A couple of weeks ago when I made these macarons, there was blistering sunshine beaming through the kitchen windows but, now as I write this post in a thick wooly jumper, it’s grey, drizzling and I’m half tempted to put the heating on!
Although, pistachio and orange seem like very festive flavours the combination of citrus orange and woody pistachio nut I feel, capture the essential tastes of summer. (However, they would equally go down a storm at an xmas dinner party).
I have only just learnt the art of macaron making as I mentioned in my Mocha Macaron post so I’m still cautious when experimenting with flavours and textures of macarons. In this recipe I replaced the ground almonds with pistachios which worked fine. I was worried that this could affect the consistency of the macaron, making it hard to pipe but, luckily for me this didn’t happen. However, I decided not to add orange zest to the macaron itself because I know that too much liquid will definitely affect the consistency and zest is full of oils (that it why the zest packs sooo much flavour). For this reason I also didn’t colour my macarons because although I did have green food colouring, it needs to be powdered colouring which won’t impact the viscosity of the macarons.
(This recipe makes about 30 macarons).
for the macarons
- 120g pistachios
- 220g icing sugar
- 90g egg whites (about 2-3 eggs)
- pinch of salt
- 25g granulated sugar
for the orange filling
- 100g soft butter
- 100g icing sugar
- 25ml double cream
- zest of an orange
1. 3-4 hours before you plan to make the macarons separate the egg whites and leave them in the fridge loosely covered by a lid or plate. This process I believe dries out the egg whites which inturn helps make sturdier, round macarons.
2. Next prepare 3-4 baking trays by drawing circles 2.5cm in diameter on greaseproof paper, leaving the same amount of space between each circle for expansion.
3. In a food processor, blitz the pistachios until finely ground. Then add the icing sugar and blitz again until a fine powder is formed. Sift the mixture to make sure it is at the right consistency.
4. Place the egg whites and salt in a large mixing bowl or food mixer and beat with electric beaters or a whisk attachment at high speed until a thick foam forms. At this point add the sugar a tablespoon at a time making sure the sugar has dissolved after each addition. When all the sugar is added you should be left with a glossy looking meringue.
5. Take one third of the pistachio mixture and fold it thoroughly into the meringue with a large metal spoon to help prevent knocking out air. Then fold in the rest of the mixture carefully and stop as soon as you see all the almond mixture is incorporated. Don’t worry if the mixture is lumpy it doesn’t need to be smooth, what’s more vital is that you don’t over beat the meringue. You will know if you have, because when you pipe the mixture it will be runny and won’t hold its shape.
6. Scoop the mixture into a piping bag with a plain tip and pipe the macarons out keeping within the circles you have drawn. Once piped bang the trays against the table 4 times, rotating the tray each time. This knocks out any air bubbles to ensure the macarons rise and bake evenly throughout. Now leave them out at room temperature for an hour for a skin to form. You should be able to touch the surface and it won’t be wet and sticky.
7. Next preheat the oven to 150 degrees or 140 if you have a fan oven. You need to make sure you bake the macarons in the middle of the oven so you may have to cook the macarons in batches. Bake them for 12 minutes exactly and do not open the oven until 12 minutes is over, as the cold air will lead to deformed macarons. Then take the trays out the oven and after 5 minutes sat on the tray peel the macarons off the paper and leave to cool completely.
8. To make the filling beat the butter until light and fluffy and then add the icing sugar and beat again for 2-3 minutes to let the sugar dissolve. If you taste it after 30 seconds or a minute it will still taste grainy but after a few minutes it should taste light and smooth on the tongue. Lastly stir in the cream/milk and zest making sure the orange peel is evenly distributed.
9. Finally pipe the frosting on to half the macarons and then sandwich them together with the remaining half.
10. These macarons are best if left in the fridge overnight in an airtight container. Before serving let them come to room temperature. These macarons will last up to a week in an airtight container in the fridge.