Raspberry Parisian Macaroons - adapted slightly from Dish 33, December 2010-January 2011
100g free range egg whites
pinch of cream of tartar
2 tbsps caster sugar
1-2 tsps raspberry essence
red food colouring
140g ground almonds
220g icing sugar
Preheat oven to 150C (though as the macaroons have to stand so long before cooking, you can do this later).
Whisk egg whites and cream of tartar to soft peaks in a large bowl, using an electric beater.
Add caster sugar, raspberry essence and a few tiny drops of red food colouring.
(They say the colour will fade during cooking, so you want a deepish pink, but we slightly overdid it with our first batch. Still, the French ones were quite deep pink too.)
Leave for 45-50 minutes until a good skin has formed on top of the macaroons.
(They say "This is an integral part of the recipe. Without this step they will not have the distinctive smooth tops." We did it, but they still weren't smooth. If you haven't put the oven on yet, do it now.)
Bake the trays, one at a time, for 12-14 minutes (in my underpowered oven, 16 was better). Leave for 5 minutes before gently transferring to a cooling rack. (We just transferred the whole sheet of paper to the rack with macaroons still on it, and took them off later - this worked very well.)
What we were most proud of was that they all had the mark of a true macaroon - that distinctive little "foot" around the bottom (though it didn't actually stick out all round the way it did on the Melbourne ones, but never mind, there it was).
What you sandwich them together with depends on how authentic you want to be. Dish suggests butter icing, and gives the recipe (I think there should be an incentive to buy it, since we've made so much use of it, so I'm not going to copy the filling recipe here - you get a free calendar and drinks booklet with this issue too). I've seen a fiendishly long French recipe for a proper creme filling. Or you could have a look at Mrs Cake's blog - her macaron recipe (avert your eyes from her foray into, er, distinctive colouring) is similar but includes some useful extra information, and her filling recipe has an egg and an egg yolk in it - handy, since you'll have some to use up. But it requires a candy thermometer and I haven't got one of those either...
Anyway, our first ever "Parisian macaroons" have gone down really well with me and the people I've offered them to so far. They have a distinctive texture, crunchy, chewy and melting all at once. Next time I think I'll try making vanilla and coffee ones, maybe with some Nutella in the filling.