HOW TO MAKE JAMES MARTIN'S ST EMILION MACARONS
Taken from More Home Comforts by James Martin (Quadrille £20) Photography: Peter Cassidy
For the macarons:
- 100g icing sugar
- 100g ground almonds
- 100g caster sugar
- 50ml water
- 2 egg whites
For the chocolate mousse:
- 150g good-quality plain chocolate, broken into pieces
- 40g unsalted butter, melted
- 4 eggs, separated
- 50g caster sugar
- 150ml good-quality red wine, ideally St Emilion or Merlot
- Preheat the oven to 130C, gas ¾ and line two baking sheets with silicone paper. Make 24 circles, each 4.5cm in diameter - this is your template for piping. Flip the paper over so the pencil line is on the underside but the outline can still be seen.
- Place the icing sugar and ground almonds in a food processor and blitz to a fine powder, scraping down the sides halfway through, then set aside. Put the caster sugar and 50ml water into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Continue to boil until the mixture reaches 110C, or soft boil, on a thermometer.
- Make sure the bowl and whisk you are using for the next step are very clean, free of grease and dry, as any water or grease will affect the meringue. Place the egg whites in the bowl and whisk with a food mixer or an electric whisk on high speed until soft peaks form. Add the sugar syrup, whisking until the mixture is smooth and glossy and has cooled slightly, at least 2 minutes.
- Transfer half the meringue to a clean bowl, then sieve in the ground almond mixture and whisk together to form a thick paste. Fold in the remaining meringue - you will end up with a smooth, pipeable mixture. Transfer it to a piping bag fitted with a 7mm plain nozzle, and secure the silicone paper to the baking sheets with a dab of the mixture.
- Pipe the mixture onto the template so that it just fills each circle - hold the bag upright and press down lightly to fill the circle before lifting off quickly. Use a wet finger to lightly press the peak down on the macaron, then set aside for at least 30 minutes until the mixture has spread slightly.
- Bake for 25 minutes until crusted and risen. Remove from the oven and leave to cool on the baking sheets.
To make the mousse, melt the chocolate and butter together in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water.
- Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together in a bowl set over a second pan of simmering water until light and thick. Remove both pans from the heat, but leave the bowls set over the pans of water to keep warm.
- Make sure the bowl and whisk you are using for the next step are very clean, free of grease and dry, as any water or grease will affect the meringue. Place the egg whites in the bowl and whisk with a food mixer or an electric whisk on high speed until soft peaks form.
- Fill the bottom of two large wine glasses with a few macarons, then divide the red wine between the glasses. Whisk the warm chocolate mixture into the eggs and sugar, then lift the bowl off the saucepan and fold in the egg whites, a spoonful at a time, until totally incorporated.
- Pour the mousse over the wine-covered macarons, and top each with one more macaron. Put into the fridge to set for a couple of hours before serving.
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