Savoury Macarons

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Makes 10-12
Method: 

Everyone loves a macaron (a macaroon is the coconut one). Once bitten forever smitten I believe. But I thought you must be able to make these savoury and sugar-free.

After a bit of research I couldn't find the scientific reason why you have to add the sugar to meringue to get the desired effect. A crispy outside with gooey middle can't surely be down just to the sugar. So after a couple of batches of trial and error, I believe these are a great substitute so the sweet ones, excellent starters/ canapes.

As you can see from the photos, the resultant macarons look great and taste like normal. I know the purists among you though will complain that they don't have a perfectly smooth round top. This is down to the omission of sugar. You could make normal sweet macarons and pair them with flavours that need a bit of sweetness. Think cheese and chutney.

These are an amazing canape that will have your guests talking, perfect with a class of fizz. The flavours above being goats cheese and beetroot, pea and ham, goats cheese and pesto. For perfect instructions and fail safes check out http://madaboutmacarons.com/ There is nothing Jill doesn't know about them, apart from sugar-free ones that is!

Here Susie gives a perfect step by step guide plus some of the pitfalls.

1) Age the egg whites or not to age the egg whites? If you can, at least leave egg whites uncovered for an hour at room temperature. Ideally overnight. This helps dry them out a touch so more protein to moisture ratio=more air/volume incorporated.

2) Whip together with the salt until soft peaks. Add food colouring, and whip to ribbon stage. Fold in the almonds. Put in a piping bag with 1cm nozzle.

3) The texture should run slightly but ultimately hold its shape. Only a slight squeeze to get it out of piping bag. I luckily have a mat from Lakeland which has 1in wide templates. If you don't do your best to pipe out 22-24 circles.

4) Leave uncovered for an hour. Then bake at 160degree/140c fan for 15 mins. This is all standard the same as any sugar recipe. What I found though is that once removed the meringue went soft almost immediately. The solution therefore, is to bake for at least another hour at 90c.
If you can, turn the oven off and leave for another hour or overnight. If not they are fine to be made up with fillings but probably won't stay crunchy overnight.

For my fillings: Beetroot and Goats Cheese- soft goats cheese plus beetroot vinegar until desired colour. Pea and Ham: Pea puree plus some shredded ham. Goats Cheese and Pesto: I'm not going to insult anyone's intelligence, the fillings are so simple and endless. Just try and think of things that will look visually attractive.

Ingredients: 
  • 2 Large Egg Whites
  • 70g Ground Almonds
  • 1/2 Salt
  • 1/2 Tsp food colouring.