One of my least favorite mistakes to make is the simple ones when baking. Sometimes I find I focus so much energy on executing harder details only to then mess up on the easy aspects of a recipe. Take these macarons for instance—with particular care and precision I weighed my ingredients, finely ground them and sifted them gently. When it came to the eggs, things went south (I’ve never understood this metaphor—I find Florida to be a really nice place). I rushed the whipping and was impatient waiting for a stiff peak and settled for less. Needless to say, my carelessness resulted in a batch tossed into the trash.
I’m trying hard not to link this baking lesson-learned with my life in general, but I can’t help it. I find when I focus great attention on large or complicated issues, I let the small important things get dusty on the back shelf. I don’t like being neglected anymore than anything or one else does, so I’m doing my best on laying everything out on the table and not letting anything fall onto the floor.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve embarked upon the journey of making macarons because it embarrasses me slightly, but I can tell you that challenge is worth the final product. The vast amount of flavors you can create and experiment with runs deep, and there’s something incredibly heartwarming about giving and receiving macarons as a gift.
To see the pastel colored faces of the outer shells peering up at you through a box really fills me with a certain kind of happiness and déjà vu of being back in Paris, eating my first French-Parisian macaron on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées. Far and few things give me as much peace of mind and pleasure as my trip to Paris did, so when I find myself trekking from New York City’s Laduree to out east on the island just for a small taste of a macaron that will bring me back to my happy place in Paris, I decided it was time to re-create that feeling in my kitchen.
I hope these little treats give you something, anything, you may have been searching for.
Pistachio Macarons with Almond Chocolate Ganache
Pistachio Macaron Shell
- 100 grams aged egg whites (approx. 3 eggs. I separated three eggs and left them on counter over night)
- 50 grams granulate sugar
- 50 grams almond meal (I ground slivered peeled almonds)
- 50 grams peeled ground pistachios
- 200 grams confection sugar
- Green food dye paste
- Crushed pistachios to sprinkle on top
-Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Prepare a pastry bag with ½ round tip.
-In a bowl of food processor, combine the confection sugar, almond meal and pistachios and pulse until finely ground.
-Whip the eggs white until glossy, then add granulated sugar and food dye and beat until a stiff peak forms.
-Fold the nut and powdered sugar mixture into the egg whites in three batches. Careful not over mix!
-Fill the pastry bag and pipe out 1 inch circles, about an inch apart from one another. Sprinkle crushed pistachios nut on top, if desired. Let sit out on counter for about 1 hour until the tops of the batter has created a film and doesn’t leave residue on your finger when you lightly touch it.
-Preheat oven to 315 degrees F, and bake for 10-12 minutes. Remove and fill with ganache.
Almond Chocolate Ganache
- 8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
- ¾ cup heavy cream
- 2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 tablespoon butter
Bring the heavy cream just to a boil, and pour over chocolate. Let sit for 5 minutes then stir in butter and almond extract until smooth. The longer it chills to room temperature the firmer it will be and easier to work with when filling your pastry bag to pipe onto the macarons!
Writer Aiyana Edmund and photographer Kaitlyn Ferris are North Fork natives who together explore and adore Long Island’s sights, smells and sounds, usually found at golden hour. They bring an appreciation of local and homegrown ingredients to their recipes and are inspired by the simple things in life, like manual focus and windowsill grown herbs. See more of their recipes at savorysenses.com.