A sweet and savoury delight, this mind blowing creation features edible flowers and milk and white chocolate.
Preheat oven to 135 degrees celsius.
Process almond meal and icing sugar in food processor to a fine powder for approx. 30 seconds. Do not over process. Sift almond meal and icing sugar together in separate bowl.
Add sugar, food colouring and 1/3 cup water to saucepan and bring to 117 degrees celsius.
Meanwhile add 110g egg whites to mixer and whisk to soft peaks.
Once sugar syrup is at temp add to egg whites on fast speed in a slow steady stream down the side of the bowl. Do not pour over whisk as you will end up with spunsugar and this is a big no no, and whip until thick and glossy.
Add to sifted almond meal and add other 110g egg whites. Mix well to the consistency of lava.
Put mixture into piping bag fitted with 11mm plain nozzle and pipe small rounds 50c coin size onto lined baking trays. Tap tray gently on bench to flatten macarons and remove air bubbles. Let rest until shell is dry to touch and then cook for 28 minutes.
Repeat for lime shells.
Whilst cooking make ganache by cooking bacon to release oil. Once done add to cream and butter and bring to boil. Strain cream over chocolate and mix well until smooth.
For the lime ganache add lime juice to cream and butter and bring to boil and add to chocolate until smooth. Refrigerate both until required.
Remove ganache from fridge. It should be thick but not firm. Just allow it to come to room temp if it is too hard. Now you add the ganache to the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk until it is light and fluffy and has thickened slightly. To fill macarons pipe small rounds of ganache into centre of one biscuit and sandwich with another pressing ganache to the edge of biscuit. Refrigerate until required.
Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius.
Melt butter, sugar and syrup. Mix dry ingredients and mix in butter mix until well combined. Add a little water if mix is dry until dough consistency. Roll out dough to 4mm and cut out discs for tower using templates. To support your discs you can use discs of gingerbread slighty smaller than your tiers.ie: if your bottom tier is 30cm then the supports would be 15-20cm. Proceed to cut the discs as required to create the structure. Take note as to the width of the macarons as this will determine how many support discs you will require. Cook in preheated oven for approx. 8-12 minutes
Let all gingerbread cool. Now to build it.
Assemble tower by placing largest gingerbread disc on cake board and top with enough smaller discs to allow macarons to fit in gap. Use melted chocolate or ganache as glue to hold structure in place. To finish the lime macarons. Zest remaining limes and roll macarons on their end in the zest to create a ring of the zest around the macaron.Place macarons in alternating rows as you assemble the structure so they can support each other. Repeat until the 6 layers are erected. Dress with edible flowers.
The Great Australian Bake Off Companion cookbook is published by Hachette Australia, RRP $39.99.
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