Week 6+7 - Macarons Chloé - Pierre Hermé Macaron

Ladies and gents, this is our 6th article for week 7 or our #Fridaycookbookproject! What happened there? Oh you know, I was just too busy that week 6 and decided to go easy on myself and give myself a break. Also, knowing what I know about macarons, I imagined this article would need to be thought through a bit more than the others so I don’t just mindlessly overwhelm you with too many details and just focus on the bigger picture. And the pictures - my favorite part. :). One thing to know about me is that I probably made over 40.000 macarons in my life. Sounds crazy, right? I know. And it really is.  Long story short, I spent a lot of effort to perfect mine and then used that knowledge at many cafés and pop up festivals. It was a fun time. Now the long story and the actual recipe for those who are still with me:

You see, macarons are the right cookies to get to a regular perfectionist. But a control freak like me, oh we can get really wired. So a long time ago, I started, succeeded for the first time and then not again until attempt #39. That’s a fact. And obviously something that happens to a lot of people, for some reason! Must be the beginners luck. Anyway, being the nitpicky person I am, I couldn’t give it a rest until I saw the perfect results again. But what are the perfect macarons? 

Let’s not go too deep in this article since I am trying to keep it short and actionable (I once wrote an 18 page article about them and that didn’t even cover everything so …), but it’s important to know what a perfect macarons should look like, so you know what to aim for (psst - I made ALL od these mistakes at some point):

1. The foot / skirt or whatever you want to call it - most iconic and tell-tale sign of a true, well created macaron - the frilly layer around the bottom of the cookie. Without it, you made a delicious cookie, perhaps, but not a macaron. Sorry.  In the same time, the foot shouldn’t be too tall, which would indicate a hollow cookie shell which is WRONG, too. Stressed, yet?

2. Flat smooth top  without wrinkles, oil stains, cracks, irregularities, points, lumps, domes… Just smooth and nice. 

3. Regular circle shaped cookie shells - not lopsided. 

4. Nice color, not too flamboyant, more like muted and pastel. No one wants to eat a ton of food coloring, even though according to pastry chefs, macarons are the one type of sweets where food coloring is not seen as a bad thing. Also, traditionally the color should make sense and correspond with what the filling is made with. For example, who wants pink pistachio macarons, right? 

5. Not eaten immediately after filling. The right macarons need at least 24 hours of rest in the fridge, depending on the moistness of the particular filling so that the cookie shells can absorb some of it and are crisp (not hard, though) on the top and nice and chewy inside.

6. Spelled MACARONS and never, never, never MACAROONS. That’s a completely different cookie, made with coconut. Macarons, on the other hand, are sandwich cookies - the shells are standardly made of almonds flour, egg whites and sugar though there are ways to give those various flavors, too, and actually Pierre Hermé, the author of this week’s book, could tell you all about that. Anyway, the different flavors come mainly from the fillings. We’ll talk more about that later. 

Sounds hard, right? That’s because it is. Plus, there is literally no recipe in the world that will work for everyone! It very much depends on the technique and conditions, too (yes, seriously, the weather - as in humidity especially). But you’re a tough cookie (…). You are still here and willing to learn! And you shall succeed… one day. Or today! But you won’t know if you don’t try, so let’s get to it. Let this fact be of comfort to you - even big, famous Parisian  pastry house toss about 20% of their daily production due to imperfections! :) Ready?

I personally normally use a different recipe that works best for me and that is a result of my almost 40 initial, carefully monitored and recorded attempts. Anyway, I have to say that Pierre’s recipe worked really well for me, too! Both are using the so called Italian meringue which is made using hot sugar syrup (while the French method used for example by Pierre’s biggest competitor house, Ladurée, uses just regular cold meringue. Hey, did you know that there was a Swiss method, too? Don’t even get me started about that one!) However, just remember these few pointers:

1. Always sift your almonds flour after mixing it with powdered sugar. Otherwise the clumps may cause problems later.

2. Use GEL food coloring and not liquid. It will help keep the batter the right consistency. If you only have liquid coloring, use no coloring. It’s ok.

3. It’s really great to have a candy thermometer but if you don’t have one, either get one (highly recommended and especially for macarons) or if you really can’t, to tell the right temperature for the sugar, watch for big bubbles first that then turn into small bubbles and the liquid doesn’t seem so liquidy anymore. It’s hard to guess temperatures, get the thermometer. 

4. Age your egg whites. That means, separate them and keep them in a plastic foil container with a few holes poked in the top in the fridge for a few days, then bring them to room temperature before baking. Trust me, it helps.

5. Don’t overwhip your egg whites, you want soft peaks, not stiff peaks. Seriously, if it’s too much, there will be too much air in the mixture and you’ll either have to overmix the batter to get what looks like the right consistency but will actually end with very flat cookies, or you will not overmix, the batter will not get deflated enough and the cookies will be hollow. Soft peaks are the solution!

6. Once it gets to folding the ingredients together - folding is the key words. Be gentle but not overly so, envision the shape of the letter J when you first scrape through the dough across the bowl towards yourself and then curve it. Turn the bowl (a quarter turn) and then again, a few times. This phase is the most crucial (yeah, another most crucial phase there) to successfully fulfill all of my expectations, which is what you want to do, right? :)

7. And finally, don’t overbake them. You know that they are done once they stop wiggling when you push on the side of one gently. Take them out of the oven and let the sheet sit and cool down before you peel them off your liner of choice, be it parchment paper, silpat or a special macarons mat (not necessary).

Ok, here goes my interpretation of one of Pierre Hermé’s recipes. We’ll just do one color shells to begin with though the original has both brown for chocolate shells and pink for the raspberry shells. The filling (you guessed it) is a combination of both flavors, yummy yummy! Hope you like my choice. I went with the pink shells because it was righty before Valentine’s Day. 

This time, I’ll actually give you a list of ingredients because having everything prepared and weighed before moving forward. Yes, that’s right, a scale is unavoidable for this recipe and we will use grams (g). Do not be scared. Be proud of yourself. Be brave and let me know how it worked for you. I bet it will. You got it! 

You’ll get about 35-50 macarons, depending on the size.


For the macaron shells:

  • 150 g fine ground almond flour
  • 150 g powdered sugar
  • a few drops of gel pink food coloring (or brown, if you’re so inclined)
  • 110 g aged egg whites (divided into 2 parts)
  • 38 g  still mineral or filtered water 
  • 150 g fine granulated sugar
  • salt
  • 20 g freeze-dried raspberries

For the chocolate-raspberry ganache:

  • 140 g nice dark chocolate (over 60% cacao)
  • 160 g fresh raspberries
  • 100 g unsalted butter (temperature room)
  • extra 25 fresh raspberries


Put the almond flour and the powdered sugar in a food processor and pulse them together a few times with a very tiny pinch of salt. Then sift this mixture into a large bowl. You have successfully created a so called tant-pour-tant (referring to the equal parts of both of those ingredients).

Mix the food coloring with half of the egg whites (55 g) and pour this on top of the tant-pour-tant. Don’t mix in yet.

Pour the egg whites into a very clean and definitely not oily bowl of a stand mixer. Put the granulated sugar and mineral water in a saucepan and boil. The goal is to bring it to 244F / 118°C.  No stirring!

Once the temperature of the sugar syrup reaches 239F / 115°C, start whipping the egg whites on high speed. Once the goal temperature is reached, turn the mixer to medium-high speed and pour the sugar syrup into the egg whites (toward the sides of the bowl so the hot syrup doesn’t splash around). Keep whisking until the meringue reaches 122 F / 50°C which is when the soft peaks should be reached. It will depend on multiple factors so I would emphasize the softness of the peaks over the temperature  or the meringue to be the main decision factor.

Now for the macaronnage Using a plastic or silicone spatula, fold the meringue into the tant-pour-tant and the colored egg whites. The goal is to deflate the batter a bit and mix everything well. Clean the spatula halfway on the edge of the bowl and incorporate that, too. Don’t forget to scrape the bottom of the bowl. 

Stop mixing once the consistency of the batter is ribbon-like (also often described as lava-like, but who really knows what that’s like…), which means that it will nicely fall off the spatula in one flowy streak back into the bowl and disappear after a bit into the rest of the batter. Seriously, don’t go any longer than that because overmixed batter is the worst, it will flatten out like a chocolate chip cookie, the edges will burn etc. Undermixed is 100 times better, though it might crack on top or be hollow or pointy. But it will taste good. So stop mixing.

Transfer the batter into a pastry bag with a small round tip (with an opening no larger than 1/2 inch or 11 cm) and line a flat baking tray with your liner of choice, parchment paper is fine. You’ll need about 2-3 baking trays for this recipe. Pipe out rounds of about 1.5 inches (3.5 cm) in size and far apart enough so they don’t stick to each other when they spread out (3/4 inch or 2 cm is enough}. 

Now rap the baking tray 4-6 times on the counter (I just pick it up a bit and let it fall down) to get rid of air bubbles and smooth out the surface. It’s a very important step so make sure not to miss it. Then let it sit in room temperature for about 30 minutes or until  you can gently run a finger over the top of the macaron without it sticking. You want the surface to have dried out before baking which will help it keep the shape and “grow up” in the oven. Another essential step.

Preheat the oven to 350F / 180°C and then place the baking tray in. Bake for 12 minutes total - 6 minutes, quickly open the door to release the moisture, another 3 minutes baking, again release the moisture and finish baking another 3 minutes. Then check if they are firm enough - gently push on the side of one with your finger and see how much it wiggles, if it’s just a bit, take them out. If still a lot, give them another minute or 2. Bake the next tray.

Right after taking the tray out of the oven, sift some crushed freeze-dried raspberries on the shells using a fine mesh sieve. It will smell good and look pretty and still stick pretty well while if you did this before baking, it might turn brown and loose the aroma. Let the tray rest on a cooling rack until completely cold and really don’t try to peel one off before that. You will likely ruin it and get all disappointed - no need for that. Once they have cooled down, they should come off with no effort. Set them aside while you prepare the filling.

For the filling, puree the raspberries in a food mill, then bring the puree to a boil. Set aside. Melt the chopped dark chocolate and stir the puree into it in thirds. Let it cool off in room temperature. Once it has cooled down to about 140 F / 60°C, stir in the room temperature butter until funny incorporated, then blend until smooth using an immersion blender. Transfer the ganache into a bowl, cover with a lid and let it chill in the fridge for about 2 hours. When the consistency is creamy, it’s ready. If it chills longer, it will likely become too hard to work with and you’ll have to wait for it to soften up a bit again. 


Transfer the ganache in a pastry bag with a round tip (same size as before is fine). Prepare half of the macaron shells and turn them flat side up. Pipe a rounded layer of filling on them and then place half a raspberry in the middle. Take the other half shell, try to find the size that fits the best since they are likely not all the same size, and place it flat side down on the filling. Gently twist while pushing down and connect the two shells into a beautiful cookie sandwich. 

All they need now is about 24 hours in an air tight closed container in the fridge to mature and they should be ready to go. They should feel fragile, a bit crisp on top and around, holed their shape well and then when you bite them, crunch a tiny bit and give in, revealing the moist center of the cookie part mixed with the delicious chocolate-raspberry filling.

They are such versatile little sweets, so many options for fillings, we can get into that some other time. Pierre Hermé has always been my macaron idol and his photographer Laurent Fau has been my photography inspiration.  For this article I created some images inspired by his style that he uses throughout Pierre’s cookbooks and other printed pieces. 

So, how did it go? Waiting to hear all about your experience with my recipe! Definitely reach out to me if you have any comments or questions, I love talking to people about food! 

*Recipe is inspired by Pierre Hermé’s cookbook Macaron: The Ultimate Recipes from the Master Pâtissier.

Text and photographs © Andrea Gralow 2020. All rights reserved.

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