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Lebanese-style snapper

"This dish is Lebanese-peasant done fancy with all the peasant-style flavours you'll find in Lebanese cooking, but with a beautiful piece of fish added," says Bacash. "The trick to not overcooking fish is to be aware that it cooks from the outside inwards and the centre should only cook until it's warm, not hot. If it gets hot in the middle, it will become overcooked from the residual heat. It takes a little practise getting to know this - be conscious of the inside of the fish and not the outside. Until you get it right, you can always get a little paring knife and peek inside the flesh when you think it's ready; it won't damage it too much."

12-hour barbecue beef brisket

"Texas is world-renowned for barbecuing a mean brisket, the flat and fatty slab of meat, cut from the cow's lower chest," says Stone. "Cooking a simply seasoned brisket low and slow on a smoker (or kettle barbecue when barbecuing at home), gradually rendering the gummy white fat while simultaneously infusing smoky flavour into the meat, is a labour of love. Although time-consuming, briskets are not difficult to cook. And while you'll note that this one takes a whopping 12 hours to cook, don't be alarmed if your brisket needs another hour or so - this timing is an approximation, and greatly depends on the size of your brisket and heat of your barbecue." The brisket can also be cooked in an oven (see note).

Macarons


You'll need

130 gm pure icing sugar 110 gm almond meal 105 gm eggwhite (about 2), at room temperature, left out overnight 65 gm caster sugar 4-5 drops rose food colouring   White chocolate and raspberry ganache 50 ml pouring cream 100 gm white chocolate 45 gm raspberries, coarsely chopped

Method

  • 01
  • Process icing sugar and almond meal in a food processor until finely ground, triple-sift into a large bowl and set aside. Whisk 90gm eggwhite in an electric mixer until soft peaks form (1-2 minutes). Add caster sugar, a tablespoon at a time, whisking continuously until incorporated and mixture is thick and glossy (2-3 minutes), then add food colouring. Stir in almond mixture in batches until incorporated and mixture slowly slides down sides of bowl when bowl is tilted. Add remaining eggwhite to loosen mixture, spoon into a piping bag with a 1cm plain nozzle, pipe 3cm-diameter rounds of mixture onto heavy baking-paper-lined oven trays, stand until a crust begins to form (4-5 hours).
  • 02
  • Preheat oven to 140C. Bake macarons until firm but not coloured, swapping trays halfway through cooking (10-12 minutes), set aside, cool completely on trays.
  • 03
  • Meanwhile, for white chocolate and raspberry ganache, bring cream just to the boil in a small saucepan. Remove from heat, add chocolate, stand until melted (5 minutes), stir until smooth and glossy. Refrigerate until firm yet still pliable (45 minutes-1 hour) then stir until smooth. Add raspberries, stir to form a ripple effect, then spoon a teaspoon of ganache onto half the macarons. Sandwich with remaining macarons and refrigerate until set. Macarons will keep for 1-2 days refrigerated in an airtight container.
Note If fresh raspberries are unavailable, substitute defrosted frozen raspberries.

This recipe appeared in the July 2009 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.

Not all macarons are created equal. Just ask the people queuing outside Paris’s renowned Ladurée. Equally devoted are the patrons of Paris’s other famous purveyor of the delicacy, Pierre Hermé, who specialises in a more outré style of macaron.

A true macaron should have a foundation of almonds – never coconut – and be sandwiched with just the right amount of filling, usually a flavoured cream or ganache. It should have a glossy, domed top, and a thin crisp shell which yields to a soft interior when you bite into it.

Old eggwhites work best and give a more elastic result. If you don’t have these to hand, leave your eggwhites out at room temperature overnight for similar effect.

The consistency of the raw mixture is important. Contrary to most recipes involving whisked eggwhites, in this instance you need to be more heavy-handed when mixing. It’s a case of stirring in the whisked eggwhites, rather than delicately folding as you do when making, say, a soufflé. Macaron-ophiles describe the ideal consistency as “magma-like”. But if, like us, you’re unfamiliar with magma’s consistency, you want the mixture to slide slowly down the sides of the bowl when you tip it.

Once you’ve piped the mixture, tap the tray firmly on your benchtop to settle the mixture and knock any air bubbles out.

The trick to obtaining the signature gloss and crust of the macaron is the standing time, which allows a thin skin to form before baking. Exactly how long this takes is dependent on atmospheric conditions – temperature and humidity. Don’t be tempted to rush this step; allow between four and five hours. To check the crust, touch the macarons lightly – no mixture should stick to your fingertip.

You’d be right in thinking macarons are a little tricky to make. But even if they’re not picture-perfect, they’ll still taste sublime. And it’s a good excuse to take a research jaunt to Ladurée before you make your next batch.


At A Glance

  • Serves 40 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 40 people

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