Sunday, March 14, 2010

french macarons - the hardest thing i have ever done in my life

french macaroons (first time) w/ chocolate filling - 36Now that the arduous task of making homemade almond flour was finished, I was finally able to begin the French-Macaron-making-process. I found a ton of recipes online but was unsure as to which one I wanted to make because of all the variations with different flavors. I found a recipe by Martha Stewart that allowed me to mix and match different variants so I would be able to make one big batch of almond-flour-meringue and then portion it out for which flavors I wanted to use. First and foremost, I had to make a basic batch to see if I was even capable of such a task.

french macaroons (first time) w/ chocolate filling - 01french macaroons (first time) w/ chocolate filling - 04
Egg whites. They may seem like the most glamorous ingredient, but once they're beaten to oblivion, the glossy shiny goop is mesmerizing.

french macaroons (first time) w/ chocolate filling - 07french macaroons (first time) w/ chocolate filling - 08
The slightly large grains of my almond flour got folded into the meringue. Then I stuffed the strange mixture into a piping bag which I cut the end to about 1/2 an inch like the directions called for.

french macaroons (first time) w/ chocolate filling - 14french macaroons (first time) w/ chocolate filling - 16
I've read about the difficulties one can encounter while making these, but never would I have imagined how difficult it actually is. The suggestions were to not drag the line to the center, but rather end the line to the side. They also suggested drawing the same size circle on parchment paper for which to follow. Also, the directions stated to let them sit at room temperature for at least 10 minutes before baking, which I found made them pretty hard.

french macaroons (first time) w/ chocolate filling - 20
Okay, so my first batch was no success. The little "legs" as they call it appear to be lopsided and the concentric circles are way too evident. They're supposed to look like little round slightly-sloping muffin tops with porous legs. Not happenin' here.

french macaroons (first time) w/ chocolate filling - 22french macaroons (first time) w/ chocolate filling - 26
After practicing a few batches, I was just beginning to get the hang of it. Although the swirls on the top are still very evident, I at least managed to make somewhat-correct "legs". Instead of using two to make a sandwich, like you're supposed to, I sliced them in half instead.

french macaroons (first time) w/ chocolate filling - 33
For the filling I made a basic chocolate ganache and whipped in some powdered sugar to make it like the consistency of frosting. I was more concerned with presenting my fake french macarons than how they tasted. I already had it in my head that they tasted horrible.

french macaroons (first time) w/ chocolate filling - 34french macaroons (first time) w/ chocolate filling - 39
Wow so they tasted almost like actual macarons. They definitely needed to be altered a bit more, and especially needed to have an entire face-lift.

french macaroons (first time) w/ chocolate filling - 37
So although this wasn't a success in my book, this was definitely a huge learning experience. My boyfriend and his mother also seemed to like them, which gives me more of an incentive to make these in the future.

Taken from Martha Stewart.

1 cup confectioners' sugar
3/4 cup almond flour
2 large egg whites, room temperature
Pinch of cream of tartar
1/4 cup superfine sugar
3/4 cup seedless raspberry jam, for filling

1. Pulse confectioners' sugar and almond flour in a food processor until combined. Sift mixture 2 times.
2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Whisk whites with a mixer on medium speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar, and whisk until soft peaks form. Reduce speed to low, then add superfine sugar. Increase speed to high, and whisk until stiff peaks form, about 8 minutes. Sift flour mixture over whites, and fold until mixture is smooth and shiny.
3. Transfer batter to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain round tip, and pipe 3/4-inch rounds 1 inch apart on parchment-lined baking sheets, dragging pastry tip to the side of rounds rather than forming peaks. Tap bottom of each sheet on work surface to release trapped air. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Bake 1 sheet at a time, rotating halfway through, until macaroons are crisp and firm, about 10 minutes. After each batch, increase oven temperature to 375 degrees, heat for 5 minutes, then reduce to 325 degrees.
4. Let macaroons cool on sheets for 2 to 3 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. (If macaroons stick, spray water underneath parchment on hot sheet. The steam will help release macaroons.)
5. Sandwich 2 same-size macaroons with 1 teaspoon jam. Serve immediately, or stack between layers of parchment, wrap in plastic, and freeze for up to 3 months.

Piping the perfect macaroon takes a little practice. Treat it as you would a rosette, bringing the pastry tip to the side of the circle, rather than forming a peak, to finish.

Makes about 35 macaron sandwiches.

No comments:

Post a Comment