Yesterday Amy & I had our first crack at making Macarons. Macarons are an adorable pastry that look like two small buns with cream in between. They are generally found in upscale cafe's or bakery's. They come in a wide variety of flavours and colours. I first tried them because of Gossip Girl, and Blair Waldorfs obsession with them.
Amy has a couple of cook books with Macarons recipes. After reading through a few recipes our task looked to be more than we had first expected. Almost every recipe states that they are very difficult to pull off. Yesterday we decided to try our hand at this delightful pastry. Amy found a recipe for french chocolate macarons online. I believe this is the recipe we used.
Luckily, Amy has a kitchen-aide mixer, and a food processor. We first put the dry ingredients into the food processor to begin the aerate process, then sifted the ingredients like the recipe recommends.
Next was onto the meringue in the kitchen-aide. Each step was executed very, very carefully.
After the meringue was ready we followed the recipe and poured the dry ingredients into the meringue in four lots; while Amy was folding I was pouring. Then it was time to transfer the batter into the pastry bag. This was another two person job. The batter becomes very sticky, and difficult to work with. If I tried this on my own it would be an epic fail. One person needs to hold the pastry bag while the other fills it. We drew small circles on the opposite side we were baking on for a size scale. They squeezed out of the pastry bag relatively easy. Refilling the bag was a very messy & sticky process.Then it was time to let them grow a skin & make the ganache filling.
Amy chopped the chocolate in the food processor. Then she heated the cream on the stove top. The copped choc was moved from the processor to a small bowl & the cream was added. Then we chopped the butter into small squares & microwaved for only a few seconds to soften. The butter was added to the chocolate/cream mixture and stirred carefully. It was then put in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
Most everything was done while little Charlotte was having an afternoon nap. While Amy was heating the cream Charlotte woke up and decided she wanted to give us a hand!
We ended up with about 25 separate macaron rounds. The recipe said we would have fifty. Turns out our circles were a bit big. We also had to taste test one or two along the way. We put the first tray in for seven minutes, then rotated the tray for another 4-5 minutes. We took them out and put in the second tray. The second tray we left in for seven minutes, rotated and left in for about 6-7 minutes. That small time difference burnt the other tray slightly. Once they were out of the oven we gave each other a high five & did a little dance. Then it was tea time for Charlotte. We let them cool for about 30-40 minutes.
When it was time to remove them from the wax paper they were stuck. The wax paper needed to be scaled away with a small knife. This definitely shouldn't have happened. We're not quite sure what went wrong that way. But the wax paper came off relatively easy. It required patience and a steady hand to cut the paper off the bottom of each macaron. Amy did all but two. I nearly stabbed myself instantly. I'm no good with knives! Next time we might use a silicone baking tray & see if that helps.
Amy did most of the peeling while I filled them with ganache. The recipe says to push them together. I don't know if I agree with that. Some of the ganache came out the sides and they slid a bit on top of one another. Then it was time to put them in the fridge. The recipe also says to refrigerate for 24 hours. But there was no way we were waiting that long to enjoy them! We could only fit ten in the tupperware. So we shared two with the boys since they were stuck at work all day.
We did however put the rest in the fridge for about 2.5/3 hours. We went back to them after a delicious pad thai dinner prepared by Kieran. I can see why they say to refrigerate. Because the texture definitely changed in the fridge. Especially the ganache. It was more like what we're used to from the bakery. I think it was well worth the time and effort. We had a lot of fun & the boys reckon we need to start selling them! Maybe they can help next time. We'll see if they still think we should sell them after they see how long they take! The recipe says they take 1.5-2.5 hours to make. I think they took us just under 2.5 hours with two people,a fancy kitchen-aide & food processor. I think I would only ever make one flavour per day. After seeing how long one flavour takes any more than that would be quite a task.
We had them with some vanilla ice cream & topped the ice cream with the left over ganache. I couldn't help but have two. I think I'm still full from last nights dinner and dessert!
Great success! We might give another flavour a crack while we're still in W.A.