Saturday, July 3, 2010

The macaron


YAY! SUCCESS! You know, I can not tell you HOW HAPPY I AM that my macaron shells have come out exactly how I had wanted - but dared not hope.

The first I had attempted them they came out as a total flop...and pretty much shattered me because every step had looked like I was doing the right thing. I put it down to the fact that I had attempted the Italian method the second time around, rather than the french method as I had the first time. Who knew there were so many ways to make a macaron??

All this macaron talk gets me excited. While I am a bit tired from making them now, I know I'll return to them soon. I intend on getting some food colouring (powder or paste form?) and whole lot more recipes. Please feel free to comment on your own macaron stories, advice, it's always great to share!



Thank you so much Mercotte for all the advice and steps you have provided on your "desperately-seeking-macarons" blog!

Ingredients
  • 2 x 50gm of egg whites (about 4 x 600gm eggs)
  • 150gm of almond meal
  • 150gm of pure icing sugar (confectioner's sugar)
  • 35gm caster sugar
  • 150gm caster sugar (keep these separate)
  • 50gm water
  • OPTIONAL: Food colouring (avoid liquid as it really changes the chemistry of the batter, and maybe your down fall!)
  • OPTIONAL: spices, cocoa powder etc. if you want to decorate your macarons
  • RECOMMENDED: Macaron piping template. You should be able to print it and slip it under your baking paper. I tried to find one, but had no luck. Please share yours if you've managed to find one :)
You will need
***
But you are not limited to the following.

Please the read the steps before you actually begin so you have an idea of what to do, and what to have on hand.
  • Kitchen scales
  • rubber spatula
  • A sifter that is capable of sifting almond meal
  • A dusting sifter (if you want to decorate your macaron shells)
  • Electric mixer (hand or standing)
  • Baking paper
  • Piping bag & 5 cm tip. The tip is more important than the bag. I actually used a zip lock bag with the corner cut off.
Quite resourceful, aren't I? hehe :)

Steps
  1. Sift the 150gm of almond meal & 150gm of icing sugar and set aside.
  2. Using either a hand mixer or standing mixer beat 50gm egg whites until frothy, when it does become frothy add the 35gm of sugar while beating. Do this in 3 lots.
  3. At the same time, have a small pot on the stove with the 50gm of water + 150gm of caster sugar until this syrup boils for about 30 seconds. (I did this because I didn't have a candy thermometer)
  4. Once it boils pour the syrup slowly into the mixing bowl where you are still beating the egg whites. Speed up the mixer and continue to beat until the mixture is fairly cool. It should be shiny and firm.
  5. Add the sifted almond & icing sugar, as well as the other 50gm of egg whites and any food colouring if you want.
  6. Gently fold the mixture using a rubber spatula. (this is ideal, but I forgot to bring mine over to my sister's so I was stuck with a metal spoon). Start from the middle and work your way around to the edge. Be careful not to over fold.
  7. Do this for a few minutes until the batter is sort of like magma. It should be pliable and when you lift your spatula, it should fall down like a ribbon.
  8. Time to fill your piping bag! With no tumblers on hand, I used a champagne flute to help me fill the bag... I always forget to bring stuff along with me don't I? haha
  9. I have no idea what parchment paper is... so I just used 1 sheet of baking paper. Taking Mercotte's advice, I dabbed a bit of the sticky macaron batter on to the corners of the baking paper to stick to my baking tray.
  10. Piping time! Pipe the macarons to a bit larger than a 20c coin. They should be shiny and flat, with no peaks.
  11. OPTIONAL STEP: You can choose to dust spices, cocoa powder etc. to decorate your shell.s I chose cocoa powder for my 2nd tray. You might notice my sifter isn't quite right for cocoa powder and it kind of just fell out in chunks. Oops! (Just another thing I forgot to take along with me to my sister's)
  12. Let them stand for 1 -2 hours.
  13. During that time, pre-heat your oven to about 150 degrees celsius. For reference, I had a fan forced oven. Maybe you should also use this time to wash up! hehe.
  14. When standing time is up, put the tray into the oven and leave them for about 25 minutes. Mercotte only requites 13 minutes for hers. But mine aren't quite ready until after the 25
  15. minute mark. You've really got to experiment with your oven, each is very different. I'm not sure why, but the ones with cocoa powder on top also took a little bit longer to form.And... voila! Prior to making a macaron, I had no idea what recipes meant by collars, little feet. Well, it's the crusty bit at the bottom of the shell :)

  16. If you don't intend on filling these once they've cool down, put them in an air tight container and freeze them.
  17. I filled mine with chocolate ganache. YUM! If I hadn't been under the watchful eye of J, I'd have licked the bowl clean ehhehe.

Notes:
  • I'm not quite convinced that aging my egg whites makes that much of a difference, if any.
  • I do believe the older your eggs are, the harder it is to succeed. Perhaps the trick is to get fresh eggs (right out of the chicken's... ) and age them for a few days.
  • Like Mercotte I believe that you need to have quite a bit of time on your hands to make these. Don't rush it!
  • I would not under any circumstance leave a bowl of the macaron batter sitting over night. I left half a bowl over night and most of my macarons just cracked the next day when I went to finish baking them. Ah the pains of a home oven.
  • Some say you don't need to let your macarons stand for a while before baking. Maybe it's because I haven't mastered it yet but standing mine for 1 -2 hours lets the collars form.


Next post: the filling. Chocolate ganache! Yummm

4 comments:

  1. Well done on your macarons! It must be very satisfying :)

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  2. Oh and you asked about the diameter of the macarons on the template? It is 4cms :)

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  3. bravo ! they are beautiful !!

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  4. I can feel your excitement. Just keep at it and when you start being more creative; keep in mind that once you start substituting things that the balance between dry and wet ingredients may be a little out of whack but keep adjusting until you get it right.

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