If you're up for something different, try these gorgeous Macarons.
For the macaron, in a saucepan, combine caster sugar and water and bring to the boil – wet down sides top avoid sugar crystals forming (you are making a basic Italian meringue with heated sugar syrup). Using a candy thermometer, wait for the temperature to reach 118 degrees minimum. Meanwhile, prepare 95g of the eggs whites in a stand mixer. When the syrup is nearly at right temperature, turn on the mixer to break up the egg whites, start beating to slightly frothy stage. Once syrup is right temperature, drip stream it into the egg whites while the mixer is on a slower to medium speed (to avoid hot splash back). Once all incorporated, turn mixer to medium-high and let it run until the mixture has cooled below 50 degrees – cooler to the touch stage. While cooling is occurring, sieve almond meal and icing sugar three times through the finest sieve you have. Discard the large bits that don’t pass (you may need to add back a tablespoon or more of the almond meal if it s a course meal). Prepare the remaining egg whites and blend the food colouring to the shade you want it. With the salt, mix in the almond meal/icing sugar mixture with the coloured egg whites until all mixed well, scraping down the spatula regularly. Set aside. Heat up the oven to 170°C. Use the law of quarters to blend in 195 grams of the Italian meringue to the coloured almond mixture; do not over mix!!!! Crucial stage. Spoon into piping bag with an 8 to 9mm plastic piping tip. Pipe onto over trays using the template to get straight long lines. Then slam those babies hard onto your counters to release any air bubbles. Oven ready, pop them in oven and bake for 10 minutes. You can bake two trays at a time. Leave them to cool on the oven trays – do not attempt to touch or move them until completely cooled.
For the fig jam, while this is all going on, top and tail all the figs and quarter them. Place in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat and boil for approx 10-15 minutes until the figs are fat and squishy. Using a slotted spoon, remove the figs. With the leftover liquid, add in the sugar, the lemon seeds wrapped in cheesecloth and bring to the boil again for a couple of minutes until sugar is dissolved. Add in the vanilla paste and the lemon juice. Boil for five minutes. Add back in the figs and boil until it’s thickened. When you are happy with the consistency, remove the cheesecloth and discard it. Using a stick blender, break down the remaining figs to the consistency you want the jam. For this, you don’t want large lumpy bits – keep it as small as possible without making it a mushy puree. Store in a sterilised jar (and in this case, spread onto a glad wrap lined cookie tray, cover in cling wrap to help it cool quickly for assembly). For this, spoon into a piping bag with a smallish plastic tips –5mm is about right if you haven’t left the jam too lumpy. Set aside for assembly.
For the Crème di gorgonzola, while everything is cooling, break up the gorgonzola into pieces and smooth together with most of the mascarpone. Keep testing it as you mix it and add extra mascarpone until you get the kick you want from the cream – spoon into a piping bag with a 6-7mm plastic tip on it and set aside for assembly.
For the prosciutto, time to work on your willpower as you finely hand chop it without eating any of it (good luck with that). In a small frying pan, lightly pan fry it until it’s crispy but not burned – I highly recommend a medium heat and stay with it. Allow to cool on a plate lined with absorbent paper towel. How dark you take the fry is up to your taste – I like it dark to almost burnt – fine balancing act. Do NOT oil or butter the frying pan – yuck.
For the assembly, match up the macarons so that are evenly paired. It sounds silly but it adds to uniformity. Mix Dior gold with some rose spirit and paint long the length of the macaron in a pattern or paint flecks the way you like it. Pipe along one side (and on one side) the gorgonzola cream. Next to it, pipe the fig jam. Place the two sides together but on a slight angle so once side is slightly more open. Add on the crumbed fried parma prosciutto. Arrange on a plate and serve straight away.
This recipe has not been edited or tested by the Bake Off Food Department
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