Bet you took a double take when you saw the title. I wasn’t kidding about the pimenton in the macaron.
It began on a gloomy and grey day that made me start to dream of chilli chocolate. I’m not sure about you but I do enjoy the hot and spicy kick in my dark chocolate every once in a while.
While I didn’t find any chilli chocolate in my kitchen, I stumbled upon the little fire engine red tin box of pimenton, a Spanish smoked paprika, that I bought at the Borough market in London.
That red box sparked my chilli chocolate macaron experiment.
The dark chocolate and pimenton macaron is not weird as it sounds. Once you take a bite of it, the flavours actually come together very nicely.
The smoky, spice flavour from the pimenton works well with the 70% dark chocolate that I’ve used and I think the light sprinkling of fleur de sel helped lift its flavour.
I have to say that the smoky flavours were much more pronounced as compared to the spicy flavour – not in a bad way but you will probably get less heat than if you use chilli flakes for a chilli chocolate ganache.
What are some of the more eccentric macaron flavours that you have tried and liked immensely? Do share. You can check out my peanut butter and jelly macarons post and my candy cane macarons for some of the more adventurous macaron flavours that I’ve made.
I know that I’m going to be baking Pierre Hermé white chocolate and olive oil macaron soon. I haven’t tried it but from what I heard, t’s amazing.
Recipe: Dark chocolate and pimenton macaron
Makes 30-35 regular macarons
You can find my guide to making chocolate macarons using the Italian meringue method (which is more forgiving) in this back to basics post. The Italian meringue method works better for people new to baking macarons because it produces a more stable macaron mixture. You just need a sugar thermometer for that purpose.
The recipe below uses a French meringue method. It produces the most beautiful macaron feet if you manage to get it right.
Macaron shells (French meringue method)
Recipe adapted from Le Cordon Bleu
Makes 60-70 regular sized shells
120g ground almond meal
10g cocoa powder
130g icing sugar
100g egg whites, aged if possible, at room temperature
pinch of cream of tar tar
120g caster sugar
- Prepare your baking trays: Place baking parchment on trays.
- Process the almond meal in a food processor. Then, dry the ground almond meal in a 100 degrees celcius oven for approximately 15 minutes, or until it doesn’t clump together when pressed between two fingers.
- Sift together the ground almond meal, cocoa powder and icing sugar.
- Make a french meringue: begin by whisking the egg whites in a clean, grease-free mixer bowl at low speed. Add in the cream of tar tar when the egg whites turn foamy.
- Increase the speed to medium-high and whisk until soft peaks before adding the caster sugar gradually.
- When all the sugar has been added, increase the speed to high and whisk until stiff and glossy peaks. You will know when it’s ready if you lift the whisk and the mixture is firm and doesn’t droop. (see picture above)
- Add in 1/4 of the meringue mixture to your almond meal and icing sugar mixture. Fold them together. You do not have to be too careful about knocking the air out at this point. What you want is to lighten the mixture to a similar consistency as the meringue so it is easier to fold through the rest of the meringue.
- Add in the remaining 3/4 of the meringue and fold gently to incorporate.
- When it is well-combined, smear the mixture against the sides of the bowl with your spatula to achieve macaronage. This should be done about 10- 12 times to achieve a smooth, glossy mixture, without holding peaks. When you lift your spatula, the mixture should fall in about 5-6 seconds. The consistency should be similar to your choux pastry mixture.
- When it is done, fill the macaron mixture into a piping bag with plain nozzle size 8 or 10 and pipe the macaron shells onto a baking sheet. Try to pipe them as evenly as possible and leave about 1/2 inch gap in between the macarons. The mixture will spread a little.
- After piping the macaron shells, rap the tray against the kitchen counter a couple of times. This will help the pied (or foot) of the macarons to form.
- Let the macarons rest for about 30-45 minutes in an air-conditioned environment until they have form a skin and the batter does not stick to your fingers when you touch it.
- Bake in a preheated oven on the center rack at 165 degrees celcius for about 15 minutes and allow it to dry in the oven, with the oven door slightly ajar for 2-3 minutes. The macaron shells are ready when the bases are dry. You can try lifting one shell out to test, it shouldn’t stick to the baking parchment.
- Allow the macaron shells to cool on its baking tray before attempting to peel them off the baking sheet. They would release themselves more easily after they are cooled.
Dark chocolate and pimenton ganache
Fills about 30-35 regular macarons
150g dark chocolate, chopped (I used 70% dark chocolate)
160ml cream (33-35% fat cream. In some places, it is called pure cream or double cream.)
3/4 tsp pimenton (or to taste)
1/2 tsp fleur de sel (or to taste)
1. Heat cream in a pot until it comes to a boil.
2. Pour cream over chopped chocolate and add pimenton. Stir with a rubber spatula until well incorporated. Add in fleur de sel to taste. At this point, the ganache is still warm and flows like a thick liquid
3. Chill down the bowl of chocolate ganache in the freezer until it is cold but not frozen solid (about 5-10 minutes) so that you can start whipping cold air using a whisk into the ganache. You can do this a few times until your ganache has a buttercream consistency (piping consistency).
- Pair up similar sized macaron shells together before you begin piping the filling.
- Using a plain nozzle size no 8 or 10, pipe the cream cheese frosting in the centre of one of the macaron shells. Place the second shell on top of it and twist it gently until the filling comes right to the edges of the macaron.
- Place it into the fridge to allow the macarons to mature at least 24 hours before consuming. This maturation process is important for the macaron shells to absorb the flavours and moisture from the filling giving it a nice chewy center.
* Finish the matured macarons within a few days, otherwise the shell will be too soft.