Leiths Advent - DEC 21 - Jekka’s 'After Eight' Herb Macaroons with Chocolate Ganache

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Leiths Advent - DEC 21 - Jekka’s 'After Eight' Herb Macaroons with Chocolate Ganache

Our alumnus, Alistair McVicar of Jekka's Herb Farm, has shared with us his 'After Eight' Macaroon recipe. "I love desserts and I really enjoyed making these during my time at Leith's School of Food and Wine. I developed this recipe whilst we were taste testing our herbal infusions. We ended up with a lot of samples and I wondered it they could used to make macaroons. These were my favourite, using our Mint Fiesta herbal infusion combined with a rich dark chocolate ganache they make our take on 'After Eight' Herb Macaroons."

Ingredients

Makes 50 paired macaroons (works if you only do half a recipe)

Herb Macaroons
200g ground almonds
200g icing sugar
160g egg whites (about 5 medium)
75ml water
200g caster sugar
1 tablespoon (or 1 tea bag) of Jekka's Mint Fiesta herbal infusion

Chocolate Ganache
350g good quality dark chocolate (minimum 60% cocoa solids)
250ml double cream

Instructions

  1. Line 2 baking sheets with baking parchment.
  2. Thoroughly mix the ground almonds and icing sugar together in a food process and sift into a large bowl (discard any coarse pieces.)
  3. Sieve in Jekka's Mint Fiesta herbal infusion.
  4. Put the almond mixture into a bowl, and using a spatula, mix in 80g unbeaten egg white to create a smooth paste (you can add food colouring at this point, but I choose not to.)
  5. Bring the water and sugar to the boil to make a sugar syrup.
  6. Meanwhile in a large bowl whisk the remaining 80g egg white to soft peaks using a hand-held electric whisk.
  7. When the sugar syrup reaches 115 Deg C pour it over the whisk egg whites.
  8. Whisk until stiff peaks.
  9. Using a spatula, stir one third of this mixture into the almond paste.
  10. Then carefully fold in the remaining meringue.
  11. Continue to fold until it just becomes smooth, uniform, gentle flowing and a little shiny.
  12. Fill a piping bag fitted with a 5-8mm plain nozzle with the macaroon mixture and pipe into little mounds, about 2-2.5cm in diameter, onto the prepared trays.
  13. Set aside for 20-30 minutes.
  14. Heat an oven to 160 Deg C/Gas mark 2.5.
  15. To check the macaroons are ready lightly brush the top of one; the batter should not stick to your finger.
  16. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the macaroons have formed a crisp shel base.
  17. Leave to cool completely before removing from the baking sheet.
  18. TO MAKE THE GANACHE:
  19. Chop the chocolate into small pieces, ideally about 1cm in size, and put int a heat proof bowl.
  20. Pour the cream into a saucepan and bring to the ismmer and pour over the chocolate.
  21. Leave to cool until it begins to thicken around the edges and whisk on a slow speed for 1-2 minutes.
  22. Transfer to a piping bag.
  23. To serve sandwich together the pairs with the chocolate ganache.
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