[Updated 26/11/2023] It's no secret that macarons are tricky to master. Less than ideal weather/technique/moods - too many variables that can trip you up on your road to mastering macarons! But the perfect macaron IS NOT a mythical creature that is only ever born in the most hi-tech and professional kitchens - it can be attained by paying attention to just a few things in your own home.
The recipe I'm sharing in this post is a classic - everyone loves a pistachio macaron. Something so luxe about it, and the pastel green shade is just lovely! The big difference between a good pistachio macaron and a bad pistachio macaron is umm...PISTACHIOS. Some cheaper versions use little (or nil!) genuine pistachios and bulk up with almond essence or fakey flavourings. It's gross. Just use the real stuff and you'll be so glad you did.
Pistachio French Macaroon Recipe
Yields approx. 25 macarons
150g Ground almonds
150g Icing sugar
50g Egg white, room temperature
A pinch of green food colouring, or a smidge of green gel paste colouring
120g Granulated sugar
40g Water, room temperature
55g Egg white, room temperature
35g Granulated sugar
Pistachio Ganache Filling
50g ground pistachios
200g good quality white chocolate, chopped finely or grated
150g double cream
- Sift ground almonds and icing sugar together
- In a saucepan over medium heat boil 120g measure of granulated sugar and water together while simultaneously whisking the 55g measure of the egg whites on medium speed in a stand mixer bowl with a whisk attachment, or carefully with a hand mixer
- When the syrup reaches 100 degrees, pour in the 35g measure of granulated sugar into the whisked egg whites and continue whisking till the syrup reaches 116 degrees
- Once the sugar syrup has reached 116 degrees, reduce the speed of the mixer and pour the syrup down the side of the bowl in a steady but swift stream
- Bring the speed back up to medium to whip into a meringue for up to 8-10 minutes. At this point you have a basic meringue which is ready to be folded into the dough when the bowl has cooled till just warm to the touch and the meringue is stiff and glossy
- Pour the 50g measure of egg whites and the food colour onto the dry almond-icing sugar mix in a mixing bowl and fold in the ingredients just until till they come together as a stiff dough with a spatula
- Fold the meringue in using gentle and firm strokes, scraping from all the sides of the bowl and pulling the spatula through the middle to incorporate all ingredients just till it reaches a smooth and glossy cake-batter like consistency
- Pour 2-3 ladles of batter into a piping bag prepared with the nozzle and cut parchment paper to the size of the baking trays. To aid piping perfect circles, trace the outline of a 10p coin on the reverse side of the parchment paper leaving 1.5 inch gaps in between
- Once a whole tray is piped with batter tap firmly against the work-surface to pop out any trapped air bubbles and let rest for 20 minutes. Pre-heat the oven at 170 degrees before baking for 13 minutes.
- Once baked let the trays and shells cool completely on a heat-proof surface or a cooling rack before peeling shells off gently.
Pistachio Ganache Macaron Filling
- Place the cream and ground pistachios in a small saucepan and bring to a soft simmer over medium heat stirring frequently
- Once the cream reaches a simmer remove from heat, cover lightly with cling film and let rest
- Place the chocolate in a double-boiler or bain marie to melt slowly over medium heat, stirring constantly to evenly melt. Once melted pour into a mixing bowl
- Pour the cream and pistachios into the melted chocolate in a steady stream and gently stir in till it reaches a uniform and glossy finish
- Let the ganache come to room temperature before covering with cling film and placing in the fridge to set slightly
- Prepare a piping bag with a 1cm round piping nozzle
- Peel the macaron shells off the baking parchment gently and pair up for size
- Using a spatula fill the piping bag with the ganache and pipe dollops on half of the shells and then lightly sandwich with another shell
Trouble-Shooting Guide Common Problems when Making Macarons
There are quite a few things that can go wrong during any stage in a macaron recipe. However, if you can identify the problem eg: no feet, bumpy shells, hollow shells etc you can narrow it down to a few trigger points and identify where you need to pay attention to get better results next time. I will be explaining the most common issues below but if I have missed out any please do drop it in the comments section and I'll update the post with our findings.
No Feet or Frill on Macarons
I have covered this issue in depth here. In summary though, this could be due to any or a combination of the following:
- Under or over-beating the meringue. Solution - Make sure the mixing bowl is completely clean with no grease and whip egg whites on medium speed till soft peaks when adding the sugar syrup and then whip on high speed till you get a stiff glossy beak on the whisk. If using the simpler French meringue method then make sure the meringue is whipped to a stiff and glossy beak on the whisk.
- Under or over boiling the sugar syrup (if using the Italian Meringue Method). Solution - Check your sugar thermometer is calibrated and reading correct temperatures and boil the syrup till 116-118 degrees.
- Not letting the piped batter rest long enough before baking. Solution - Let the piped shells rest 20-30 minutes after piping.
- Baking at too high a temperature. Solution - Try reducing temperature of oven by 5 degrees at a time.
Bumpy Macaron Shells
Bumps on macaron shells happen when there are air pockets in the batter. Make sure to tap the baking tray against the work surface a few times after piping macaron shells to remove excess air pockets before letting them rest.
Grainy Macaron Shells
Grainy macaron shells can occur because of any or a combination of the reasons below:
- Ground almonds not fine enough. Solution - Pulse your ground almonds with icing sugar together till you get a fine powder. Be careful not to overdo it as it may release oils which will lead to another problem (translucent shells).
- Sugar syrup too hot when adding to egg whites. When it's too hot it 'cooks' the egg whites too quickly creating small grainy lumps in the meringue. Solution - Check your sugar thermometer is calibrated and reading correct temperatures and boil the syrup till 116-118 degrees.
Macaron Shells Are Cracked on Top
Macaron shells can get cracked on top for any or a combination of the following:
- Incorrect measurements of ingredients. An annoying reason, but it CAN happen. Solution - Make sure you are taking the correct measurements of each ingredient.
- Under-folded batter. When the macaron batter is under-folded it is too stiff and 'heavy' to rise while baking, which then leads to a lot of pressure building up inside the shell which then leads to cracking after the poor macaron shell can't handle the pressure no more! Solution - Fold the batter JUST until reaching a consistent lava-like consistency where when you drop ribbons from the spatula it takes a few seconds to disappear into the batter.
Hollow Macaron Shells
Macaron shells that may look fine from outside but are hollow inside can be due to any of a combination of the following:
- Over-beaten meringue. Solution - Try adjusting the speed on your mixer a notch lower when beating prior to adding the sugar syrup and once adding in the syrup keep a an eye on beating just till you get a stiff glossy beak.
- Too high oven temperature. When you bake macarons at too high a temperature the batter cooks too quickly, rising too quickly and leaving a large air pocket. Solution - Try reducing temperature of oven by 5 degrees at a time.
Let me know if you have any questions in the comments section regarding any of the recipe steps or equipment queries! Happy to help!
Anges de Sucre x