Avocado and pineapple macarons.
Then there's the resting, then the baking at whatever exact temperature your particular oven prefers to cook macarons, and finally the moment of truth: Have They Stuck??
In this case, the answer was just a tiny bit, which is okay. Phew!
The next day, out came the piping bag again - this time for the filling. I made this by blitzing tinned pineapple in my blender until completely smooth. I then removed the pineapple and blitzed the flesh of a whole avocado, gradually adding just enough pureed pineapple to make it fluid enough for the blender to deal with. Next, I creamed 125g of butter and 100g icing sugar in my trusty mixer until extremely pale and fluffy (I was going for a really silky smooth texture, and I also didn't want it to be overly sweet). Then I began adding the avocado-pineapple mixture, continuing to beat, and tasting after each addition. In the end, most of the avocado went in - probably only a tablespoon or so was left out.
The result? A light, delicate, not overly sweet filling that was perfect for my lovely little green macarons. I may or may not have eaten some of it with a spoon as well.
I also made chocolate-banana macarons. I wasn't quite as happy with the texture of my chocolate shells - the cocoa made them just a little... I don't know... cakey? They were still good, and still definitely macarons, but a bit softer, or something. I don't know. Maybe I used too much cocoa... (is 2 Tablespoons cocoa in a batch using 50g egg white too much? Anyone know?)
The chocolate shells had two fillings: a little dark chocolate ganache piped in teardrops around the edges (so it would show), and a banana buttercream (125g butter, 150g icing sugar, 1 pureed banana plus a little more than enough cream to allow the blender to puree the banana).
Then, when all my lovely little macarons had matured in the fridge overnight (sniff - don't they grow up fast?), I proceeded to impale them on toothpicks stuck into a polystyrene cone. Which sounds like madness, and it kind of is, but it's also kind of cool...And no, Masterchef, is not the first place I've ever seen a macaron tower, but it was the first time I'd ever seen the actual process - and realised there were toothpicks involved, and that it just might not be too insanely difficult. And it wasn't - hurrah! I actually found that the macarons slid quite happily onto the toothpicks (granted I was careful about it). It helped that they were cold - I think it would have been a lot harder if they were freshly filled (as the poor Masterchef contestants had to do).
Anyway, here is my finished product (and my husband's birthday "cake"):
I'm aware that it is very definitely no Adriano Zumbo creation, but you know what? I am feeling pretty pleased with myself about this - not bad for a first effort, I think!