Food & DrinkRecipes

Dundon's Kitchen: A real sweet treat for her on the special day

RecipesBy Kevin Dundon
Delicious: Cracking raspberry macarons
Delicious: Cracking raspberry macarons

This week it’s all about Macarons, those delightful bite-sizes meringue biscuits that are sandwiched together with a filling.

What’s so unique about these is the lovely, crunchy exterior that leads into a soft, chewy centre, which is  then filled with ganache, caramel, butter creams, jam or flavoured creams. I’ve added a hint of red powder food colouring for this pink hue, making them the perfect dessert for Mother’s Day. 
 
When making macarons, it’s follow the recipe closely. I’m afraid the egg whites do need to be weighed for perfect results. It’s also important that the sugar syrups reaches the softball stage  (114˚-116˚C). 
 
If you’re not used to handling a piping bag, place it in a tall glass before adding the batter. A piping tip/nib is not required, but if you want to use, use a half-inch one. More often than not, a little tip will be on the top of the piped macaron, so I tap the tray against the work surface to flatten the tip to get a smoother surface.    
 
Macarons can be stored in the fridge for up to one week in an  airtight container. Take them out of the fridge 30 minmutes before serving. 
 
Cracking Raspberry Macarons 
 
Makes approx 8 large or 20 regular macarons
  • 150g ground almonds
  • 150g icing sugar
  • 110g egg white (55g +55g)
  • 1tsp red powder food colouring
  • 170g caster sugar (150g +20g)
  • 50g water 
  • 90g mascarpone
  • 100ml cream
  • 20g icing sugar
  • 80g lemon curd
  • ½ vanilla pod
  • 200g raspberries
  • a few tip of fresh mint leaves
  • golden coated sugar to decorate (optional)
  1. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper. Preheat oven to 140°C/275°F. Sieve the ground almonds and icing sugar into a large bowl. Add 55g of egg white and the food colouring. Stir.     
  2. In a separate bowl, prepare the meringue. In a pan, over a medium heat, heat the caster sugar (150g) and water to a syrup until it reaches the softball stage (114-116°C).    
  3. In a second bowl, whisk together the remaining egg white and 20g of caster sugar until light and frothy. In a steady stream, add the hot syrup. Quickly beat until it becomes silky and cools.
  4. Fold the meringue into the. Work the paste until it is soft enough so that it falls back into a smooth shape when stirred. 
  5. Spoon the paste into a piping bag fitted with a nozzle and pipe in a swirl fashion to get 8cm circles on the baking sheet. 
  6. Bake for 16 to 18 minutes. Open the oven door slightly every four minutes to allow steam to escape. This will keep the exterior from cracking so the finish is smooth. Cool before removing from the baking sheet.
  7. To prepare the mascarpone cream, in a bowl, whip the mascarpone, cream, icing sugar, lemon curd and vanilla seeds until stiffen and fill a piping bag. 
  8. To build the macaron, pipe some mascarpone mousse at the base of a plate and add a few rapberries. Top with a large macaron and decorate further with some extra mascarpone, raspeberries, mint leaves and golden coated sugar. 
  9. Leave to set in the fridge for one to four hours for the texture of the macaron to enhance, then serve.

Berries, Almond and Macaron Tart (Serves 4 - 6)

  • 200g sweet pastry
  • 200g blackcurrant jam
  • 20 macarons (see recipe on the opposite page for cracking raspberry macaron)
  • 200 strawberries, to serve
  • 50g blueberries 
  • 60g butter, softer
  • 60g icing sugar
  • 75g ground almond
  • 1tbsp cornflour
  • 2 eggs
  • 70g mascarpone
  • 140ml cream
  • 20g icing sugar
  • ½ vanilla pod
  • A drop orange extract
  1. First, using a rolling pin, roll out the pastry on a lightly-floured surface. Prepare two 10cm-diameter tart tins or one 20cm-diameter tin by lightly greasing  and dusting with flour the edges.
  2. Lay the pastry and fit around. Spread a layer of blackcurrant jam onto the pastry then place in the fridge to set for 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 160˚C/325˚F/Gas Mark 3.
  4. Prepare the almond mixture. Place the butter, sugar, almonds, cornflour and eggs into a bowl and whisk until the mixture is smooth. Pour the mixture over the prepared pastry and bake in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes, until golden brown on top.
  5. Meanwhile, prepare the mascarpone cream. In a bowl, whip the mascarpone, cream, icing sugar, vanilla seeds and orange extract. Whip until stiffen and fill up in a piping bag. 
  6. When the tarts are baked, remove and leave to cool for one hou. Then brush the top with a thin layer of the jam and alternate by piping walnut-sized swirls of mascarpone cream and macarons. 
  7. Pipe some more mascarpone cream in the centre and decorate with a few berries.