Vegetarian recipe ideas
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Put the icing sugar and ground almonds into a food processor, and pulse a few times until the almonds are very fine. Sift into a mixing bowl, discarding any large crumbs. Stir in 1 egg white to form a paste.
If you want the macarons to be different colours, weigh the almond mixture and divide into three bowls. Add a few drops of different food colouring to each bowl until you have a dark pastel shade, then mix well.
Use a silicon macaron mat with indents to line a baking sheet, or use a 3½cm round object to draw circles, 2cm apart, on a large piece of baking paper. Flip over the paper, making sure you can still see the outlines, and use it to line a flat baking sheet.
Whip the remaining 2 egg whites and half the caster sugar in a stand mixer with the whisk attachment until peaks start to form. Add the remaining sugar, a spoonful at a time, with the motor still running, until you get very stiff peaks.
Use a spatula to fold a third of the meringue mixture into each bowl – the mixture will sink as you fold it in, so carefully fold with a slicing action to keep in as much air as possible. The mixture should gently flow from the spatula and look smooth and shiny – it shouldn’t leave peaks when the spatula is removed. Transfer the mixtures to three piping bags with 5mm plain nozzles.
If you’re using baking paper, dab the corners with the macaron mixture to help it stick to the tray, then pipe on rounds of the mixture – use your macaron mat or the template as a guide to make sure they’re all the same size. Tap the tray on a worksurface to release any air bubbles. Leave to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes, so the macarons form a skin, which will help set their iconic shape.
Heat the oven to 160C/fan 140C/gas 3. Bake the macarons for 12-15 minutes or until they’re crisp but not taking on any colour. Slide the baking paper or mat from the hot tray and leave on a cool worksurface. Allow the macarons to cool completely before gently peeling them away from the mat or paper.
To make the ganache, break the chocolate into chunks in a bowl. Heat the cream in a small pan until just steaming, then pour it over the chocolate. Leave for a few seconds, then stir until smooth and the chocolate has melted.
Stir in the butter, then chill in the fridge until it has slightly thickened to a buttercream consistency.
Transfer the ganache to a piping bag with a small nozzle and pipe some onto the base of one of the macarons. Sandwich another macaron on top. You can make a circle of ganache on the macaron base and use another filling (see tip below) to give the macarons different flavours, if you prefer.
The macarons will keep for up to three days, without fillings, in an airtight container. They’re best eaten the same day once the filling has been added.