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These pretty patisseries are very fashionable at the moment but can be very expensive to buy, so why not make your own and give as a gift in a recycled box lined with non-stick baking paper and a lacy paper doily tied with ribbon.
Preparation time: 40 minutes
Standing time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 20-22 minutes
175g (6 oz) icing sugar
125g (41/2 oz) ground almonds
3 large egg whites
75 g (3 oz) caster sugar
Little violet or pink food colouring
75g (3oz) blackberries or strawberries
100g (4oz) butter at room temperature
150g (5oz) icing sugar
1 Preheat the oven to 140oC/275oF/Gas Mark 1. Line 3 baking sheets with non-stick baking paper.
2 Grind the icing sugar and ground almonds to a fine powder in a food processor or liquidiser then press through a sieve.
3 Whisk the egg whites in a large bowl until they form moist peaks then gradually whisk the caster sugar in a little at a time. Whisk for 2 minutes until the mixture is thick and glossy, then whisk in a few drops of violet or pink food colouring.
4 Spoon half the icing sugar and ground almonds into the bowl then gently fold together. Add the remaining mixture and continue folding in until just mixed. Don’t over-fold or the mixture will go very runny and be difficult to pipe.
5 Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a large plain tube and pipe 2.5cm (1 inch) rounds on the paper lined trays. Give each baking sheet a sharp tap to ensure a good ‘foot’. You should make about 40. Leave to stand for 20 minutes for the macaroons to dry out.
6 Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the macaroons may be lifted easily off the paper. Leave to cool.
7 For the filling, puree the berries until smooth then press through a sieve. Beat the butter and icing sugar together in a food processor until smooth then gradually beat in 2 tbsp of the fruit puree. Use to sandwich the macaroons together in pairs. Arrange on a serving plate or in a pretty box.
Once sandwiched together the macaroons are best eaten within 24 hours. Plain macaroons can be kept for 2-3 days in a cool dry place covered with extra non-stick baking paper and the filling in a covered container in the fridge.
You might also like to flavour the macaroons with ½ tsp of raspberry, lemon or peppermint extract when adding the colouring to the meringue.