Tonka bean macarons
• 2 tonka bean
• 150g ground almonds
• 150g icing sugar
• 110g egg whites (4 egg whites – but weigh them to be sure)
• 165g white sugar (granulated or caster)
• 35ml water
Use a nutmeg grater to grind a tonka bean. Sieve the powder finely and discard any larger pieces.
Combine the icing sugar, ground almonds and ground tonka in a bowl and sieve well. Set aside.
Put 55g of egg whites in a bowl. Whisk very lightly (they should remain liquid). Set aside.
Whisk the other 55g of egg whites until it reaches the firm peak stage.
Put the white sugar and water in a saucepan. Heat gently until it reaches the “soft ball” stage (118°C, or when you drop a little of the sugar into cold water, it forms a soft ball). I find this happens once all the sugar dissolves and the mixture boils. Once ready, pour in a thin stream into the whipped egg whites, beating continuously. This is best done using a Kitchen Aid or beater. Allow to cool to just above room temperature.
Add the remaining liquid egg whites to the almond mixture.
Add one-third of the meringue to the almond mixture and combine. Add another third, combine, then add the remainder of the meringue. With a light hand, mix well until you have a smooth, glossy batter.
Pipe the batter onto a sheet of greaseproof paper on a baking sheet. Leave to sit in the open for 20-30 minutes, then bake at 150°C for 15 minutes. Half-way through cooking, turn the baking sheet around.
Once cooked, remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet. Assemble the macarons with the filling of your choice.
For the chocolate ganache:
• 80g chocolate, finely chopped (dark or white)
• 60g double cream (if using dark chocolate) or 50g double cream (if using white chocolate)
• 1/2 tonka bean, finely ground
• 20g unsalted butter, at room temperature
Put the chocolate into a bowl.
In a saucepan, heat the cream with the tonka bean. Bring to the boil, allow to sit for a moment, then pour over the chocolate. Stir until the chocolate has melted and there are no lumps.
Finally, add the butter, and stir until smooth.
Allow the mixture to cool, and place into the fridge until set. Use in a piping bag to fill the macarons.