I recently was asked to do a demonstration on the GBBO Live stage at the Cake & Bake show in London. I never know what recipe to do, it needs to be one that I know well but also one that the audience will find interesting and want to try at home. So, with that in mind I decided to make my Stilton & Walnut Macarons, a recipe that I made during the semi-finals of the Bake Off in 2013. I’ve since then changed the recipe slightly, the original is also on the blog if you fancy making it. Both versions are good and will pleasantly surprise those who eat them…especially if they’re expecting a sweet macaron.
Stilton & Walnut Macarons with Pear Chutney
- 115g Icing Sugar
- 35g Walnuts, ground
- 50g Ground Almonds
- 50g Caster Sugar
- 2 Eggs Whites
- 150g Blue Stilton
- 50g Cream Cheese
- 75g Pear Chutney (shop bought)
Line 2 baking sheets with some baking parchment and mark out 24 1½ inch rounds onto the sheet. Place to one side until needed.
To make the macaron shells, blitz the walnuts with the ground almonds and icing sugar until fine in a food processor. Whip the egg whites to a soft peak consistency and add the sugar until the peaks are stiff and glossy. Combine the egg whites with the nut and icing sugar mixture until it’s falling off the spatula in ribbons. Fill a piping bag fitted with a 1cm plain nozzle (or snip a 1cm hole) and pipe out the mixture onto your prepared sheets. Leave the macarons somewhere cool and dry so that a skin can form. This can take anywhere between 15 – 60 minutes.
To check if the shells are dry, lightly touch the side of one of the macarons and it should feel dry to the touch. If sticky or tacky, then leave for another 15 minutes and check again. Do not rush this stage; if the shells aren’t dry then your macarons will crack in the oven.
Once dry to touch, bake in a preheated oven at 120C/gas mark 3 for 10-15 minutes. The shells shouldn’t colour, but should be set, with a frill around the edge and come away from the parchment paper. Check after 10 minutes, if the shells are still soft or wobble when you gently move one of them with your finger, then bake for a couple more minutes.
For the filling, mix the stilton with the cream cheese to until smooth. You can do this in a food processor or with a fork. Scrape into a piping bag and then place the chutney into another piping bag ready to fill the shells.
Once the shells are cool, snip a 5mm hole off the top of the stilton piping bag and pipe a ring of the cheese onto the shells, leaving a 1cm diameter hole in the middle for the chutney. Fill the 1cm hole with the chutney and then sandwich the shells together. Store in an air-tight container in the fridge until needed, eat within 2-3 days at the most.