These pretty patisseries make the perfect gift. Put them in a box lined with non-stick baking paper and decorate with a lacy paper doily tied with a ribbon.
Preparation time: 40 minutes
Standing time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 20-22 minutes
6oz icing sugar
4.5oz ground almonds
3 large egg whites
3oz caster sugar
A little violet or pink food coloring
3oz blackberries or strawberries
4oz butter at room temperature
5oz icing sugar
Preheat the oven to 275ºF and line 3 baking sheets with non-stick baking paper.
1. Grind the icing sugar and ground almonds to a fine powder in a food processor or liquidizer then press through a sieve.
2. Whisk the egg whites in a large bowl until they form moist peaks then gradually whisk the caster sugar in a little at a time. Whisk for 2 minutes until the mixture is thick and glossy, then whisk in a few drops of violet or pink food coloring.
3. Spoon half the icing sugar and ground almonds into the bowl then gently fold together. Add the remaining mixture and continue folding in until just mixed. Don’t over-fold or the mixture will go runny and be difficult to pipe.
4. Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a large plain tube and pipe 1inch rounds on the paper-lined trays. Give each baking sheet a sharp tap to ensure a good ‘foot’. You should make about 40 rounds. Leave to stand for 20 minutes for the macaroons to dry out.
5. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the macaroons may be lifted easily off the paper. Leave to cool.
6. For the filling, puree the berries until smooth then press through a sieve. Beat the butter and icing sugar together in a food processor until smooth then gradually beat in 2 tbsp of the fruit puree. Use to sandwich the macaroons together in pairs. Arrange on a serving plate or in a pretty box.
Once filled the macaroons are best eaten within 24 hours. Plain macaroons can be kept for 2-3 days in a cool dry place covered with extra non-stick baking paper, and the filling in a covered container in the fridge. You might also like to flavour the macaroons with ½ tsp of raspberry, lemon or peppermint extract when adding the colouring to the meringue.