Welcome to my first blog. What could be a more proper post for my first blog entry than macarons, my latest and biggest obsession.
I still recalled my first macarons encounter. It was the love at first bite. I was out in The Rocks, Sydney and came across a French patisserie with nice looking pastries. I and S have our quest for the best almond croissant and the place had a lovely looking ones. Something very interesting also caught my eyes. There were trays of scrumptious looking cookies with so much varieties of colours and flavours. I decided to try some and here I was....falling in love with macarons. I still can recalled the flavour...it was passionfruit macarons. It was heavenly. It was crisp and light on the outside and simply just melted in my mouth.
From then on, I've been trying to perfect making macarons. Well, my first experience attempting making macarons was an absolute disaster. I didn't have the right tools and underestimate these little divas. Imagine me using polyester piping bag and baking the macarons on a grease-proof baking paper....(by the way if you don’t know…., grease-proof does not equal non-stick, everyone. And the baking paper is not non-stick unless the packaging says so) The macarons shell just totally stuck on the baking paper and were dry and crunchy. It was a nightmare and had put me off making macarons for another longgggg while…It felt like I would give up making macarons for life!
|"My second attempt at making macaron. |
The mixture was way undermix and got spread feet"
After I gather my nerves, tools and knowledges. I attempted macarons again. The second time wasn't too bad. It didn't look quite right but it still tasted sublime. My girlfriend even said she would have paid for those! What a good and encouraging friend to have.
You probably know that macarons are very tempermental (mind you, she’s a little diva, queens of the petit fours) and not the easiest things to make and master. But let me tell you that they are not that hard to make either. If I can do it, you can also do it....at home.
The recipe that I used comes from my research on the Net and my personal experiments. At the first glance, my recipe might not look right comparing to others. But it works...every single time. My recipe also uses less almond meal and icing sugar than others.
Here is the recipes….
Lemon Macarons (make about 25 macarons)
100 g egg whites (about 3 xl eggs) (aged 24-72 hrs and at room temperature)
60 g caster sugar (fine sugar)
110 g almond meal (ground almond)
160 g pure icing sugar (powder sugar)
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
a good pinch of yellow colouring powder or 7-10 drops of yellow food colouring liquid
1. Sift almond meal and icing sugar through fine sieve and set aside.
" I use the sieve and pastry scraper to help pushing almond meal and icing sugar through"
|"the bumps on the macarons have gone after the tray were tapped and the they were dry to touch"|
8. Preheat the oven to 160c (convection oven), just before you put the trays in, reduce the temp to 140c (convection) and bake for 15-18 mins. Baking time will depend on the size of macarons and oven. So, I usually keep a close eye on them after 15 mins. The cookie should be dry and crisp but not colour.
"the feet start to appear after 5 mins...and it fill me with joy every single time..well, I must confess...I'm a macaron foot-fetish..lol"
9. Remove the shells from the oven, leave them cool on tray for few minutes. Gently remove them onto the cooling rack.
"Trick: if you spray water onto the tray under the baking paper, this will tremendously help releasing macarons from the paper. "
10. Spread or pipe chilled lemon curd (below recipe) into the shell and sandwich them together.
11. You can taste the fruit of your labour straight away. But I find that macaron tastes better and achieve its chewy texture after it's been in the fridge for at least 24 hours. Put the macarons in an air-tight container and put them in the fridge. I believe that they keep well in the fridge for about a week. However, my macarons never last that long..lol....so, I can't be 100% sure on that ... but so far, it still tastes good after 4-5 days in the fridge.
Lemon curd recipe (adapted from Stephanie Alexander’s recipe on http://www.cuisine.com.au/)
3 egg yolks (perfect for the leftover egg yolks from the shell)
80 g caster sugar (fine sugar)
60 g unsalted butter
2 tsp grated lemon zest
70 ml lemon juice
1 tablespoon corn flour
1. Whisk egg yolks and sugar until well combined but not frothy.
2. Put the egg yolk mixture into a saucepan and add butter, zest, juice and cornflour and whisk to combine.
3. Stirring the mixture constantly, bring to simmering point over a medium-high heat (about five minutes).
4. As soon as bubbles appear, remove from heat, still stirring. Allow to cool.
- Egg-whites --- most of the recipe ask that they're aged, by leaving them out for at least 3 days, some even says a week. I still don't have the gut to leave my egg white in the room temperature for that long...being it covered or uncovered. What I did was leaving my egg white in the fridge for at least 2 days, and take out of the fridge about few hours before I start making macarons. Egg white needs to be at room temperature.
- Many recipes also mentioned that we grind (regrind) almond meal together with icing sugar until it become really really fine. I didn't do that. I find that sifting also seems to do as good a job.
- The macaron feet (the edge at the macaron base) usually happens after 5 mins of the bake. I also turn my baking tray half way through the bake.
- If I plan making macarons in advance, I like to make ganache or curd a day in advance and let them sit in the fridge overnight. I found that I colud achieve better looking and thicker/fuller filling when the ganache/curd are well-chilled.
- Many recipes also told to double the baking tray (put one tray on top of each other) for better heat distribution, I suppose. I never do that. Though, I find that the macaron result (those lovely feet) are significantly different when I bake the macarons on commercial graded oven tray. I use Masterclass’s large cooking tray. It got commercial weight and I love them. Below picture shows the different feet achieved from two different baking tray. The top shell was baked on an IKEA cooking sheet and the bottom shell was baked on Masterclass cookie tray.
There you have it…lemon macarons…..
If you feel encouraged and try this at home…. I would love to hear from you how you go and/or see some pics.
If I can do this at home, so do you….you can do it….at home!!!