I’ve stumbled a bit with posting recently. I didn’t want to continue writing endless reviews of everything I had received over Christmas (oh yes, there is more), but I didn’t have anything else to write about.
Luckily H and I had received a cooking class voucher for L’Atelier des Chefs as a Christmas present, and last month we attended a 2 hour macaron cooking class.
Note that the photo is actually of someone else’s macarons, but H thought it a better photo.
Macarons are buggers in my opinion. H and I had both had mixed success with our attempts (cracks, hollows, tails, missing feet), and we were determined that we would get to the bottom of things once and for all.
There were about 14 people on the class, and we split ourselves into groups of 3 or 4 per table.
The first hour was devoted to getting the macaron mix right. From caressing the ground almonds and icing sugar through a sieve, to adding a pinch of salt to the egg whites, to turning the spoon in a certain way when adding the dry ingredients, everything was covered in exhaustive detail.
We learned the best way to hold our piping bags and how and where to apply pressure. The chef scrutinised each person in turn – “pipe, pipe, pipe, pipe, STOP!”. The macarons then sat out to harden for a while, before being popped into the oven.
I think we took too long over making the shells and piping them out, as everything got a bit frantic once we moved on to the fillings. Creme patisserie, ganache and buttercream were whisked and stirred, bowls of ice were fetched for rapid cooling, and even with our lesson running 20 minutes over, we still didn’t manage to end up with all the fillings we’d planned. However those we did have were delicious (recipes for all kinds are available via their website).
So did I finally make the perfect macaron? Taste, construction and texture, yes, visuals, no. Like the macarons in the photo, there was still a piping tail and visible swirls. My previous macaron research indicates needing to get the mixture to just the right degree of slackness to achieve shiny smooth tops, so I’ll need to give it a few more stirs before piping it seems. Luckily H is fired up, so I foresee a macaron-filled future.