Easter baking is some of my favourite kind of baking. Perhaps it’s because around this time of year everything is starting to get colder. The woolly jackets find their way from the depths of our closets, the heaters and electric blankets gets their first work out in months, and we start to crave comfort food. Warm dinners and mugs of hot drinks we can curl up with, while nibbling on hot cross buns fresh out of the oven. Everything just feels cosier. And then, of course, there’s all the chocolate!
Amongst all the Easter baking I’ve been planning the cake. I decided I wanted Easter egg-shaped macarons on top, so these little guys are destined to be a garnish, but they’re a delicious treat in their own right.
To make the macarons Easter egg-shaped, you’ll want to begin by prepping your trays. I needed 3 of them. On each you’ll want to put two sheets of baking paper, then trace egg shapes onto one sheet from each tray. I used a petal cutter as a template. Don’t forget to turn the sheet upside down when you’re finished, as you don’t want the ink getting cooked into the macarons.
I then set about making the macaron batter. I’ve gone into detail of the macaronage process a number of times, so hit up an older recipe if you need help getting your macaron batter perfect.
Because I wanted multi-coloured macs, and because I’m too lazy to make multiple batches, I divided the batter into three small bowls. To each, I added just enough food colouring to gave each a pastel colour.
Then you just need to fill up the shapes with batter. I started piping them outside then in, but by the end I found inside then out gave a more even result.
And because I am still lazy, I didn’t bother changing over the bag in between batches. But I also wanted to have that moment in between batches of coloured batter where the colours ran into each other. It gave a few of them an interesting marbled effect.
20 minutes in the oven and they are done. Once they are cool you’ll want to pair them up and transfer them to a work surface covered with more baking paper or something similar, because things are about to get messy.
I wanted to make the eggs speckled. There are a number of ways you can do this, using food dye being the easiest, but I opted for cocoa splatters instead. For this, you’ll want to mix the cocoa with alcohol as the alcohol will evaporate much faster than other liquids. Any flavouring essence will do, preferably a clear one but it doesn’t matter too much for this.
Then you just need to mix them until you get a nice, runny chocolate mixture.
Then it’s time to speckle! You need to use either a new or only-used-for-food-stuff paintbrush, then splatter the cocoa onto the macarons. You can do this by drawing your finger across the bristles, but it’s messy and harder to control (and I hate getting my hands dirty). Instead I enlist the help of a fork. I do this a lot with food colouring (it’s how I got my owl cake‘s feather all speckledy). Just hold the fork above the macarons and drag the brush across the tines to splatter the cocoa everywhere.
Leave it for a few hours or overnight to dry.
Next it’s time to make your ganache. I stuck with my usual method of infusing some tea into the ganache: this time I used a cranberry and pomegranate tea. If you leave the ganache to cool for a little while, you can them whip it to a soft peak. Total matter of preference here, but I love the lightness in both texture and colour you get from whipping it.
If you’re whipping it you’ll need to pipe it immediately after, and sandwich the two halves of the macaron quite soon after they are piped. By the time it’s whipped it has cooled quite a lot and isn’t far from setting.
By the time you’ve got to the end of the batch your first macs will probably be set and ready to dig into!
That said they are nicer if given a day in the fridge for the flavours to mature.
|Easter Egg Macarons|
125g almond meal
150g pure icing sugar
100g egg whites (approx 3 eggs) aged 1-7 days
65g caster sugar
Gel paste or powdered food colouring
1 tsp cocoa
1 tbsp flavouring essence or vodka
150g white chocolate, chopped
2 flavoured tea bags
To assemble, spoon or pipe the honeycomb ganache onto the macaron half of the macaron shells, then sandwich with the other halves. Macs are best after a day in the fridge but can be eaten immediately.