Duchess Bake Shop has been called one of the best bakeries in the world. It features the finest French treats and is located right here in Canada.
Giselle Courteau is the self-taught home baker and owner of the bakery, and she’s sharing her French flare in her latest cookbook, The Duchess Bake Shop.
French Meringue Macarons
Makes 40 to 45 shells (20 filled macarons)
WHAT YOU NEED
- 135 g (1/4 cup + 3 tbsp) almond flour (finely-ground almonds)
- 195 g (1 ½ cups + 2 tbsp) icing sugar
- 100 g (about 3 large) egg whites, at room temperature
- 38 g (3 tbsp) granulated sugar
- 7 g (2 tsp) egg white powder (egg albumen)
- ¼ tsp powder colour (optional)
- Filling of your choice
WHAT YOU DO
- You will need a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, a plastic bowl scraper, two baking sheets, and a piping bag filled with a medium round piping tip.
- You will need a macaron template to help you ensure that your shell sizes are uniform. Cut a piece of parchment paper the size of your baking sheet and trace 20 x 1-inch circles onto it spaced about 1 ½ inches apart. Place the template on one of the baking sheets and cover it with a second piece of parchment. The shapes will show through for you to use as a guide when piping. You can save this template and reuse it next time you make macarons.
- Sift the almond flour and icing sugar together into a bowl. If necessary, press the last of the mixture through the sifter with your hands. Discard any larger pieces that won’t go through. Set aside.
- Place the egg whites in a stand mixer bowl. Sift the granulated sugar, egg white powder, and powder colour onto the egg whites.
- Whip on high until a stiff meringue (4 to 4 ½ minutes). Make sure to whip until it’s really stiff.
- Pour the sifted almond flour mixture over the meringue and, using a spatula, gently incorporate until just combined. Transfer the batter to a shallow wide bowl.
- Now proceed to the macaronage. With a plastic bowl scraper, smear the batter along the sides of the bowl and scrape it back into the centre. Repeat until the batter becomes shiny and reaches the consistency of slow-flowing lava. How many times you need to do this is highly variable; it might be only a couple of passes or up to a half dozen. If the batter is moving faster than slow-flowing lava, it’s been over-mixed. (If making a macaron gateau: Stop mixing your batter a bit early so that it ends up a bit stiffer and able to retain its decorative piping during baking.)
- Immediately proceed to piping the batter. Place the piping bag fitted with the piping tip inside a tall glass and fold the edges of the bag over the rim. Fill the bag with the batter.
- Hold the piping bag vertically with the tip ½ inch above the lined baking sheet. With even pressure, while holding your piping bag steady, pipe onto the parchment following the template that you have placed underneath. At this stage you can sprinkle on additions such as finely chopped nuts, cocoa nibs or coconut depending on the type of macaron you’re making. Go easy on these as the oils can affect the shells.
- Carefully remove the template from underneath the parchment, put it on the second baking sheet, cover with another piece of parchment, and repeat step 7. If you have extra batter, feel free to pipe extra shells in empty spaces on the parchment between already piped shells.
- Bang the baking sheets gently to eliminate any air bubbles from the batter. Let the shells rest at room temperature until a skin forms on the surface. This should take 20 to 25 minutes. Test for readiness by touching the top of a shell with your finger. The batter should not feel sticky. While the shells are resting, preheat your oven to 350F, positioning the oven rack in the middle of the oven.
- For baking, use only the middle rack of the oven, baking one sheet at a time. Bake the shells for 8 minutes. Briefly open the oven door to let out steam, rotate the baking sheet, and bake for another 4 minutes. Note: Oven times may vary. If she shells start to brown around the edges, immediately remove them from the oven.
- Let the shells cool for 20 minutes before carefully peeling them off the parchment paper. At this stage, you can wrap the shells in plastic wrap or palce them in a sealed, air-tight container and store them in the freezer for up to a week before filling. Let thaw at room temperature for 20 minutes before assembling.
- To prepare the macarons for filling, find pairs by matching their sizes. Line the pairs up on a tray. Take one of each pair, flip it over, and gently make an indent in the centre using your thumb.
- Fill each indented macaron with the filling you have chosen and cover with its twin, sandwich-style.
- If you want to fill your macarons with two different fillings (for example, vanilla buttercream and strawberry jam), simply pipe a ring around the outside of the macaron with one of the fillings and insert the other filling in the middle.
Storage: Filled macarons can be kept in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to three days.