So, what’s a macarön, I hear you ask? Well, a macaron is a shiny, posh, filled biscuity thing made of egg-whites and almond meal and currently very much in vogue, and a macaroon is a rough, rustic, old-fashioned biscuity thing made of egg-whites and coconut. This is a rustic but shapely, semi-filled biscuity thing made from egg-whites and almond meal, and thus neither fish, flesh or fowl. Which, actually, is good, because who wants fish, flesh or fowl biscuits? Let alone foul biscuits. That would be no good at all. Anyway, it’s a macarön, because it falls somewhere between the macaron and the macaroon and therefore deserves it’s own name.
It’s also a handy way to use up those egg-whites you set aside when you were making egg-yolk candies.
Also, I must admit, after seeing the truly stunning things Donnamarie did with her Easter eggs, I felt challenged! The least I could do was cunningly make two kinds of sweet Easter egg out of actual eggs – one using the yolk, and one using the white.
(I have to say, the things everyone has come up with for this challenge have absolutely blown me away)
These are faintly Middle-Eastern in their inspiration, because that’s how I feel about almond meal, and also, that’s where my local ingredients tend to lead me, but you could make them utterly British with raspberry jam and vanilla, or Sicilian with lemon zest and blood orange marmalade… the possibilities are endless.
Your Shopping List6 egg whites (and you know what to do with the yolks, right?) 525 g almond meal (you may want a little more if the dough is too wet) 200 g caster sugar 250 g icing sugar 2 tablespoons of pistachio and cardamom sugar, if you have it, or use 2 tsp cardamom and make up the bulk with ground almonds or ground pistachios. 1-2 tsp rosewater or orange flower water apricot or fig jam, for the yolks.
Now what will you do with it?
Pre-heat the oven to 180°C, and line two large baking sheets with baking paper (you may need a third sheet).
In a large bowl, mix together everything except the rosewater or orange flower water and the jam. This will be a very sticky dough, but one you can still roll into balls if your hands are wet enough.
You can put the flower waters directly into the dough, or you can borrow Nigella Lawson’s glorious trick of using them to wash your hands before shaping the biscuits. The latter is more fun, but does tend to use a bit more of your flower water – and you will probably need to wash your hands several times, because the mixture is sticky.
With wet – and perhaps perfumed – hands, take small knobs of dough and roll them into ovals. Put them onto the tray, with about 1 1/2 to 2 inches between them – they don’t spread gigantically, but they do spread.
Use your thumb to press an indentation towards the bottom of each oval for the yolk. Spoon in a little jam.
Bake for about 20 minutes, until the biscuits feel soft but fairly set when you poke them. They may be a little golden around the edges. Do not leave them in the oven while you go off to write a blog post about egg-yolk candy, assuming that of course you’ll remember to check them after fifteen minutes. You won’t. Trust me.
Don’t attempt to remove them from the baking sheets immediately, as they are still really soft. Give them about 5 minutes to cool, then transfer to a rack. Don’t be alarmed if they are a little sticky underneath – that’s fine. But if they are raw underneath, by all means, give them a bit more oven time.
Give little packets of them to the guests who you have just stuffed full of your insane and gigantic fast-breaking Easter pasta bake and then chocolate pudding with outrageously rich chocolate and raspberry sauce, and send them home. Because you have a house full of biscuits and candies and chocolate sauce and leftover pancakes, not to mention the random raspberry cake you made and put in the freezer for a rainy day. So you really don’t need a lot of biscuits, and your guests will probably cry if you make them eat any more right now. Especially as they had egg-yolk candies for a pre-dinner nibble…
You can, in fact, make this very recipe nut-free by replacing the nuts with shredded coconut. I know this because the basic structure of the recipe was for a coconut macaroon and I just replaced the coconut with almond meal… You’re still gluten-free and dairy-free, incidentally, and if you make them without jam (or bake them with empty thumbprints and just fill them with lemon curd or chocolate ganache), you’re low-fructose, too.
You can also make these macarons plain, and a lot smaller, and there’s no need to make this many, either, unless you are trying to use up egg-whites.
As mentioned above, you can play around with the flavours in a big way – this recipe is very forgiving. If you find the soft chewy texture disconcerting, you can also replace some of the almond meal with flour for a more biscuity effect.
Have a ball!
This recipe is, of course, for my Vegetarian Easter Egg Inspiration Challenge! Tomorrow’s the last day, so send your recipe in now if you want to play with us this month!