Saturday, June 19, 2010

Macarons are hard to make

I enjoy baking.

I think it comes from my days back at uni. Living in a self-catered dorm, and rushing between study, work, classes and socialising, there was a need to become efficient with cooking.

It was around this time I discovered the oven. The long forgotten cooking implement in a college full of students.

Baking seemed to provide with the ability to prepare, then walk away.

I would do the prep, shove it in the oven, wander off to do my study and come back to find a hot meal that didn't come out of a packet or a can.

Over time, as my abilities grew, so did my ambitions. I would start baking more complicated dishes and start challenging myself with more difficult recipes. It wasn't too long, before baking became more than merely a convenience, I actually began to enjoy it.

However, there was one thing I never tried to make.

French macarons.

I had always been told about how difficult these were too make. So now that I had a bit of time, why not? How difficult could it really be? Surely this would only take a couple of hours or so and then I would have some fresh macarons to eat.
The first mistake I made was not adjusting the volume in the recipe.

The next mistake I made was thinking that this was going to be easy.

Every single step of the way, I seemed to run into difficulty.

Forcing the almond meal through the sieve, getting enough egg whites, having large enough bowls for the mixtures, getting the egg whites to stiffen....

Two hours in, and there still didn't seem to be anything remotely close to a finished product.

I kept working, and eventually I managed to combine the mixtures and get everything in the oven.

Thankfully "some" of the macaron shells came out looking like I had hoped.
As I left them to cool, I started to make the ganache. I didn't want to make a simple ganache, so I had chosen a more complex recipe that was supposed to give a smoother and more velvety texture.

By the third attempt and two discarded disasters, I managed (with the help of Andy who had grown tired of hearing me screaming in the kitchen) to achieve what appeared to be a semblance of what I had hoped to make.

Time was ticking on past three hours since I had started now.

I slowly began filling the macaron shells with the ganache, boxed them up and put them into the freezer to set.

It had been almost four hours since I had started.

The simple job was clearly not so simple.

What I had was a small batch of macarons that I thought looked the part!
Crispy shells, nicely developed feet, chewy textures and silky smooth ganache.

I'm still undecided as to whether it was worth the trouble though!


yui said...

I regularly visit your blog.
Keep on challenging!


It is a nice blog .