The West

Glenda Crawford. Picture: Iain Gillespie/The West Australian

One of the winning recipes from last year's IGA Perth Royal Show.

RECIPE: Basic Macaron

200g ground almonds
200g pure icing sugar (not mixture)
2 x 80g egg whites
75ml water
200g caster sugar

Mix ground almonds and icing sugar together and sift. Place 80g of egg whites in a bowl. In a saucepan bring the water and sugar to the boil. Do not stir once the mix starts to boil. When the sugar syrup reaches 110C start beating the egg whites on a low speed, they just need to be foamy. When the sugar reaches 115C (soft ball stage), remove it from the heat and pour in a slow steady stream into the egg whites, while still beating at a low speed.

Beat the meringue on a higher speed for about 10 minutes. Add remaining 80g of egg whites to the almond and sugar. When the meringue is ready, add a third to the almond and sugar mix, which will loosen the mixture, then add the remaining meringue. Mix until the batter resembles molten lava.

Using a piping bag fitted with a round nozzle (about 10cm diameter) pipe small, regular and well-spaced rounds on to a sheet of baking paper. The rounds should be about the size of a walnut. Tap the tray to remove air bubbles, then allow the piped shells to dry and form a crust (about 20 minutes).

Preheat your oven to 140C. Once the shells are dry, bake for 15 minutes. When they are cooked, place the baking paper on your workbench, and allow to cool before trying to remove them from the paper. Once removed, match up pairs of equal size and fill with your favourite filling. If you can, let them sit in the fridge for at least 24 hours for the flavours to develop.

·Age the egg whites - put them in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature for about 24 hours before using.

·Measure your sugar syrup temperature with a candy thermometer.

·Add powdered colour to the almond/sugar mix, or liquid colour to your meringues.

·Pre-draw the size of circles you want to pipe on to a template for shells a similar size.

·Don't overbeat your batter, or you may end up with macaron thins.

·Weather can affect your macarons. Don't make them when it's raining heavily, or very humid.

·Flavour the filling, not the shells.

The West Australian

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