It’s funny how my macaron obsession has taken a life of its own. Little did I know that when I started my Macaron Chronicles, I would still be adding to this saga three years later.
It wasn’t until I attended his class in Paris that I began to see the complex structure of the Italian meringue, almond and confectioner’s sugar – pretty much the same way Neo saw the Matrix and so this rematch ,which turned out really good.
I immediately hailed the success of this macaron recipe by tweeting that the shell tasted like a “crunchy chocolate souffle”. YUM!
I couldn’t count how many shells I had eaten even before filling the macarons. They were that good and infinitely addictive.
Without much further ado, I now present you, Pierre Hermé’s Macaron au chocolat Amer from his book: Macaron.
300 grams ground almond
300 grams confectioner’s sugar
110 grams egg whites
120 grams unsweetened chocolate (cacao pate, cocoa mass)
4.5 grams carmine red food coloring ( I left this out)
300 grams caster sugar
75 grams water
110 grams egg whites
Chop the pure cocoa mass, and melt in microwave. Combine all ingredients listed in 1). Cook the water and caster sugar to 118C-245F. When the syrup reaches 108C-226F, start whipping the egg whites to stiff peaks. Pour slowly the cooked syrup in a trickle over the meringue. Leave to cool down to 50C-122F and pour the melted pure cocoa mass in; Fold the meringue into the first mixture.
Pipe the macarons onto trays lined with parchment paper, around 1.5 inch, 3.25 cm circles. Bake in a convection oven, vent opened at 160C- 320F for about 14/15 minutes. (I baked mine at 290F for 15 minutes)
Bitter Chocolate Ganache
400 grams heavy cream
360 grams 70% chocolate
40 grams unsweetened chocolate (cacao pate, cocoa mass)
40 grams unsalted butter at room temperature
Chop the chocolate and cut the butter in cubes and leave at room temperature. Bring the cream to a boil and pour over the chocolate gradually, stirring at the center and going wider to incorporate liquid little by little. When the ganache reaches 40C-104F, incorporate the butter.
Assembly of macarons
With a piping bag, fill half of the macaron with a nice dollop of bitter chocolate ganache. Top with another macaron, making sure to assemble 2 shells of the same size.
I have to say this was one of the best tasting macarons I have ever made. Do not be fooled by the mocha- colored shells, PH adds red food coloring to make it darker but I skipped this step. I may be bias because I love chocolate, but the strong but balanced chocolate flavor was undeniable. When I first tasted Pierre Hermé’s chocolate macaron from his Paris shop (which I got for free because I told the guy at the counter I was attending his class) it blew me away with how good it was. This was the same feeling I had as I tasted this one – and that it was made by my own hands – I was so elated. I will not deny that to make Italian Meringue macarons properly you need a strong arm, see my tips and pictures here. The base of my thumb was hurting from holding the bowl scraper by the time I was done.
How would you know if your Italian Meringue macaron was done properly? The shell should be thin and it should not be too sweet.Your tant-pour-tant should be spread evenly into your meringue, when you do not do this you will have a lot of meringue concentrated by itself and when it bakes you get thick shells, your almond mixture gets heavy and sinks to the bottom. It also helps that you add the meringue when it is warm so it dissolves your confectioner’s sugar. When you do proper macaronage, your tant-pour-tant and meringue blends to form a strong matrix, so when it bakes, the meringue is strong enough to hold bits of your tant-pour-tant and you get this cross-section.
The macaron above was cold and straight out of the refrigerator which made it look chalky, but see how full the shell is.
I made two ganaches. The bitter chocolate ganache above was made with Valrhona Chocolate, 70% Guanaja.
I also have vivid memories of Pierre Hermé’s Chuao macaron which had black currant in it. I tracked down the chocolate he used – Amedei. This is a work in progress. I think I’ve almost nailed the recipe for the ganache, I just need to find some black currants to add to it.
I was amazed at how shiny the ganache made with this chocolate was but was not sure if this was because of the black currant syrup.
I’m also wondering if melted chocolate will work with French Meringue? You know what this means: back to the lab …er my kitchen.