Ingredients and Method
Have you ever wondered what is the key to success when cooking French desserts? A lot of it comes down to using good quality salt. It makes the world of difference. Below is our recipe for salted caramel macaroons. We wouldn't ever dare make it with anything less than a top shelf salt. This recipe calls for Fleur de Sel ... one of our all time fave dessert salts.
For the macarons:
500g ground almonds
900g icing sugar
440g egg white
fleur de sel
Sieve the ground almonds and icing sugar into a mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer, whisk the egg whites at high speed until you see a line made by the whisk going round. Add sugar while the mixer is at medium speed and beat until meringue is stiff. Fold the meringue into the dry ingredients: do not overfold it.
Pipe the mixture onto a silicone mat or an oiled baking tray - they should be around 3cm in diameter. If the mixture is too thick, you will see a tip sticking up from the balls: give the tray a small tap to ensure a nice smooth surface. Leave the piped macarons out for 30 minutes so that a skin can form. Bake at 160 °C in a fan oven for approximately 14-16 minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle each macaron with a little fleur de sel and leave to cool on a wire rack. Let macarons cool until you have made the caramel for filing.
For the caramel:
1 vanilla pod, split
140g unsalted butter, chilled
3/4 teaspoon fleur de sel
Cook the sugar in a large, heavy pot, stirring all the time, until it is an even caramel. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla pod and add both to the caramel. Warm the cream, then add a little at a time: be careful as it may splatter. Add the fleur de sel. Stir thoroughly, then cool the mixture to just over blood heat. Cut the chilled butter into cubes and stir in one at a time using an immersion blender. Blend until the caramel is smooth and glossy. Cover the surface of the caramel with cling film to prevent a skin from forming and chill in the refrigerator until needed.
When the macarons and the caramel have cooled completely, sandwich two macarons together with a little caramel and leave to set.