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Gingerbread houses and ginger cookies are traditionally a favourite over the festive season, not only in the cooler Northern Hemisphere but right here in South Africa too. Pastry Chef Catherine Adonis was inspired by these traditional festive treats for her latest creation – gingerbread macarons with a twist of spiced chocolate. A deliciously decadent start to the festive season!

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Gingerbread Macarons

Gingerbread crumble
180g Flour
100g Sugar
125g Butter (cold, cubed)
5g Ground cinnamon
10g Ground ginger
2g Ground nutmeg
2g Salt

  1. In a small mixing bowl combine all the ingredients.
  2. Rub in the butter with your fingertips (The mixture should resemble breadcrumbs).
  3. Place the crumble in a greased baking tray.
  4. Bake at 170°C for 15-20 minutes, stirring intermittently.
  5. Once baked the crumble should be golden and toasty.
  6. Set aside to cool.

Spiced white chocolate Ganache
(Baker’s note: if you can’t find Valrhona Dulcey chocolate, white chocolate can also be used)
250g Cream
1 Star anise
3 Cardamom pods
2 Cinnamon sticks
1 Clove
400g Valrhona Dulcey chocolate

  1. In a small pot bring the cream and spices to boil.
  2. Remove from the heat, cover with foil immediately and allow the spices to infuse for 1 hour.
  3. After an hour, boil the cream again.
  4. Strain to remove the spices, then pour the hot cream over the chocolate.
  5. Stir briskly with a spatula to create a smooth ganache.
  6. Place your ganache in a piping bag and set at room temperature.

Italian Macarons
(Baker’s note: 2 sets of egg white is required for this section of the recipe)
250g ground almonds (sifted then weighed)
250g Icing sugar (sifted)
90g egg white
250g castor sugar
60g water
90g egg white

  1. In a large mixing bowl, mix ground almonds and icing sugar. Then add the first quantity of egg whites and mix to form a smooth stiff paste.
  2. Prepare the Italian meringue:
    a. Place the second lot of egg whites in a stand mixer with a whisk attachment.
    b. Place the castor sugar and water in a small saucepan, making sure that the water and sugar are completely incorporated and that there are no sugar particles on the side of the pot.
    c. Place the pot on a high heat and boil to soft ball stage, 118°C.
    d. While whisking the egg whites on a high speed, slowly add in the sugar syrup.
    e. Continue whisking to create a light and fluffy meringue.
    f. Once the meringue is at room temperature, remove it from the stand mixer.
  3. Mix one third of the meringue into the almond paste.
  4. Gently fold in the rest of the meringue to create a smooth batter.
  5. Place this batter into a piping bag.
  6. On silicone mats pipe small neat mounds of mixture – about 2cm in diameter leaving 2cm between each macaron.
  7. Bang the bottom of the trays lightly until the mounds fall flat.
  8. Sprinkle the macarons generously with the ginger crumble.
  9. Allow to rest at room temperature until a light skin forms on the macarons. This usually takes 30-60 minutes.
  10. Bake at 150°c for 10 minutes, rotate the tray and bake for a further 3-7 minutes.
  11. Once baked the macarons should have a crisp shell, pale colour and peel off the mats perfectly.
  12. The macarons can be filled once they have cooled.

Fill and sandwich your macaron shells with the spiced ganache and enjoy your Gingerbread Macarons as a pre- Christmas treat.

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