Blackberry Macarons

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225g powdered sugar
125g almonds, blanched
25g sugar
red food coloring (about 3 drops)
blue food coloring (about 4 drops)
100g egg whites (about 3), aged 1 day* and room temperature

* separate the whites from the yolks and store the whites in a bowl covered with plastic wrap on a counter for a day.

Grind the almonds and powdered sugar in a food processor until finely ground. Add a drop of food coloring at a time to the granulated sugar and whisk together until evenly colored and much darker than your final mac will be. Set aside and let dry for a few minutes. Whip egg whites until foamy, slowly add the granulated sugar and continue to whip until they are glossy. They are ready when you tip the bowl upside down and the egg whites don’t fall out, but JUST as you reach this point. Don’t overbeat the whites. Fold the almond and powdered sugar mixture into the whites with a wide spatula. The mixture should remain shiny and flow easily – hold a ribbon for a few seconds. Fill a pastry bag with the batter and pipe small rounds onto parchment lined baking sheets. Let the macarons rest for 20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 315°F (325°F at 8500 feet) and when they are ready, bake them for 12-15 minutes (12 minutes for me). Let cool, remove from the paper and fill with the blackberry buttercream or blackberry curd (about 1-2 cups). Makes ~36. If making small macarons (1-inch), bake for about 10 minutes.

blackberry swiss meringue buttercream
8 oz egg whites
16 oz sugar
1 lb butter, room temperature
4-6 oz blackberry purée

Combine egg whites and sugar in a Kitchenaid mixing bowl. Whisk constantly over a gently simmering hot water bath until 140°F is reached. Remove from heat. Place on mixer with whisk and whip until stiff. Turn down whip speed to 3rd and whip until cool to the touch (this takes a while – should be cooler than your hand). Change to a paddle and gradually add soft butter by tablespoon pieces. Mix to emulsify. Once desired consistency has been reached, add purée and mix well. Makes about 6 cups.

blackberry curd
2-4 cups blackberries, fresh or thawed (I used 4 cups)
1/2 cup water
1 tsp orange zest
1 cup sugar
2 oz. butter
4 tbsps cornstarch
4 tbsps cold water (originally 2 tbsps, but was impossible to mix)

Place the blackberries, water, and orange zest in a pan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer for 5 minutes. Press the mixture through a food mill or you can purée the berry mixture in a food processor and press through a sieve. Pour the berry liquid back into the saucepan over medium heat. Stir in 1 cup sugar and 2 ounces butter. Mix the cornstarch and water together in a small bowl. While whisking the berry mixture, pour the cornstarch into the pan. Stir until thick and bubbly and stir for another 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Pour the contents into a bowl or vessel and cover with plastic wrap. Let cool. Makes about a pint.

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