The amazing Lucy made these tasty treats and shared them with us on Instagram. Check out her Instagram feed for a sneak peak into her life as a mum with twins.
Strawberry macaron shell
140g almond meal
150g pure icing sugar
10g strawberry dust
55g egg whites
150g caster sugar
Pink gel food colouring
55g egg whites
Strawberry cheesecake filling
60g unsalted butter, room temperature
80g icing sugar mixture
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
100g cream cheese, softened
To make the shells: Put the almond meal and icing sugar into a food processor and process for about 30 seconds, just to make it extra fine. Pour them into a large bowl with the strawberry dust. Add the first lot of egg whites and a few drops of food colouring. Mix it all together and if you like, add more food colouring until desired colour is reached. Cover until needed.
Put the second lot of egg whites into the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment (or hand mixer). Prepare a piping bag and 2 cookie sheets with baking paper, or use silicone macaron mats.
Put the caster sugar and water into a small saucepan. Bring to a slow boil over low/medium heat. Once it reaches around 90०c, start whisking the egg whites (on their own in the separate bowl) until thicker and a bit foamy, about a minute. Remove sugar syrup from stove once the temperature is over 100०c. Put beaters on medium speed and slowly pour syrup into the foamy egg whites to make the meringue. Once all added, turn the speed to high for about 2 minutes. Check the consistency and scrape down any syrup from the sides or bottom. Put it back on medium for about a minute. Check the consistency again. It should be less stiff than a regular meringue mixture, but still hold peaks, and it should have cooled down to about 40-50०c. Pour 1/3 of the meringue into the pink almond meal/icing sugar mixture. Mix it all together until colour and texture is even, you can be a bit rough with it at this stage. Add the rest of the meringue mixture and fold it in more gently. Once all mixed together push the mixture up against the sides of the bowl and fold back into the centre. Do that for roughly a minute, until the texture resembles lava. Just tip the bowl from side to side to see how it moves.
Put the mixture into a piping bag and pipe onto your cookie sheets. If you’re not using a template count to the same number each time you pipe a shell, so they end up roughly the same size. Once you’ve piped out all of the mixture, tap each tray on the bench about 10 times; this releases any air bubbles that will cause your shells to be hollow in the middle. Turn on your oven to 150०c (fan-forced). Leave your shells on the bench to dry for about 15-30 minutes. After 15 minutes touch the surface of a few macarons to check if they stick to your finger, if they do, leave them 10 more minutes. They need to form a skin and so your finger should only leave a small imprint in your shell, not remove any mixture with it.
While they are drying out, make your strawberry cheesecake filling: In the bowl of your electric stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter until smooth. Add the icing sugar, strawberry dust and vanilla extract. Beat until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Add the cream cheese in two parts, scraping down the bowl in between. Beat until the mixture is smooth. Place in the fridge until needed.
When the shells are dry, put them in the oven for 15 minutes, swapping the trays over halfway through so they are evenly cooked. Before removing from the oven ensure they’re no longer soft by trying to lift one off the tray, if it comes freely then they are ready, if it won’t budge, leave another 2 minutes. Keep doing this until ready. They should take anywhere between 15-25 minutes. The cooking process is tricky, so don’t leave them alone for very long! Check on them every few minutes if needed.
Remove to a cooling rack. Take your cheesecake filling out of the fridge and check the consistency. You want your filling to be quite stiff, but soft enough to pipe. A filling that is too soft won’t hold up when you push the shells together. Match up shells to similar sizes and lay out on the bench. Pipe your filling onto one shell, leaving about 5mm around the edge, then gently push and twist the other shell onto it. Put into a container and wrap the container tightly and securely in cling wrap or similar – moisture is not their friend!
These taste best a day or 2 after you’ve made them, and will keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks if wrapped securely. Enjoy!