100 grams free-range egg whites
pinch of cream of tartar
2 tablespoons caster sugar
1-2 teaspoons raspberry essence
red food colouring
140 grams ground almonds
220 grams icing sugar
85 grams butter, soft but not melted
175 grams icing sugar, sifted
1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla extract
red food colouring
Preheat the oven to 150°C.
Whisk the egg whites and cream of tartar to soft peaks in an electric mixer. Add the caster sugar, raspberry essence and a few tiny drops of red food colouring. Dip a wooden skewer in the colouring and add cautiously. You don’t want bright red macaroons but the colour will fade during cooking so a deepish pink colour is best. Continue to beat until stiff peaks but not dry.
Sift the ground almonds and icing sugar together, adding any almonds that haven’t gone through the sieve into the bowl. Using a large metal spoon, fold into the egg whites until well combined. Don’t worry about losing volume, the mixture should not be too light and airy. Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a 1 1⁄2 cm wide plain piping nozzle. Pipe small rounds, about 3 cm apart, on lined baking trays.
Drop the trays a couple of times on the bench to get rid of any air bubbles and to flatten them slightly. Leave for 45-50 minutes until a good skin has formed on top of the macaroons.
This is an integral part of the recipe. Without this step they will not have their distinctive smooth tops.
Bake the trays, one at a time, for 12-14 minutes. Leave for 5 minutes before gently transferring to a cooling rack.
Butter cream: Beat the butter, icing sugar and vanilla extract together until light and creamy. Add a few drops of red food colouring to make a pale pink colour.
To assemble: Spoon the butter cream into a piping bag and pipe a small round on half the macaroons. Top with another macaroon and gently press together. The macaroons will keep for 2-3 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator, but will soften on keeping.
Makes about 30 doubles