Pink-peppercorn macaroon with duck-liver pâté and candied apples

    Serves: 50 macaroons
    Cooking Time: 1 hour 15 mins


    • Pink-peppercorn macaroon
    • 150g ground almonds
    • 150g icing sugar
    • 150g castor sugar
    • 50ml water
    • 100g egg whites, divided into 2 equal parts
    • 20g pink peppercorns, crushed
    • Duck-liver pate
    • oil, to fry
    • 2 onions, peeled and chopped
    • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
    • 2 sticks fresh thyme, stems discarded
    • 1kg duck liver
    • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
    • 50ml brandy
    • Candied apples
    • 250g castor sugar
    • 50ml water
    • 2 apples, cut into small, even cubes
    • 250ml (1 cup) red wine
    • 10ml (2 tsp) vanilla essence
    • rocket/microherbs, to garnish (optional)



    Preheat the oven to 140°C.


    For the macaroons, combine the ground almonds and icing sugar, briefly, and sift to remove any lumps. Set aside.


    Make an Italian meringue. Heat the 150g castor sugar and 50ml water in a saucepan until it reaches 110°C on a sugar thermometer.


    While the mixture is heating, start whisking half of the egg whites in a free-standing mixer to form soft peaks.


    Once the sugar has reached the correct temperature, turn the mixer to a low speed and start mixing in the sugar syrup to form the Italian meringue. Continue beating until it cools down to 113°C. Pour the other half of the egg whites into the beaten meringue and continue to mix to stiff peaks.


    Add the almond and icing sugar mixture and stir gently with a flexible spatula (the liquid should form ribbons). Add 10g of the pink peppercorns and mix to combine.


    Spoon the mixture into a piping bag and pipe onto a lined baking sheet to your desired-size macaroons. Sprinkle with the remaining crushed peppercorns for colour. Bake in the oven, 12 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool at room temperature. Do not refrigerate.


    For the pâté, heat a little oil in a saucepan over medium heat and gently fry off the onions, garlic and thyme until the onions are translucent in colour.


    Add the duck liver and continue to cook until just cooked, about 2 minutes. Season to taste while cooking. Add the brandy and flambé.


    Pour the pâté mixture into a blender and blitz until smooth in consistency. Press through a fine sieve to remove any lumps. Place in a piping bag and refrigerate to cool.


    For the candied apples, place the 250g castor sugar and 50ml water in a saucepan over low heat and cook until caramelised and golden brown, 8 – 10 minutes, do not stir. Add the apples, wine and vanilla essence and cook for 5 – 10 minutes. Remove from heat and refrigerate to cool.


    To assemble the dish, pipe the duck-liver pâté onto the bottom half of each macaroon. Add some of the candied-apple mixture and close with the top half of each macaroon. Garnish with rocket of microherbs, if desired.