Blackcurrant and Dark Chocolate Macaron. With a crisp outer shell and perfectly chewy interior… Filled with decadently creamy dark chocolate ganache. Naturally gluten free. Macaron shells dairy free.
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Blackcurrant and Dark Chocolate Macaron – perfectly paired flavours
The photos may be old and naff… But these Blackcurrant and Dark Chocolate Macaron are divine. Not only is the texture exactly as it should be… Crisp outer macaron shells encasing soft and chewy almond perfection, which mingles with creamy, rich ganache… But the flavours are a match from heaven.
If you have never paired blackcurrant with dark chocolate before, I urge you to try it. The fruity tang of summer blackcurrant is offset harmoniously by the depth and slight bitterness of the cocoa… Together they leave your taste buds exhilarated and your endorphins buzzing.
Macaron Disasters – the nemesis that is making Macaron
Anyone who has ever made macaron will know that they can be tricky beasts… Particularly when made with the Italian Meringue method. And these Blackcurrant and Dark Chocolate Macaron became a challenge that set my determination on red.
Just prior to attempting them, I made my first ever batch of these little French morsels… A surprisingly successful bake of Raspberry and White Chocolate Macaron. But as often happens (for me at least), achieving something that I had expected to fail left me with over-confidence and a sense of blasé about the trickiness of the task. Lesson 1… Just because you succeed at something once, doesn’t mean it will work the next time. But I learned some important macaron lessons…
For Italian Meringue Macaron, the sugar temperature matters! Having accidentally pressed a button on the digital thermometer just before reaching crucial temperature, I have no idea whether I went over or under. If you don’t know what temperature has been reached… throw the batch away and start again. Throwing away failed macaron at a later stage is a far more expensive mistake.
Whisking the egg whites to frothy only
Do not over-whisk the egg whites before adding the liquid sugar. As a result of the thermometer panic, I lost concentration and left the mixer running. The egg whites went way beyond ‘frothy’. The resulting consistency of the mixture after adding the almonds was so thick and dry, it was almost impossible to fold. With all the air stirred out of the mixture, the resulting blackcurrant ‘macaron’ shells were a batch of flat, squelchy mauve blobs… They were SO disastrous that nothing could be done to salvage them… The bin became their final resting place.
The blackcurrant in Blackcurrant and Dark Chocolate Macaron
For anyone wondering how on earth to get the punchy, tart flavour of blackcurrant into macaron without them becoming a wet mess… It’s a simple fruity trick! Use freeze-dried fruit.
Just as I had with my Raspberry Macaron, I sourced some freeze-dried blackcurrant powder (from my ‘go to’ Healthy Supplies). I absolutely LOVE using freeze-dried fruit in baking. It offers the most intense fruit flavours without adding extra moisture. And because it has been freeze-dried, it keeps all the amazing nutrients locked in as well as the intensity of natural colour. (Although I confess… I did also add the tiniest drop of purple food colour to this mix as well).
Making Ganache for Blackcurrant and Dark Chocolate Macaron
Ganache may seem like something that should be tricky to make, but trust me… It’s the easiest filling ever. It’s simply a case of pouring hot cream over chopped chocolate… Then allowing to melt, while gently stirring until smooth. For the dark chocolate ganache shared below, there is also a small amount of butter added and beaten through at the end, to offer extra textural softness.
But as with making pretty much anything… a little wisdom goes a long way…
Tips for making the best ganache for Blackcurrant and Dark Chocolate Macaron
- Follow the recipe – Ganache’s will vary in consistency depending on their purpose and also the type of chocolate being used. So it’s important to use the ingredients and ratios stated.
- Chop the dark chocolate into small pieces (or use little callets – I use Callebaut for quality, meltability and flavour). The smaller the pieces… The easier they will melt… The smoother and glossier the ganache.
- Cream should be heated to just simmer point only. So… When it is on the hob, keep a very close eye. As soon as you see simmer bubbles starting to appear at the edges of the pan, it is ready.
- Pour the cream over the chocolate and leave to stand for 5 to 10 minutes to allow the chocolate to warm through and start to melt. Poke any bits that are left above the cream line below the surface.
- Then… Stir the chocolate into the cream gently. If you stir too fast or too hard, you risk splitting the ganache. And trust me… split ganache is NOT a good thing.
- Ganache (whatever its purpose) is always best cooled at room temperature. Ganache cooled in the fridge can quickly lose its shine.
Ready to make Blackcurrant and Dark Chocolate Macaron?
I hope you enjoy these Blackcurrant and Dark Chocolate Macaron. If you make them, leave a comment to let me know how you got on. Or tag me on social media with your delicious macaron photos. You can find me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Pinterest.
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More amazing gluten free recipes for using egg whites
Blackcurrant and Dark Chocolate Macaron
- stand mixer
- Small saucepan
- Accurate digital cooking thermometer
- oven + hob
- piping bag(s) (with 1 cm open round nozzle) – I use disposable bags
Macaron Shells (Italian Meringue Method)
- 200 g icing sugar confectioners/powdered sugar
- 200 g ground almonds almond meal
- 150 g egg white split into 2x 75g portions (see NOTES)
- 3 tsp freeze dried blackcurrant powder
- a little purple food colouring paste or powder (NOT liquid) – or blue & red
- 200 g caster sugar (superfine sugar)
- 50 ml/g water
Dark Chocolate Ganache Filling
- 125 ml/g double cream heavy cream
- 275 g good quality dark chocolate cut into small pieces 70% cacao or above.
- 60 g unsalted butter at room temperature
- freeze dried blackcurrant powder to decorate
Macaron Shells (Italian Meringue Method)
- Prepare 3 to 4 baking sheets by lining with baking paper. The baking papers should have circles drawn on the underside about the size of a 2 pence piece and spaced about 2.5 cm/1 inch apart.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the icing sugar, almonds and 75g egg white. Beat with an electric whisk until fully combined.
- Add the blackcurrant powder and food dye and beat again.
- Preferably using a free-standing mixer, put the rest of the egg white (75g) into the spotlessly clean and grease-free bowl. (rub down with lemon juice to de-grease).
- In a very small saucepan, mix the caster sugar and water and heat very slowly. Use a cooking thermometer to check the temperature accurately. You want the temperature to reach exactly 117 C/242 F.
- While the sugar is heating, very gently whisk the egg whites in the mixer bowl until just frothy and airy (do NOT over-whisk).
- When the sugar syrup has reached the required temperature, remove from the heat and add to the egg whites whilst continuing to whisk slowly.
- Turn up the speed of the mixer a little (not to high speed) and continue to whisk until the mixture is stiff enough to form stiff peaks. You now have Italian meringue.
- Preheat the oven to 150 C/300 F/Gas 2.
- Add the blackcurrant almond mix that you made earlier to the Italian meringue and beat slowly for about 30 seconds.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix again for about 30 seconds until combined. The consistency of the mix is important at this stage and should ‘flow smoothly’ when tipped from the spoon back into the bowl, yet gently ‘spread back into a flat, even surface’. (ie not to thick or too runny)
- Transfer the mixture into a piping bag with a 1cm plain round nozzle.
- At right angles to the tray (upright), pipe small mounds of batter into the centre of the marked circles on the baking paper, until the batter almost fills the circle. Swirl the nozzle to separate, before moving on to the next circle.
- Leave the piped batter circles to stand for 15 to 20 minutes until they have the appearance of a slight skin forming across the surface (this should be dry to a light touch).
- Bake for about 7 minutes and then swap the trays round and bake for a further 4-5 minutes. Watch very closely in case the edges begin to catch. The macaron are baked when the top is smooth and dry and they are firm to the touch. (Bake in batches as necessary)
- Remove from the oven and as they begin to cool, very gently transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Dark Chocolate Ganache Filling
- Break the chocolate into small pieces in a heat proof bowl.
- Heat the cream in a saucepan until it is just beginning to start to simmer at the edges, then remove from the heat and immediately pour over the chocolate.
- Leave to sit for 4 to 5 minutes and then stir until the chocolate has completely melted and the ganache mixture is smooth. If any lumps of chocolate remain, place the bowl over a saucepan with a small amount of just-simmering water and gently heat and stir until smooth.
- Add the butter to slightly-cooled ganache and beat with a whisk or hand blender until smooth.
- Either set aside at room temperature to allow to firm up enough to pipe. Or…If needing to use more quickly, place in the fridge for 5 to 10 minutes to cool and stiffen very slightly. Keep a close eye to ensure the ganache doesn't become too hard and stir it frequently.
- Pair up the macaron shells in a row one top side up, one top side down.
- Transfer the ganache to a piping bag fitted with a 1 cm nozzle.
- Pipe a blob of ganache into the centre of each of the flat-facing macaron shells and sandwich together with the second shell, gently squeezing together until the filling can be seen at the edge.
- Sprinkle with a little freeze-dried blackcurrant powder on top for decoration.
- Store in the fridge, but bring back to room temperature to eat and enjoy at their best.
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