Eric says: “This is a great combination – the lemony, peppery macarons still taste sweet, which complements the smokiness of the salmon. The addition of grapefruit gives some extra zing without being overpowering. Your taste buds will be confused!”
Makes: 18–20 ♦ Preparation time: 30 minutes, plus standing and cooling ♦ Cooking time: 12–15 minutes
♦ 100g (3½oz) ground almonds
♦ 100g (3½oz) icing sugar
♦ 90g (3¼oz) egg whites (about 3 eggs)
♦ 100g (3½oz) golden caster sugar
♦ 1 tsp freshly cracked black pepper, plus extra for sprinkling
♦ 1 tsp lemon extract
♦ Few drops of yellow food colouring For the filling
♦ 280g (10oz) cream cheese
♦ 300g (10½oz) smoked salmon, sliced
♦ 18–20 small white grapefruit segments
♦ Dill sprigs
1 Line two baking sheets with baking paper. Put the ground almonds and icing sugar into a food processor and whizz until finely ground, then sift into a bowl to make a fine powder. Set aside. In a large, clean, dry bowl, whisk the egg whites to soft peaks, then add the caster sugar a little at a time, whisking until the mixture is stiff and glossy. Using a rubber spatula, gradually fold the almond powder, black pepper, lemon extract and food colouring into the egg whites until the mixture is smooth and shiny and just falls in a ribbon from your spatula.
2 Spoon the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a 1cm (½in) diameter plain piping nozzle, then pipe discs about 4cm (1½in) in diameter on to the prepared baking sheets. Sprinkle a little extra black pepper over each macaron. Give the base of each baking sheet a sharp tap against the work surface to ensure the mixture forms a good “foot,” then leave to stand for 10–30 minutes at room temperature until the tops to dry out (you should be able to touch the surface without it sticking to your finger). Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 150°C (fan 130°C)/300°F/gas mark 2.
3 Bake in the oven for 12–15 minutes, or until the baking paper peels off easily from the macarons, briefly opening the door after 10 minutes to let out the steam. Leave to cool on the baking sheets until almost cold, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
4 To make the filling, put the cream cheese into a bowl and beat until soft, then spoon into a piping bag and pipe a little on to the base of a macaron. Top with a slice of salmon, a grapefruit segment and a frond of dill. Pipe a little more cheese on to the base of a second macaron, then secure at an angle on top of the filling. Repeat with the remaining macarons. Store in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to serve (up to 24 hours).