Perfect for parties, these gorgeous little more-ish macarons from the master in Paris are from his book “Chocolate” and classified as “easy” (available from Amazon). Nicknamed the ‘Picasso of Pastry’ by Jeffrey Steingarten in Vogue, Pierre Hermé is to the macaron what Louis Vuitton is to the handbag. Named the World’s Best Pastry Chef 2016 by the World’s Best 50 Restaurants Academy, Hermé revolutionized traditional pastry-making. Here he shares his chocolate macaron recipe. It’s not as complicated as it looks, but it isn’t that easy either. However follow the instructions carefully and it will mean you make the most perfect little macarons!
Macaron Infinement Chocolate Recipe by Pierre Hermé
Makes about 72 macarons (or about 144 shells)
Preparation Time: 2 mins. (5 days in advance); one hour (the same day).
Cooking Time: About 25 mins.
Resting Time: 30 mins.
Chilling Time: 2 h. + 24 h.
1 cup (7 2/3 oz./220 g) (or about 8) “liquefied” egg whites, divided (see note)
3 1/2 cups (10 1/2 oz./300 g) ground almonds
2 cups + 5 tablespoons (10 1/2 oz./300 g) confectioners’ (icing) sugar
4 1/4 oz. (120 g) pure cocoa paste or dark chocolate, 100% cocoa
3/4 teaspoon (4.5 g) carmine red food coloring
1 1/2 cups (10 1/2 oz./300 g) superfine (caster) sugar
1/3 cup (2 2/3 oz./75 g) mineral water
2/3 cup (5 oz./140 g) butter at room temperature
12 3/4 oz. (360 g) Guanaja 70% dark chocolate (Valrhona is perfect)
1 1/3 oz. (40 g) pure cocoa paste (or dark chocolate 100% cocoa)
1 2/3 cups (14 oz./400 g) liquid cream
Five days in advance: Place the egg whites for the macaron shells in a bowl, cover tightly with plastic film, pierce a few holes in the film and refrigerate to liquefy.
One day in advance, prepare the macaron shells: Sift the ground almonds and the confectioners’ sugar together in a bowl. Chop the cocoa paste and place in a bowl over a bain-marie of simmering water to melt to 122°F (50°C). Combine 1/2 cup (110 g) of liquefied egg whites with the food coloring. Pour onto the sifted almond powder–sugar mixture without mixing.
Combine the sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil, monitoring the temperature with a thermometer. Meanwhile place the remaining 1/2 cup (110 g) of liquefied egg whites in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a wire whisk. Once the sugar syrup has reached 239°F (115°C), begin beating the egg whites on high speed. Once the syrup has reached 244°F (118°C), reduce the mixer speed to medium and begin pouring the syrup in a steady stream into the beaten egg whites. Continue beating until the mixture cools to 122°F (50°C).
Using a spatula, fold the meringue mixture into the almond–sugar–egg white mixture. Add the melted cocoa paste, mixing until the batter loses a little volume. Spoon the batter into a pastry bag fitted with a No. 11 plain tip (1/2 in. diameter). Line baking sheets with cooking parchment and pipe out rounds of batter about 1 1/2 in. (3.5 cm) in diameter, spaced about 3/4 in. apart. Tap the baking sheets gently on a work surface covered with a kitchen towel to smooth the surface. Place the cocoa powder in a sifter and sprinkle lightly over the macaron shells. Set aside at room temperature for at least thirty minutes to allow a “skin” to form.
Preheat the oven on convection setting to 355°F (180°C/Gas Mark 6). Place the baking sheets in the oven and bake for twelve minutes, opening and closing the oven door quickly twice during the baking to release steam. Remove from the oven and slide the macaron shells onto the work surface.
Prepare the Infiniment Chocolat ganache:
Cut the butter into pieces. Chop the chocolate and cocoa paste with a serrated knife, and place them in a bowl. Bring the cream to a boil in a saucepan and pour it, one-third at a time, over the chocolate and cocoa paste, stirring from the center out in small, then progressively larger concentric circles. When the temperature of the chocolate cools to 95°F–104°F (35°C–40°C), incorporate, little by little, the butter. Whisk until the ganache is smooth. Pour into a shallow dish. Press a sheet of plastic film directly onto the surface of the chocolate cream and refrigerate until the texture is creamy.
Spoon the ganache into a pastry bag fitted with a No. 11 plain pastry tip. Turn half of the macaron shells over, flat side up, on the work surface and pipe the ganache generously onto each shell. Cover each with a second macaron shell. Refrigerate for twenty-four hours.
The following day, remove the macarons from the refrigerator two hours before serving.