Macarons have gotten a huge amount of press, including from yours truly (see my first ever post) and a lot of emphasis has been put on perfecting the process. I'm pretty sure I could do better next time but for the moment I'm gloating over the fact that I made something that resembles an actual macaron (woot!).
|Oh yes, you better believe I did it. Food styling seems like such an awesome job - that and being a food critic (just putting it out there...)|
I wrote before about the book I bought, and unfortunately Maréchal harks on the fact that you need to make an Italian meringue (cooked sugar) for better results. Not having a sugar thermometer, nor knowing anything about the stages of cooking sugar - soft ball/hard ball whatever.. I wasn't really game to try. But apparently the wait time is ~30 mins. So in actual fact I've made a hybrid macaron using two recipes including one from the book but employing the french meringue technique (uncooked sugar) described by GT. Granted, the massive downside of doing it this way means that you have to croûtage i.e. dry to form a shiny crust (does it sound like I know what i'm talking about?) for 4
|The longest time. 4 hours later: the croûtage stage is finally complete!|
|After crisping up in the oven for ~10 minutes. I will admit I was pretty much glued to the oven door - watching them grow!|
Assemblage: divide the batch into half and pair them up with another shell that is approximately the same size. I had made a dark chocolate ganache to fill these babies earlier and took it out of the fridge to discover it was as hard as a rock. Even after softening it a bit over the stove, the ganache was still pretty solid and not oozy enough - mental note. Anyway, I piped away (I'm still pretty unco at it but practice makes parfait!) and stuck the other halves on top - ta dah!
|The colouration on the shells is a bit odd I know - I'm guessing it's from using a french meringue/oven heat weirdness.|
|I only managed to assemble 16 macarons out of a supposed 20. Definitely because of my piping inconsistency - I'll just have to try again then :P|
Le goût (the taste): I must admit that they tasted pretty good. Yes, the shells were sweet (as all meringues are I suppose) but the bitter quality of the ganache - which wasn't sweetened, helped to counterbalance that (i'm sounding like a contestant off Masterchef - ick!). The shell didn't quite have that textural crunch that we all look for but that's okay, a couple more minutes in the oven and we should be sweet (pun intended)! Let me tell you, 16 macarons do not go a long way in this household.
|For the diehards: this is a peek into the anatomy. Btw how is my hand modelling? Lol.|
To sum up, this was me diving head first into the art/science of macaron making. All in all, I'm quite pleased with the results - I had been deliberating on how/when/which to make for ages so this was me biting the bullet (in both senses). It's pretty hard work to do this and that right but the results speak for themselves (and your taste-testers will love them!). On a more practical point, calculating my potential profit from this venture, I could have made $40 (piddly when you think about it) from this batch of 16. The cost of raw materials is relatively small (depending on the quality of chocolate you use) but the labour of love is priceless. Strangely, you grow attached to them, especially when you've spent 6 hours making them - they become like children (and I ate two of them)! xo
|Fin. Look out Adriano (not)!|