Mmmm, more macarons!
I finally succumbed, and bought the much-coveted Macarons, baking bible for Pierre Hermé addicts. Of course, as soon as I started flipping through the pages, the urge to bake caught up with me. I just had to try his salted caramel macarons.
My last attempt at making salted caramel macarons had been a mixed bag. The macarons had been slightly over-baked and my salted caramel cream had been too buttery, so this time I was looking forward to using Pierre Hermé’s own recipe to get the rich salty, buttery perfection I was longing after.
This was also my second try with Pierre Hermé’s italian meringue method. Previously, I had always used Ottolenghi’s recipe, which is based on the french meringue method. These two methods are often compared, and technically the italian meringue creates a more stable structure, and is more foolproof, but my Ottolenghi recipe always worked brilliantly, so I guess you can take your pick and go with the flow!
The Pierre Hermé recipe, as expected, requires quite a lot of concentration, and is more technically challenging than the Ottolenghi one. However, it is utterly divine.
The salted caramel filling contains a surprisingly large quantity of butter. I noted that there are two recipes for this floating around on the internet. For example, the one posted by Edd Kimber here has noticeably different proportions to the recipe contained in my copy of Macarons. I’d say they turned out, flavour and texture-wise, very similar. Perhaps the Macarons recipe holds a stronger salted caramel flavour, but I may have also been braver in letting my caramel go that little bit darker.
It’s nice to know that you can make the salted caramel filling a day or two in advance before making the macarons themselves. Just rebeat it into piping consistency when it’s needed. Oddly, it looks a little darker, but no less delicious.
One big note of caution – be careful not to add too much extra liquid or the macarons won’t rise properly. I have most definitely made this mistake many a time before! You can avoid this issue by using paste/powder food colourings instead, but I’ve not acquired any as yet.
Also, if you are just starting out with macaron making, and need a bit of extra guidance, I’ve discovered a rather brilliant macaron troubleshooting guide on Adriano Zumbo’s website which is extremely useful.