Chilli Chocolate Macarons


I've been fascinated with macarons ever since we started selling them at the luxury department store I used to work at. I tasted every flavour we sold and as soon as I tasted one I thought; this is genius! This aesthetically pleasing, round and compact little meringue that is crunchy on the first bite, yet as soon as you reach the the centre, the texture turns into to a  velvety, chewy and creamy ganache that is full of flavour.

I bought the Pierre Herme macaron book some time last year and have been trying to find a good time to actually attempt to bake some macarons. It was quite overwhelming at first seeing all these different ingredients, but I thought I would take the plunge this week. 

And I did it!

I adapted the recipe a little as not only was I using my own flavour but some ingredients such as cacao pate and 'La Viette' butter I couldn't attain easily. I also halved the recipe as in the book they made 72 macarons at a time!

I would really recommend the book, the pictures are beautiful and instructions are given step by step with pictures.
(adapted from Pierre Herme's 'Bitter Chocolate Macaron' recipe  in the book  'Macarons')

For the macaron shells:
60g good quality dark chocolate, chopped
150g ground almonds
150g icing sugar
55g egg whites


150g caster sugar
37g mineral water
55g egg whites
finely chopped chilli flakes for decoration, optional

For the chilli chocolate ganache
200g creme fraiche
200g Lindt chilli chocolate
70g butter, chopped into small cubes
finely chopped chilli flakes to increase heat to taste, optional

To make the macaron shells, firstly sift together the ground almonds and icing sugar. Melt the chopped chocolate at 50˚C over a pan of barely simmering water. Place one portion of the 55g liquefied egg whites with the ground almonds and icing sugar - but do not stir.

In a small pan, pour in the mineral water and then the caster sugar and bring to boil. With the use of a digital thermometer, when the syrup reaches 115˚C, start to simultaneously whisk the second portion of egg whites to soft peaks. When the syrup reaches 118˚C, pour it over the egg whites and whisk at high speed for one minute. Then, reduce the speed to medium speed for 2 minutes. 

When this mixture has cooled to 50˚C, pour it into the ground almond/icing sugar bowl. Stir and fold in the melted chocolate. Your batter is now ready to be piped! On a baking try covered with greaseproof paper, pipe circles of 3.5cm in diameter that are 2cm apart. Sprinkle some finely chopped chilli flakes for decoration on top if desired (use sparingly, can be quite hot!). Tap the tray to smooth the batter. Leave to rest for half an hour with a kitchen towel covering it.

The macaron batter should now have formed a skin. Preheat an oven to 180˚C and bake the macarons for 12 minutes, opening the door at 8 and 10 minutes to let steam escape. When ready, take the shells out and slide the greaseproof paper straight onto the work surface.

For the ganache, melt the chilli chocolate over simmering water and bring the creme fraiche to boil in another pan. Take the chocolate off the heat and pour the creme fraiche into the chocolate in thirds, stirring with a whisk each time from the centre outwards. When the mixture is 50˚C, put in a few cubes of butter at a time and whisk for a smooth ganache. Taste the mixture and add some chilli flakes if necessary if you want a hotter ganache.

Pour into a gratin dish and press cling film over the surface of the ganache. Place in the fridge to thicken. 

You can now assemble the macarons by piping the ganache onto the shells after they cool!