For some time now already, I have been longingly glancing at pictures and recipes of macaroons at various foodblogs. The equisite creations at The Traveler's Lunchbox, Kuidaore and Anne's Food have left me drooling in front of my computer screen. Whispering names like Pierre Hermé and Ladurée in the same sentece as macaroons did nothing to convince me that I could muster these delicate sweets myself. I was convinced I am doomed to wait for my maiden trip to Paris to get a taste of my first ever macaroon.
Until yesterday. I had - finally - bought a hand held electric mixer cum mini food processor. I had some leftover egg whites in my fridge. I had picked up a packet of green pistachios last weekend. And Nigella's How to Be a Domestic Goddess: Baking and the Art of Comfort Cooking had once again found its way to my bedside table.
This could mean only only thing - pistachio macaroons á la Nigella:
"These are the world's most elegant macaroons. The colour alone, that waxy pale jade, perfectly matches the aromatic delicacy of their taste; and their nutty chewiness melts into the fragrant, soft paste with which they're paired." (p 53)
Tempting, isn't it?
Source: Nigella Lawson, How To Be A Domestic Goddess
For the macaroons:
75 g green pistachios
125 g icing sugar
2 large egg whites
15 g caster sugar
To make the macaroons, grind the pistachios and icing sugar in a food processor until you have a fine dust.
Whisk the egg whites until fairly stiff, add the caster sugar and whisk until very stiff. Fold the egg whites into the pistachio sugar and combine gently.
Pipe small rounds onto your lined baking sheet, using a plain 1 cm nozzle.
Bake in a 180˚C oven for 10-12 minutes. The macaroons should be set, but not dried out.
Remove from the oven and let them cool, still on their sheets.
For the buttercream:
55 g green pistachios
250 g icing sugar
125 g softened unsalted butter
To make the butter cream, grind the pistachios and icing sugar into a fine dust again.
Cream the butter, and continue creaming as you add the pistachio sugar.
Sandwich the biscuits with the soft buttercream mixture.
Makes 20 macaroons (i.e. 40 sandwiched together).
I did many many many things wrong during my first macaroon baking attempt. My pistachio dust had quite a few crumbs in it. I should have whisked the egg whites patiently for another 5 minutes (but as I was simultaneously making some Hungarian gulyas soup for a friend who was coming for dinner, I got distracted). I used greaseproof paper instead of parchment paper and hence half of my macaroons remained stubbornly stuck on the paper (so I ended up with just 10 macaroons and loads of pistachio roll-ups:) I didn't pipe the mixture onto the baking sheet, but used a teaspoon, so the macaroons were unevenly sized and shaped.
But - they were delicious. They maybe didn't look perfect, but they looked cute enough. They were very very pistachio-nutty and beautifully green in colour. Just-barely crisp outside and mouthmeltingly chewy inside. Sandwiched with the pistachio buttercream, these were very elegant biscuits indeed.
UPDATE 15.2.2007: Although I didn't have much success with these macaroons in terms of looks, then Annie of BonAppeGeek was brave enough to try out this recipe after all. And at least one of her macaroons turned out perfect. Read her post here. I think I need to give those macaroons another go, too :)