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MELKTERT AND MOERKOFFIE MACARONS

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As much as I love France – and have made a home here – I always find I crave the tastes of home most the moment I return from South Africa. Right at the top of that list of homegrown delights is the combination of milk tart and moerkoffie, which is probably one of my earliest memories of growing up. France may have refined my tastes somewhat, but I still get a kick out of infusing classic French fare with South African classics.

MELKTERT AND MOERKOFFIE MACARONS

TIME: 4 hours | MAKES: about 35

INGREDIENTS

for the melktert macarons

125 g almond meal

125 g icing sugar

90 g egg whites

1 ml crème of tartar

125 ml caster sugar

1 ml crème of tartar

ground cinnamon

 

for the moerkoffie macarons

125 g almond meal

125 g icing sugar

5 ml instant espresso coffee

10 ml cacao

90 g egg whites

1 ml crème of tartar

125 ml caster sugar

 

for white chocolate canache filling

125 ml cream

250 g good quality white chocolate

METHOD

for the melktert macarons

Place the almond meal and icing sugar in a food processor and blend until very fine. Sift the mixture into a mixing bowl. Place the egg whites in a bowl fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat the egg whites to nearly stiff peaks. Whisk in the crème of tartar. Add the caster sugar in 3 stages, whisking well after each addition.

Add the beaten egg white mixture to the dry ingredients. Fold in with a spatula, then use a dough scraper and fold in until it resembles the consistency of cake batter. When the mixture flows like cake batter it is ready. This should take about 8 – 10 folds.

Fill a piping bag fitted a 12 mm plain nozzle. Line your baking trays with baking paper. Pipe the macarons onto the baking trays, leaving about 3 cm gaps between them. Sprinkle a little ground cinnamon onto one half of each shell.

Leave the macarons to dry for at least 1 ½ hours before baking – when you touch the tops, they must be dry.

Place the oven rack in the centre of your oven and heat to 140 °C. Place the macarons in the oven and bake for 12 minutes. Take out and leave to cool on the trays.

for the moerkoffie macarons

Use the same method as above, but add the coffee powder and cocoa to the almond meal and icing sugar when blending in the food processor.

 

for the white chocolate ganache

Roughly chop the chocolate and place in mixing bowl. Heat the cream to just before boiling. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and gently stir until melted. Leave to cool to room temperature and place in the fridge until it reaches a piping consistency.

Fill a piping bag fitted with a 12 mm plain nozzle and pipe a little onto each melktert macaron. Top with the moerkoffie macaron and gently press it down until the ganache reaches the edge of the two macarons. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

TIPS YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE BAKING MACARONS

  • You will need a scale for weighing your ingredients. It is very important that the ingredients are accurately weighed.
  • You must weigh the egg whites (which is 90 grams) it is normally 3 large eggs, but every bit of egg white matters.
  • Blend the almond meal and icing sugar in a food processor and, very important, sift the blended ingredients.
  • When you beat egg whites it is very important that your mixer is grease-free. Any traces of grease will not let your egg whites whip to stiff peaks.
  • Beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks but are not dry. Your egg whites must hold their shape but still have a glossy sheen. If they are dry it will result in cracked shells.
  • When beating egg whites, do not rush them at high speed. Instead, start at medium for the first three minutes. Add the caster sugar, and in three stages, beat on medium-high.
  • Add the beaten egg whites to the dry ingredients and not the other way around.
  • Mixing the mixture together you can use a spatula. Fold and mix until the batter resembles the consistency of cake batter.
  • I would suggest drawing 3 cm circles on baking paper to pipe your macarons on. This will ensure that your macarons are all the same size.
  • Once you have piped your macarons, you need to tap them. Tapping the baking sheet at least a few times helps remove the trapped air pockets.
  • Air pockets mean they tend to break in the oven and cause holes, resulting in lumpy macarons.
  • Before baking your macarons you need to dry the shells before baking. I let them stand for at least 2 – 3 hours. If you touch them they must be dry.
  • Once the macarons have been baked, do not peel them from the baking paper immediately. Let them rest for at least 10 minutes.
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