheese- soft goats cheese plus beetroot vinegar until desired colour.
Pea and Ham: Pea puree plus some shredded ham.
Goats Cheese and Pesto: I’m not going to insult anyone’s intelligence, the fillings are so simple and endless. Just try and think of things that will look visually attractive.