This recipe has more notes in the margin than any other recipe – yikes.
This isn’t a first for me, I’ve made quite a few batches of macarons over the years. Usually, I make them for a purpose (somebody wants them on a drip cake, I wanted to include them in my uni portfolio etc.), often I’ll actually find every opportunity to get out of making macarons. I’m one of those people that shudders at the thought of making macarons, and I’m not proud to admit it.
Recently, I did start to fall in love with the production of macarons, but it seemed that was only a very short fling. I just don’t understand them, they feel like they should be so simple, yet are so intricate and temperamental, why? The day I make a perfect macaron will be the day I truly smile.
Ansel speaks about when he was first training to be a pastry chef in Paris at the renowned Fauchon. He speaks very highly of one of his mentors, Didier, who would spend as many as twelve hours making nothing but macarons. The precision and understanding of what he was making must have been next-to-nothing, a true master in his craft. Unlike Didier, I’m sure even if I perfected the macaron I would be able to find much more enjoyable ways to spend my time ;), practice must truly make perfect though.
There’s a strange thing about macarons, and that’s the fact that macarons would actually be considered old by the time you eat them. If you were to be eating a croissant in a French patisserie, it would’ve come out of the oven that morning, however, the macaron you just ate was most likely sat in the fridge for at least 24 hrs. Macarons are the OAP of French pastries. Of course it isn’t just because pastry chefs are lazy, its all part of the eating experience. By ageing a macaron, the macaron absorbs moisture from the air and filling, creating the magical texture that’s associated with them.
Now we’ve got the history and science lessons out of the way ;), we can head straight into the recipe. Like many of Ansel’s recipe, he begins it the day before (in this case two days, technically). The recipe begins with the rose champagne ganache. The thing is, me and my mum are not alcohol drinkers in the slightest. When tasked with actually purchasing the pink champagne (or sparkling rose because we are cheap ;)) for me, she came back with just a standard still rose. Although I’m sure this didn’t affect the recipe, I can see trading standards hunting me down any day now ;).
The ganache was easy to make, like pretty much every ganache in this book (AND THERES A LOT OF GANACHE IN THIS BOOK ;)). However, one thing that does surprise me is Ansel’s use of the word ‘ganache’, he seems to use it for anything that involves cream and chocolate. This ganache literally starts of as a custard?! The ganache (if we can even call it that ;)) was placed in the fridge overnight, allowing me to begin the dreaded shells the next day.
These macarons use the Italian meringue method, which is gladly what I have had the most luck with in the past (we stan). The method is the same as any other macaron method, involving the whipping of the egg whites, boiling sugar syrup, the macaronage etc. (I’ve literally been wanting to type ‘macaronage’ this whole blog post ;)). They were piped into circles and left on the worktop to form a skin, which helps them keep their shape and have the distinctive macaron look once baked.
The baking is arguably what scares me the most. The oven has to be the right temperature to ensure they cook through, get the foot at the bottom of the shell and don’t crack or brown at all. After some much anticipated stress ;), the macarons didn’t come out too bad. I would’ve still liked a slightly more prominent foot though ;).
One cooled, the macarons were filled with the ganache (or literally whatever else Ansel wants to call it), and placed in the fridge to age (I’d be lying BIG TIME, if I pretended none of them were eaten until the next day, HELL ¾ of them were eaten within a couple of hours ;)).
Once they had aged (by ‘they’ I literally mean the few remaining ones ;)), I finished them off with some gold leaf and they were ready to eat. I was a big fan of these I must say. Firstly, who doesn’t like a macaron, secondly that ganache (still unsure on the name) was HEAVENLY. My mum wasn’t quite as big a fan of the ganache (unless its really sweet she doesn’t care ;)), but I could’ve happily eaten thousands ;).
NEXT UP: Apple Marshmallow (as long as the marshmallow doesn’t go as disastrously as the marshmallow chicks, I’m happy ;))
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