Thursday, 7 February 2013

Mastering Macarons - Attempt Two

I haven't made macarons in years.
I suppose it didn't help that I was living in London for two years where the kitchen was shared and where there were too many other things to see and do to spend an entire day, or weekend, fussing over almond meal and sugar syrups.

So I decided to wait until I got home.

In the interim, Perth decided it had developed a taste and my sister decided she was going to attempt to create these fanciful mouthfuls of flavourful sugar.
By god she succeeded!
Whilst still in London Facebook would tempt me with pictures of her creations as she experimented with decorative ones, and ones with unusual flavours, but each of which bursts in your mouth and makes you eager to try every other colour in the hopes that each flavour is an intriguing and as sensational to the senses.

I was jealous. I only had access to Paul and Laduree, but not the craziness and quirkiness that is my sister and her creations.

So when I finally returned home I was greeted with a garden party, her friends and mine, and  a table covered in a rainbow of macarons all lovingly made by hand while I had unpacked and started the mountains of washing that inevitably needed doing.

These macarons were amazing! Each one was just the right size to delicately stuff into one's mouth so you could fill you hands with another half dozen to carry back to your seat.

There were passionfruit creams,
blueberry and orange cheesecakes,
pistachio ganaches,
raspberry chocolate ganaches and
macha (green tea) ganaches.

Hoping that she would pass on her tricks and techniques before she disappeared off to Germany, we hinted frequently and fervently for a lesson or two so that like her, we could keep the freezer brimming over with such masterpieces.


So, when the macarons had disappeared and my sister had moved to distant lands, I made my own way into the kitchen to attempt again this mystical art. Desirous of perfecting the shell and its requisite foot I avoided the brilliant colours that made my sister's craft so eye-catching and focused on the use of dustings to differentiate between the three fillings I'd decided upon.

Surprisingly, they were fun to make. Time consuming and still incredibly fiddly, but this time I felt less of a need to be a Hindu Goddess. Instead there is the craziness of filling a tea-bomb with pulverised spekulaas to dust a select portion of the shells and testing the heights from which one can drop trays of uncooked meringue before letting them rest and recover for a half hour so they will behave nicely when slid into the hot oven.

And they worked. Against expectation they behaved well, filled beautifully, stored to perfection in the bottom of the freezer and were eaten way too easily and too quickly.

And yet, while they tasted better than many of the commercial ones that can be purchased around Perth, they weren't as amazing as my sister's. So I've decided, I need to improve upon the fillings and branch into mascapones, curds, butter creams and dark chocolates (after all everything goes with dark chocolate) and get back into making creme brulees and creme caramels so I have the spare egg whites necessary to play with.

Next time...

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