Sunday, October 10, 2010

Macarons, take 4

So, I'm pretty heavily on the macaron bandwagon now... today was my third attempt since FSIL gave me that awesome macaron book.

piping templates - thanks to FSIL!

I decided to try a few new things today though. I increased the size of the macarons, from the 3cm suggested in the book to 4cm (yay! for FSIL's graphic design talents, making me piping templates). And I also only make half batches, as I wanted to make two types, and didn't want to have an excess of macarons, as has happened the last three times I've made them. This combination kinda backfired on me, it turns out that a half batch, piped to 4cm, only makes about 24 shells (12 macarons), which felt like a lot of effort, for not much of a result. So, batch two was back to the full recipe.

pink egg whites

I made coloured shells this time, which was a first (for this recipe) for me, and I'm still getting the hang of it - even though my egg whites were quite obviously pink, the shells were less so. Also, when we increased the size of the piping template, we forgot to increase the gap between the circles, and the first batch was quite soft... three piping attempts later and I had a set of non touching shells. Lesson 1 - they will spread! leave room, and gauge how runny the mixture is.

not so pink shells (dusted with cocoa)

And they only got paler in the oven! Lesson 2 - use more colouring than you think is necessary.

raspberry & chocolate macarons (note the super pale shells!)

The filling for the pink shells was simple - raspberry puree and dark chocolate, and is surprisingly tasty, I was doubtful of the combo, but it is very moorish, and the raspberry is the perfect counter to the rich chocolate.

chocolate & orange macarons (also pale shells, but not so bad)

The second, orange shelled, batch caused more trouble though. Something in the chocolate/cream mixture split, and it became oily and strangely textured. Some serious beating once it had cooled slightly pulled it back together. Then I left it in the fridge for too long while skypeing with FH Alphie... after trying to pipe some seriously hard ganache, I put it (piping bag and all) in the microwave for 15 seconds, which was enough to send it back to the weird oily stage. Back into the fridge again, and a call from my parents later, and it was getting to hard to pipe, again.... But, It all came good in the end. Lesson 3 - don't think that it's all easy once the shells have been baked - pay attention to your ganache!


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