Pear and Elderflower Macarons

Makes about 15 sandwiched macarons

• 110g almond meal
• 200g icing sugar
• 100g eggwhites
• 50g granulated sugar
• 1 teaspoon powdered egg whites

Elderflower Poached Pears

• 1 pear, peeled, cored and cut into ,5cm cubes
• 1 cup water
• 4 tablespoons frostbites elderflower cordial

Elderflower Buttercream

• 1 egg white
• ¼ cup granulated sugar
• 90g unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into 3cm cubes

To make the macaron shells, line two baking sheets with baking paper. Place icing sugar in a food processor and pulse to remove any lumps. Stir in almond meal and pulse to combine. Place in a large mixing bowl and set aside. Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites and egg white powder in a medium bowl until the powder dissolves and it reaches soft peaks. With the mixer on high speed, gradually add sugar and beat until it reaches stiff peaks.

Add meringue to the dry mixture and mix, quickly at first to break down the bubbles in the egg white. You can be quite rough at this point, and then mix carefully as the dry mixture becomes incorporated and it starts to become shiny again. Do not  overmix. Place in a piping bag and pipe rounds 3cm diameter on prepared baking sheets.

Tap against the bench to remove any air bubbles and leave to dry for about half an hour, so that when you press the surface of one gently, it doesn’t break. Preheat the oven to 285-300°F and bake for 15-20 minutes, depending on the size of your shells. Remove from the oven and cool on the tray for a few minutes. Gently remove from the tray and place on a wire rack to cool completely.

In the meantime, prepare the poached pears. Place pears into a small saucepan with water and elderflower cordial and simmer on medium heat until pears are tender and liquid is syrupy. Strain, and reserve liquid. Allow pears to cool to room temperature.

To prepare the buttercream, place granulated sugar and egg white into a heatproof bowl. Whisk to combine and clip a candy thermometer to the side of the bowl. Set bowl over a pan of simmering water and whisk until mixture reaches 160°F and sugar has dissolved, about 5 minutes. Place egg white mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on high speed until cooled and thick, about 5 minutes. Reduce speed to medium and add butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until incorporated after each addition. If mixture is runny at this point, refrigerate for 10 minutes and then continue beating until it starts to hold its shape. Mix in the reserved poaching liquid gradually and beat to combine. Add more elderflower cordial to taste if the flavour is too subtle.

Spoon or pipe buttercream onto macaron shells, adding ½ teaspoon of pears and then sandwich with another shell. Refrigerate overnight in an airtight container to allow the flavours to come together. 

Peggy Speir