Saturday, July 24, 2010
So since macarons are the new cupcakes, Ms. Cake and I signed up to take a class at ICE on how to make them. It turns out that they're the most finicky cookies imaginable, and if you ask 30 pastry chefs how to do it you'll get at least 30 different answers.
But we paired up and persevered. Ms. Cake and I were assigned to make orange-flower-scented macarons with a turkish delight filling. The cookies themselves proved more comprehensible to make once we launched in -- we used the Swiss method of making the meringue, which involves whisking the eggwhites and sugar over a double boiler for a few minutes before whipping -- and we were pleased with the way they turned out. Nice rise, a smooth surface, and a classic "foot" at the base. They were a little underdone, though, so we put them back in the oven to dry out a bit, at which point they got a bit browned, but since they were tinted orange it didn't really matter.
The filling turned out to be a bit of a problem, despite the help of an assistant instructor, because the recipe neglected to incorporate a key ingredient in the instructions, and the chef instructor (whose recipe it was) was less than helpful. But we managed, and then managed to coat ourselves in sticky perfumed gel as we filled our cookies.
In the end, some groups had more success than others, but as the chef helpfully pointed out, while it's nice to achieve the perfect look, they still taste good no matter what. We divided the spoils to take home, which included German chocolate, lime with lime meringue, raspberry with raspberry ganache, rose with chocolate-raspberry ganache, and hazelnut with hazelnut-chocolate ice cream, which of course were consumed on the spot.
We look forward to future experimentation, at which point my kitchen and dining room will inevitably be draped with endless parchment sheets of piped-out meringue in unnatural colors. Can hardly wait.