Post updated: July 2016 (tweaked filling ingredients)
I need little excuse to make macarons, but this time I was asked if I could make some for a friend who was investigating more of a vegan lifestyle and wanted to be convinced that she could still enjoy indulgent things: which of course she could…and should!
My view has always been that all food must taste great, and whether it is making food healthier by reducing fat and sugar, baking without gluten or omitting dairy, for example, there is no reason whatsover that such bakes cannot stand up proudly.
A vegan version of macarons
To make these not just suitable for vegans, but tasty in their own right, I used the main recipe for macarons here, using reduced chick pea liquid from a tin of chickpeas (aquafaba), that I had reduced to a thick, egg-white consistency before using exactly as I would egg whites.
You can get away with using the liquid straight from the can, without reducing it, but I find that extra step of reducing (and cooling), gives more uniform macarons with more of the feet you want.
I flavoured the macaron mixture with a heaped teaspoon of raspberry powder (for the 80g reduced aquafaba I used), and topped the just-piped macarons with a few dried raspberry pieces which toast up a little during cooking and give a wonderfully tangy flavour. And although the raspberry pieces do go darker in the oven, they taste fabulous.
These are best left to rest for at least 90 minutes, and baked at 150C for about 15 minutes.
These are really tangy macarons that almost fizz on the tongue that explodes gorgeous raspberryness in the mouth!
I do like macarons to taste of what they are intended to be: a macaron that is only coloured, regardless of how pretty that colour is, does not do it for me unless there is a real wallop of flavour to back it up. I do love a quirky approach, though, from time to time: for example, shells coloured totally unexpectedly compared to their flavour….a kind of visual-taste trick! But there has to be flavour regardless of the colour.
The macarons were filled with sieved rasperries mixed into melted vegan white chocolate and a little lemon juice: I used just over 50g raspberries to 100g chocolate.
It is best to put the filled macarons into an airtight container and leave them overnight in the fridge to mature: this maturing really does make the macarons melt in the mouth, while allowing a mere hint of chewiness.