Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Adventures in Macaronage!

Did I just do a happy dance in my kitchen? Maybe...YES!!!!!
Ladies and gentlemen, I can now cross one of my major life accomplishments off my list...here it goes! Make Perfect Macarons. How did I do it, you ask? Not without abysmal failure.
Follow along with my adventures in macaronage...who knows, you may even learn some tips along the way! (NB: "macaronage" is defined as the art of making macarons)

For the recipe, I mildly adapted this one by Chef Chuck Hughes

You will need:
  • 2 cups almond powder (500 ml)
  • 2 cups icing sugar (500 ml)
  • 4 egg whites, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar (250 ml)
  • 1 cup water (250 ml)
  • pink gel food colouring
  • raspberry jam for filling
Process:
  • In the food processor, mix the almond powder and icing sugar together until it’s reduced into a very fine powder, for about 2 minutes. Add 2 egg whites and process until smooth (the texture will be similar to almond paste). Add the food coloring and continue processing until the color is all blended in. You can add a few more drops just until you get the color you want. Transfer to a large bowl and put aside.
  • In a stockpot, bring the 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar to a boil and cook for about 15 minutes, until reduced by half and syrup is coating the back of a spoon when dropped in cold water or until a candy thermometer reads 275*.
  • Using a stand or hand mixer, beat 2 egg whites until soft peaks form. Slowly add the hot syrup and continue beating until firm peaks form and the meringue has cooled.

  • With a spatula, gently fold in 1/4 of the meringue into the almond mixture. Continue folding the meringue until completely incorporated. The mixture will be shiny and smooth.

  • Fit a piping bag with a 3/8-inch (1 cm) round tip. Pipe the batter onto the baking sheets. Tap the underside of the baking sheet to remove air bubbles. Let dry at room temperature for 1/2 hour to allow skins to form.
  • Bake the macarons in a 300F oven for 20 minutes ON A DOUBLE BAKING SHEET (stack them for thickness to avoid cracking). Rotate the baking sheet half way through for even baking. Remove from oven and transfer parchment to a cooling rack.
  • Pair macarons of similar size and spread approx 1/2 tsp of jam on each all the way to the edges.
  • Allow to rest for 1 day to meld flavours...YEAH, RIGHT!
My tips for perfect macarons:
  1. Do let them rest after piping for 30 minutes.
  2. Double up on the baking pans to avoid cracking.
Some recipes say these steps are unnecessary. You tell me:

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