Doctor's Review: Medicine on the Move

December 8, 2021
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Pierre Hermé’s chocolate-filled macarons

Chef Pierre Hermé is renowned for his innovative French pastry creations. He’s the owner of two pastry boutiques in Paris and five in Tokyo, and his macarons are legendary. He produces simple macarons flavoured with chocolate, hazelnut and chestnut, and more exotic ones made with rose, lychee, and raspberries that he calls “Ispahan.” Macarons made with bananas, passion fruit, ginger and hazelnuts are called “Arabella.” For mere mortals, we can be content with the flavour of these light and chewy ones filled with chocolate, which are perfect for tea. You should make the filling for the macarons at least one day ahead to thicken it.

For the filling

¾ c. (180 ml) whole milk

5 tbsp. (75 g) unsalted butter

8 oz. (250 g) bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

For the macarons

1 1-lb. (500 ml) box confectioners’ sugar

2 c. (500 ml) whole blanched almonds

6 tbsp. (90 ml) unsweetened cocoa powder

6 large egg whites (¾ c./180 ml)

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the milk and butter. Bring to a simmer and remove from the heat. Add the chocolate and whisk until melted and smooth. Transfer to a small bowl and let cool completely. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours up to 3 days, or until thick and cold.

Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.

Combine the confectioners’ sugar and almonds in a food processor and process for 5 to 6 minutes, scraping down the sides often, or until the nuts are ground to a fine powder. Add the cocoa and process 1 minute more or until combined.

In a large bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Fold the nut mixture into the whites in 4 additions, making a thick batter.

Spoon half the batter into a pastry bag fitted with a ½-inch (1.25-cm) plain tip. Pipe the batter onto the prepared sheet in 12 walnut-size mounds, spacing the mounds 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart. Bake one sheet at a time for 10 to 11 minutes or until firm to the touch in the centre and dry and cracked on top. Remove from the oven and slide the parchment with cookies onto a work surface to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining batter, cooling the baking sheet completely and lining with clean parchment for each batch.

To assemble, arrange 12 macarons, flat side up, on a work surface. Drop 1 scant tablespoon (15 ml) of filling onto each cookie, then top with a second macaron, flat side down. Press lightly to adhere. Repeat with the remaining cookies. Arrange on a platter, cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours up to 1 day. Serve chilled. Makes 2 dozen.

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