Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Daring Baker's October - Macarons

I first discovered the macaron in March 2008, when I went to to visit H, who was doing her year abroad in Paris. We went to all the usual places, and eventually ended up in Fauchon. H told me I should get the lemon macaron. I did. It was yummy. I've considered making them at home a few times, but every time I searched for a recipe I was put off by how many results I got saying that they were tricky.

The 2009 October Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to us by Ami S. She chose macarons from Claudia Fleming’s The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern as the challenge recipe. So now I couldn't put off macarons any longer.

My first attempt failed miserably. I overwhipped the batter and it was too runny to form any kind of shape. It was still tasty though.

The second attempt was a little better. I had some freeze dried raspberries after my mum found somewhere online that sold "home-sized" portions instead of wholesale. I crushed these up to make a powder, and mixed this in to the batter. It was a lovely creamy white with flecks of raspberry powder in it, and piped easily in to rounds. I dried the rounds in a low oven as suggested, and was pleased to see the beginnings of some feet on my macarons!

However, I found the 7 minutes cooking time suggested in the recipe to be too long, and my macarons went too brown. I sandwiched them with raspberry buttercream (also made with powdered raspberry). While these macarons had the chewiness of a proper macaron, they didn't have the smooth, crisp shell.

Raspberry Macarons with a tiny foot!

So on to the third attempt! This time I used lime zest, and a drop of green gel colouring. I sieved the almonds and sugar twice to make sure it was superfine (although I think if I had a food processor and could have ground the nuts even more it would have been better) and folded the mixture carefully. I watched the macarons like a hawk to ensure they didn't brown (although a couple at the back of the oven still did a little).

Lime Macarons and Fauchon Mug

As it was late, and I didn't have enough time to cool and reheat the oven for drying the second batch, I experimented a little. I left the tray of piped macarons in the oven overnight, once the temperature had dropped below 90c, then baked them this morning for 5 minutes. These ones are the smoothest, but they don't have a foot or a crispy shell! Curses!

What they lack in aesthetics they somewhat make up for in taste.

I sandwiched these with lemon curd, which gives them a good citrus hit. They taste ok, but they need a lot more work. However, the process was easy enough that I'll give macarons another go sometime soon.


Buttaz said...

Finally I've found someone who's efforts looked a bit like mine! Although yours are clearly better. I was doing my macarons at about 10pm on the final day before the deadline!

Your flavour combinations sound great.

Buttaz Blog

Choclette said...

Goodness, those lime macaroons are a call to wake up. What an amazing colour.

Jenny said...

I think they might be bit *too* green! I find their neon glow a bit off-putting. Half a drop of food colouring next time!

Kaily said...

Yours look like very cute bonbons! Oh, the many sleepless nights thinking about how to go about improving them and the anxious days fearing for that knock from my landlord while I cause a ruckus grinding the almonds! My feet expanded and they were supposed to be level with the circumference of the dome : (