A step-by-step guide to making the perfect wedding macarons. These sweet treats are flavoured with rhubarb and custard and make perfect wedding favours - just pop them in tiny boxes and tie them up with ribbon.
What you need
For the macarons:
175g ground almonds
175g icing sugar
150g egg whites (about 4 egg whites)
200g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Pink food colouring paste
4 tbsp rhubarb jam
Red food colouring, to decorate
For the buttercream:
150g butter, softened
300g icing sugar
1 tsp custard powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large baking trays lined with baking parchment
4 cm/1 ½ in plain cookie cutter
Large piping bag fitted with a 1 cm/3⁄8 in plain nozzle
2 disposable piping bags
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1. Using the cookie cutter, draw 30 circles on each piece of baking paper. Flip over (pencil lines should show through) and place on trays.
2. Put the almonds and icing sugar in a food processor and blitz for one minute. Tip into a mixing bowl, add 50g of the egg whites and beat until a thick paste. Set aside.
3. Fill a saucepan with water and bring to a gentle simmer. Tip the remaining egg whites into a medium heatproof bowl, add the caster sugar and set the bowl over the simmering water. Slowly beat the egg whites and sugar, whisking until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is thick and glossy. Remove the bowl from the pan and whisk until cool and thick. With a large metal spoon, fold in the vanilla and food colouring in tiny amounts.
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4. Add a quarter of the meringue to the paste, stirring well. Fold back into the meringue and mix.
5. Scoop the mixture into a large piping bag and pipe 30 macarons onto your baking sheet circles. Set aside for 30 minutes.
6. Preheat the oven to 160°C (325°F) Gas 3. Bake the macarons, one sheet at a time, on the middle shelf of the oven for 10–12 minutes until crisp on top. Remove and cool completely.
7. For the buttercream, beat the butter then gradually add the icing sugar and mix until smooth. Mix in the custard powder and vanilla extract. Scoop into a piping bag and snip the end.
8. Turn half of the macarons upside down and pipe the buttercream in a ring around the edge. Fill the hole in the middle with rhubarb jam and sandwich with the remaining macaron shells. Brush with red food colouring and serve.
Extract from Afternoon Tea at Home by Will Torrent, published by Ryland, Peters & Small (£19.99). To purchase for the special price of £14.99, including postage and packaging, telephone Macmillan Direct on 01256 302 699, quoting reference GJ5; Photography by Matt Russell
Want more DIY favour ideas? Here's how to make your own sugared almonds