Friday, 25 November 2011
Hazelnut macarons with nutella
I love hazelnuts. I do. They are, hands down, my number one nut. And it is my love for these tricky beauties which lead to me, at 11am on a Friday morning, peeling the tough skins off each one individually. I wouldn't do that for pistachios, mind.
But aren't they beautiful? And I've finally figured out the trick to making macarons in my very strange oven - the Italian method. It may be more difficult, yes, and it may require the use of a stand mixer and sugar thermometer, yes, but you can't argue with results. Recipe after the break.
150g egg whites
200g toasted skinned hazelnuts [If you buy a bag of 200g, then skin them and find it comes to a bit less than 200g, then make it up with ground almonds.]
200g icing sugar
200g caster sugar
First of all, prepare your eggs by separating them and keeping them in a container loosely covered in clingfilm in the fridge for around two days.
Whiz the hazelnuts and icing sugar up in a food processor until it's fine and all the pieces of nut are ground up. Most recipes say to sieve the hazelnut mix, but that takes absolutely aaaages, and it doesn't seem to work. Just accept that with hazelnuts it won't be perfectly ground, and move on.
Mix 75g of the egg whites with the hazelnuts and sugar until it's an even paste.
In a medium saucepan, mix the sugar and water and place over a low-medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. During this, in a stand mixer [remember to wipe it down with lemon juice], beat the egg whites to stiff peaks. Heat the sugar syrup to 118C, and pour in a constant stream into the stand mixer, with the beaters on medium speed. Keep beating until the meringue is thick and shiny and cool.
Add a little of the meringue to the hazelnut paste, to loosen it up, folding it in with brisk strokes. Add the rest of the meringue and fold to combine, until the macaron mixture is at a point where a ribbon of mix settles back into the rest of the mix, but be careful not to overmix.
Pipe 2-3cm circles of macaron mix onto baking sheets. I use Lakeland's reusable silicon baking sheets, because I find that all of the macarons come off perfectly. Leave the macarons to dry in the air for at least 20mins, then bake at 160C for 15mins, turning halfway. Leave to cool on the baking sheet and then remove to a rack.
Sandwich together with nutella. Keeping the sandwiched macarons in the fridge for a day will allow the flavours to develop. Remove an hour before serving.